Mueller explains why he didn't recommend charging Trump -- and it's not because the president is innocent
Former special counsel Robert Mueller (Screen cap).

Special counsel Robert Mueller on Wednesday broke his lengthy silence about the probe he led for two years into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.


Mueller began his statement by announcing that he was shutting down the special counsel's office and resigning from the Department of Justice.

Mueller also spoke at length about President Donald Trump's efforts to obstruct his probe in the second volume of his report -- and he emphasized that he could not say that the president did not commit a crime, and he said that longstanding policy states that a sitting president cannot be charged while in office.

"Charging the president was not an option we could consider," he said.

In his conclusion, Mueller emphasized that his office found that the Russian government had successfully interfered in the 2016 election -- and that should be of concerned to all U.S. citizens.

"I will close by reiterating the essential allegation of our indictments that there were multiple systematic efforts to interfere in our election," he said. "That allegation deserves the attention of every American. Thank you."

Wednesday marked the first time that Mueller spoke publicly about his work -- and Mueller said that he hoped it would be the only time he could speak publicly about it. Rather, he said that his final report should be the only testimony necessary for Congress to decide how to proceed.

The special counsel did send a private letter to Attorney General Bill Barr shortly after he released a four-page summary of Mueller's report in which he criticized the attorney general for not properly conveying the full scope of his investigation. In the letter, Mueller also complained that Barr's letter "created confusion" about his findings and undermined the "central purpose" of the probe.