Mueller: ‘There were multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our election’

Credit: W.Scott McGill

Special Counsel Robert Mueller, speaking publicly for the first time on his two-year probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election, said Wednesday that the final report on his work could not exonerate President Trump.

“If we had had confidence that he clearly did not commit a crime we would have said so,” Mueller said, refuting Trump’s repeated statements that Mueller had exonerated him. “We did not, however, make a determination to whether the president did commit a crime.”

There was that bombshell, and then, this one.

“There were multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our election,” Mueller said, specifically detailing that it was “Russian intelligence officers who were part of the Russian military (who) launched a concerted attack on our political system.”

“The indictments allege, and the other activities in our report describe, efforts to interfere in our political system. They needed to be investigated and understood. That is among the reasons why the Department of Justice established our office,” Mueller said.

“That is also a reason we investigated efforts to obstruct the investigation. The matters we investigated were of paramount importance. It was critical for us to obtain full and accurate information from every person we questioned. When a subject of an investigation obstructs that investigation or lies to investigators, it strikes at the core of the government’s effort to find the truth and hold wrongdoers accountable,” Mueller said.

U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, commented on the Mueller statement.

“First, I want to thank Special Counsel Mueller for his patriotism and dedication to this two-year investigation. I am grateful the American people have heard from him directly regarding his findings. Still, this press conference leaves us with unanswered questions. The underlying evidence supporting the Special Counsel’s conclusions must be made available to Congress immediately,” Warner said.

“What is clear is that Russia deployed a sophisticated cyber campaign in order to interfere in our democratic process and tip the scales in favor of then-candidate Donald Trump. This is the same conclusion that the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee reached. As the Special Counsel made clear today, it’s up to Congress to uphold the rule of law, and ensure this never happens again. Going forward, we must take steps to protect our democracy by passing legislation that enhances election security, increases social media transparency, and requires campaign officials to report any contact with foreign nationals attempting to coordinate with a campaign.”

Story by Chris Graham

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