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Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

White House lawyer Emmet Flood sent a letter to Attorney General Bill Barr on April 19 accusing special counsel Robert Mueller of playing politics with his claim that the report "does not exonerate" President Trump on obstruction of justice.

What he's saying: "Because they do not belong in our criminal justice vocabulary, the SCO's inverted-proof standard and "exoneration" statements can be understood only as political statements, issuing from persons (prosecutors) who in our system of government are rightly expected never to be political in the performance of their duties. The inverted burden of proof knowingly embedded in the SCO's conclusion shows that the Special Counsel and his staff failed in their duty to act as prosecutors and only as prosecutors."

  • The letter goes on to criticize Mueller's choice not to make a prosecutorial decision on obstruction, which Flood claims does not comply with the obligation imposed by the special counsel's regulations to "explain the prosecution or declination decisions reached."
  • Flood also addresses the claim by some Democrats that Mueller's report was meant to be a "road map" for congressional action, including possible impeachment: "If that was in fact the SCO's intention, it too serves as additional evidence of the SCO's refusal to follow applicable law. ... Under a constitution of separated powers, inferior Article II officers should not be in the business of creating "road maps" for the purpose of transmitting them to Article I committees."

Read the full letter:

Go deeper

14 mins ago - Sports

U.S. swimmer Caeleb Dressel wins 50-meter freestyle final, sets new Olympic record

Caeleb Dressel during the men's 100m butterfly final at Tokyo Aquatics Centre on July 31, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. Photo: Xavier Laine/Getty Images

American swimmer Caeleb Dressel won gold and set an Olympic record in the men's 50-meter freestyle on Saturday, beating his own world record that he set in 2020.

Details: Dressel won the race in 21.07 seconds. France's Florent Manaudou won the silver medal, and Brazil’s Bruno Fratus bagged the bronze.

2 hours ago - Health

Florida records most new daily COVID cases in state since pandemic began

Nurses bring a portable x-ray machine to a treatment tent outside the emergency department at Holmes Regional Medical Center in Melbourne, Florida, set up to serve as an overflow area as the number of COVID-19 infections surges throughout Brevard County. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Florida reported 21,683 new COVID-19 cases — the most in the state in a single day since the pandemic began, per data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday.

The big picture: Florida is now the U.S. coronavirus epicenter, with the Delta variant driving a surge, Axios Tampa Bay's Ben Montgomery notes.

Updated 5 hours ago - Health

Chart: Less than 0.1% of vaccinated Americans tested positive for COVID-19

Expand chart
Data: CDC and state Covid dashboards. Dani Alberti/Axios

Of the 164 million vaccinated Americans, around 125,000 people have tested positive for breakthrough infections and 0.001% have died, according to state data compiled from state dashboards by NBC and data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Why it matters: While "breakthrough cases" have been getting media attention, the low numbers show that the pandemic is mostly a threat for the unvaccinated population.