Apr 18, 2019

Why the Mueller report didn't make a decision on obstruction of justice

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Special counsel Robert Mueller didn't want to "place burdens on the President's capacity to govern" and believed President Trump wouldn't have an opportunity to clear his name, according to the report released today.

  • But he also couldn't clear Trump completely — because "the facts and the applicable legal standards" made it impossible to state that Trump "clearly did not commit obstruction of justice."

Mueller's reasoning, in the words of the report:

  • The Office of Legal Counsel has determined that a sitting president can't be indicted, but beyond that, "we recognized that a federal criminal accusation against a sitting President would place burdens on the President's capacity to govern and potentially preempt constitutional processes for addressing presidential misconduct."
  • Still conducted "a thorough factual investigation" given that the OLC recognized that a president "does not have immunity after he leaves office."
  • "A prosecutor's judgment that crimes were committed, but that no charges will be brought, affords no such adversarial opportunity for public name-clearing before an impartial adjudicator."

The other side:

  • "If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, however, we are unable to reach that judgment."
  • "Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him."

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 a.m. ET: 1,362,936— Total deaths: 76,373 — Total recoveries: 292,188Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 a.m. ET: 368,449 — Total deaths: 10,993 — Total recoveries: 19,919Map.
  3. Trump administration latest: Peter Navarro warned White House colleagues in late January about the massive potential risks from the coronavirus.
  4. Public health update: Funeral homes are struggling to handle the pandemic.
  5. 2020 update: Wisconsin Supreme Court blocks the governor's attempt to delay in-person primary voting until June.
  6. 🏀 Sports latest: No one knows when the coronavirus sports shutdown will end.
  7. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal health. Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

No one knows when the coronavirus sports shutdown will end

Data: Morning Consult National Tracking Poll of 1,512 self-reported sports fans, April 3-5, 2020; MOE ± 3%; Chart: Axios Visuals

It's been 26 days since the sports world effectively shuttered, and fans are eager to start watching games again, but not quite as eager to attend them.

The state of play: According to a new Morning Consult poll, 51% of fans think live sports will return between June and September, while only 8% think the void will bleed into 2021.

Go deeperArrow41 mins ago - Sports

The coronavirus outbreak will forever change the world economy

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Both the U.S. and global economies are set to be permanently altered by the coronavirus outbreak and the measures that have been taken in response to it, experts say.

The state of play: "Fundamentally there are going to be huge changes in household consumption patterns, business patterns and global supply chains," Kevin Warsh, a former Fed governor and current economics lecturer at Stanford, said during a Reuters teleconference.