Mueller Pushes Back on Criticism 09/30 06:06
Former special counsel Robert Mueller pushed back Tuesday against criticism
from one of the top prosecutors on the Russia investigation team that the team
was not as aggressive as it should have been in probing connections between
Donald Trump's 2016 campaign and Russia.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Former special counsel Robert Mueller pushed back Tuesday
against criticism from one of the top prosecutors on the Russia investigation
team that the team was not as aggressive as it should have been in probing
connections between Donald Trump's 2016 campaign and Russia.
The rare public statement from Mueller, his first since his July 2019
congressional testimony, follows a new book by Andrew Weissmann that contends
the team did not aggressively pursue certain actions or lines of inquiry out of
concern that President Donald Trump could fire them and close down the
operation. That includes issuing a subpoena to Trump to compel his testimony,
something Mueller's investigators opted not to do. They received written
Mueller did not specifically mention the book in his statement, but the
timing made clear that it was issued in response.
"It is not surprising that members of the Special Counsel's Office did not
always agree, but it is disappointing to hear criticism of our team based on
incomplete information," Mueller said in the statement.
"The office's mission was to follow the facts and to act with integrity.
That is what we did, knowing that our work would be scrutinized from all
sides," he added in the statement. "When important decisions had to be made, I
made them. I did so as I have always done, without any interest in currying
favor or fear of the consequences. I stand by those decisions and by the
conclusions of our investigation."
Weissmann's book, "Where Law Ends: Inside The Mueller Investigation," is the
first insider account of the Mueller team's investigation published by a former
prosecutor who was part of it. Weissmann was one of the prosecutors involved in
the financial crimes case against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
Weissmann, who before joining the Russia investigation was a veteran Justice
Department prosecutor with experience going after mobsters and corporate
executives, has lamented in a series of recent news media interviews that the
Mueller team did not subpoena the president for an interview or aggressively
dig into his finances.
He also has been critical of the Mueller team's final report, saying its
conclusions were not worded clearly enough, particularly as it relates to what
he says were Trump's efforts to obstruct the investigation.
The Mueller team identified significant contacts between Trump associates
and Russians during the 2016 campaign, but did not allege a criminal conspiracy
between the two to tip the election. The team's report also revealed multiple
episodes in which the president sought to stymie the probe, though Mueller did
not reach a conclusion about whether Trump had broken the law. Justice
Department policy prohibits the indictment of a sitting president.