Get the latest market trends in your inbox

Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with the Axios Markets newsletter. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Minneapolis-St. Paul

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa-St. Petersburg news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa-St. Petersburg

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Robert Mueller after his public statement. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

In his first on-camera public statement since he was appointed two years ago, special counsel Robert Mueller told the country: "If we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so."

Why it matters: Mueller addressed the question of why his investigation did not charge President Trump with a crime for obstructing justice by essentially reiterating what was in his report: "[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."

  • "The Special Counsel's Office is part of the Department of Justice and, by regulation, it was bound by that Department policy. Charging the President with a crime was therefore not an option we could consider."

Between the lines: Mueller stated that the DOJ's Office of Legal Counsel opinion says that "the Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing." That process is Congress' power to impeach.

Other highlights:

  • Mueller announced that now that the investigation has ended, the Special Counsel's Office will close and he will resign from the Justice Department to return to private life.
  • He also addressed the question of whether he will testify before Congress. "No one has told me whether I can or should testify or speak further. ... The report is my testimony. ... I do not believe it is appropriate for me to speak further about the investigation."
  • Mueller also made clear the seriousness of an obstruction offense: "When a subject of an investigation obstructs that investigation or lies to investigators, it strikes at the core of the government's effort to strike at the truth and hold wrong doers accountable."

The bottom line, from Mueller, as he ended the press conference: "There were multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our election, and that allegation deserves the attention of every American."

  • Our thought bubble: Mueller started and ended his statement with a reminder of Russia's systematic and fundamental assault on American democracy — a conclusion that the president has largely ignored or disputed.

Go deeper: Read the full transcript of Mueller's remarks

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Updated 2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Our make-believe economy is here to stay

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The Federal Reserve and global central banks are remaking the world's economy in an effort to save it, but have created something of a monster.

Why it matters: The Fed-driven economy relies on the creation of trillions of dollars — literally out of thin air — that are used to purchase bonds and push money into a pandemic-ravaged economy that has long been dependent on free cash and is only growing more addicted.

Mike Allen, author of AM
3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Why Trump may still fire Barr

Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Attorney General Barr may be fired or resign, as President Trump seethes about Barr's statement this week that no widespread voter fraud has been found.

Behind the scenes: A source familiar with the president's thinking tells Axios that Trump remains frustrated with what he sees as the lack of a vigorous investigation into his election conspiracy theories.

Mike Allen, author of AM
3 hours ago - World

Scoop: Trump's spy chief plans dire China warning

Xi Jinping reviews troops during a military parade in Beijing last year. Photo: Thomas Peter/Reuters

Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe on Thursday will publicly warn that China's threat to the U.S. is a defining issue of our time, a senior administration official tells Axios.

Why it matters: It's exceedingly rare for the head of the U.S. intelligence community to make public accusations about a rival power.