Robert Mueller has finally spoken on camera for the first time since the start of the Russia investigation, making waves for what he emphasized rather than saying anything new.
Why it matters: Mueller used his time today to make clear he won't be more forthcoming if called to testify before Congress, and that he considers his report the final say on the matter.
- Mueller today: "If we had confidence that the president did not commit a crime, we would have said so."
- "[U]nder long-standing department policy, a president cannot be charged with a federal crime while he is in office. That is unconstitutional. Even if the charge is kept under seal and hidden from public view, that too is prohibited."
Axios' Zachary Basu emails: Not a word of Mueller’s statement strayed beyond the text of his 400-page report. But the special counsel's confirmation that his team would have said something if they were confident Trump did not commit a crime — a charge all the more explosive coming from his elusive voice — has ignited a new round of calls for impeachment.
What they're saying:
- Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg both called it an "impeachment referral."
- Kirsten Gillibrand and Cory Booker came out in favor of impeachment, despite Mueller saying nothing today that wasn't in the report.
- HuffPost's top editor Lydia Polgreen: "With most of the major 2020 contenders calling for impeachment, how much longer can the House leadership hold out?"
- Trump: "Nothing changes from the Mueller Report. There was insufficient evidence and therefore, in our Country, a person is innocent. The case is closed! Thank you."
The bottom line: The ball is now entirely in Nancy Pelosi's court, even if she appears in no rush to do anything with it.
Go deeper: Full Mueller transcript