Special Counsel Robert Mueller released his full report, but it was Attorney General Bill Barr who took the words out of Mueller's mouth. That changed Wednesday when Mueller spoke to reporters about his reasoning for not charging Trump with conspiracy. When it came to the matter of charging Trump with obstruction of justice, Mueller said that the Justice Department rules prevent him from doing so. So, his office would not make the charge. Instead, they went another route, handing over the evidence for Congress to take action.
After Mueller's remarks, his office released a memo giving what Mueller's answer would have been to questions Bill Barr answered for him about the special counsel's report. Barr told reporters that Mueller decided there was no obstruction and no collusion. However, the memo from Mueller's office says something entirely different.
"Would you have charged the president would it not have been for that OLC [Office of Legal Counsel] opinion?" an MSNBC reporter recalled the question to Barr.
"So, that was the justice department policy and those were the principles under which we operated," Mueller's statement read. "For them we concluded that we would not reach a determination one way or the other about whether the president committed a crime. That is the office's final decision..."
Host Ari Melber and the other panelists wondered if that meant it was a "direct conflict" to what Barr summarized in his own conclusions. It seems to fly in the face of Barr's claim that Mueller could have charged Trump if he believed Trump was guilty of a crime. Mueller instead is saying that he would not have charged Trump, even with the 10 examples of obstruction he laid out in volume two of the report.
The analysts cited the footnote in the final report which said that the path forward for accusing the president of a crime cannot go through the judicial system. It appears to put the burden on the legislative branch.
Watch the analysis below: