Among the moments of Robert Mueller’s House Intelligence committee hearing testimony that were baffling for him, perhaps the most baffling was the task of understanding why it was unusual to even use the word exonerate in his own report on Russian collusion.
Mueller testified before two committees July 25. It was at the later committee that Rep. John Ratcliffe asked Mueller about why he used the word exonerate when it is never used in any judicial proceeding where an individual is charged.
Ratcliffe essentially trapped Mueller, since the director claimed that operated under, was guided by Justice Department procedures and principles. It wasn't.
“The evidence we obtained about the president’s actions and intent presents difficult issues that prevent us from conclusively determining that no criminal conduct occurred. Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him,” Ratcliffe read from the report.
“Which DOJ policy sets forth a legal standard that an investigated person is not exonerated if their innocence or criminal conduct is not conclusively determined,” he asked Mueller.
“Would you read that last part,” Mueller said.
“Where does that language come from director,” he said. “Where does that DOJ policy come from?”
“Let me make it easier,” Ratcliffe said. “Can you give me an example other than Donald Trump where the Justice Department determined that an investigation determined that a person was not exonerated because their innocence was not conclusively determined?”
“You can’t find it - I’ll tell you why. It doesn’t exist,” Ratcliffe said.
It’s not in any of your documents, in any of the regulations, it’s not in the OLC opinion, it’s not in the justice manual, he said.
“Respectfully, respectfully, it was not the special consuls job to conclusively determine Donald Trumps innocence or to exonerate him,” he said. “Because the bedrock principal of our justice system is a presumption of innocence, it exists for everyone. Everyone is entitled to it, including sitting presidents.”
Ratcliffe read the first line of the report: It authorizes the special counsel to provide the attorney general with a confidential report explaining the prosecution or declination decisions reached by the special counsel.
“Here’s the problem director,” he said. “The special counsel didn’t do that.”
While it was done with the first volume, it was not done with the second volume, he said.
“Nowhere does it say write a report about decisions that weren’t reached,” he said.
You wrote 180 pages, about potential crimes that weren’t charged or decided, he said.
In doing that, you managed to violate every principal and the most sacred …. about prosecutors not offering extra (information) about crimes that are not charged, he said.
Americans need to know this as they listen to the Democrats and Socialists on the other side, as they do dramatic readings of this report, “volume two was no authorized under the law to be written,” he said.
Ratcliffe agrees with Chairman Nadler who said Donald Trump is not above the law.
“But he damn well should not be below the law where volume two of this report puts him,” he said.
© 2019 Larry Ingram
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