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‘The Ball Is in Our Court, Congress’: Top Reactions to Robert Mueller’s Statement on Russia Report


Just minutes after Special Counsel Robert Mueller spoke publicly for the first time in two years (and wants it to be the only time), President Donald Trump responded be  on Twitter, sparking a flurry of other reactions. Here were some of the main takeaways from the speedy 11 a.m. press conference.

The President’s Response

Trump’s reaction was to say he’s “innocent.” “The case is closed! Thank you,” he tweeted.

As many were quick to point out, this is not what Mueller said. Mueller actually said that if he was convinced that Trump did not commit a crime he would have said so; he also said that he could not indict a sitting a president, so charging Trump with a crime was “not an option.”

Mueller didn’t say that there was not sufficient evidence to charge the president, he said he could not charge the president. Nor did Mueller fail to mention that impeachment is the constitutional remedy for remedying presidential wrongdoing.

House Democrats’ Response

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) took Mueller’s press conference to mean that it’s time for House Democrats to get serious about holding the president accountable.

“No one, not even the President of the United States, is above the law,” Nadler said, “Given that Special Counsel Mueller was unable to pursue criminal charges against the President, it falls to Congress to respond to the crimes, lies and other wrongdoing of President Trump — and we will do so.”

President Trump’s nemesis Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) offered a similar reaction: “The ball is in our court, Congress.”

Other takeaways (What about Barr?):

Some have suggested that the real takeaway from all of this is that a president can “get away with breaking the law as long as his party controls Congress.”

Impeachment would start in the House, which is controlled by Democrats; the Senate is Republican-controlled, and would presumably shut down an impeachment effort.

Oh, yeah — and what about the differences between what Mueller said about his report and what AG William Barr did? Some, such as Fox News anchor Bret Baier, came away thinking that the differences were quite stark.

[Image via Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]

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Matt Naham is the Senior A.M. Editor of Law&Crime.