Attorney General Bill Barr said in an interview with CBS News that he believes now-former special counsel Robert Mueller could’ve reached a conclusion as to whether President Donald Trump obstructed justice.
Mueller, after completing his investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, said that he did not find evidence of a conspiracy but declined to make a decision on obstruction.
“If we had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said that,” Mueller said during a rare public statement on Wednesday.
In a preview of an interview with CBS News that was released Thursday, Barr disagreed with Mueller’s decision to punt on the obstruction portion of the investigation.
“I personally felt he could’ve reached a decision,” Barr said. “Right, he could’ve reached a conclusion. The opinion says you cannot indict a a president while he is in office but he could’ve reached a decision as to whether it was criminal activity.”
NEW: Attorney General Barr tells @JanCBS he “personally felt” Special Counsel Robert Mueller “could’ve reached a decision” on obstruction of justice by President Trump.
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) May 30, 2019
“He had his reasons for not doing it, which he explained, and I’m not going to, you know, argue about those reasons. But when he didn’t make a decision, the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and I felt it was necessary for us as the heads of the Department to reach that decision,” Barr added, explaining why he publicly said he did not believe there was enough evidence that Trump obstructed.
Barr also knocked Mueller for any implication that Congress has to now take up the mantle of the investigation. Mueller seemed to hint during his statement Wednesday that because the Department of Justice (DOJ) cannot charge a sitting president, congressional bodies should be the ones to hold the president accountable for any alleged crimes. (RELATED: Trump Reacts To Mueller’s Statement On Investigation)
“The Department of Justice doesn’t use our powers of investigating crimes as an adjunct to Congress,” said Barr.