AP NEWS

The world finally gets words from Mueller, but just a few

March 25, 2019
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Special Counsel Robert Mueller walks to his car after attending services at St. John's Episcopal Church, across from the White House, in Washington, Sunday, March 24, 2019. Mueller closed his long and contentious Russia investigation with no new charges, ending the probe that has cast a dark shadow over Donald Trump's presidency. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Robert Mueller has finally spoken. But it isn’t easy to find exactly what he said.

A summary of Mueller’s findings is in a four-page letter sent to Congress on Sunday and signed by Attorney General William Barr. It’s Barr’s work, describing the work of Washington’s mystery man from the last two years.

But Barr only rarely quotes Mueller directly, bringing to the surface mere glimpses of the actual Mueller report.

Barr did give Mueller some of the most consequential lines. He quotes Mueller as saying “while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”

He also uses Mueller’s words to dispatch with the initial mandate of the investigation: “The investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities. ... The evidence does not establish that the president was involved in an underlying crime related to Russian election interference.”

And Barr borrows Mueller’s exact phrase to explain that the special counsel did not make a conclusion on whether Trump tried to obstruct the investigation. Mueller was faced with “difficult issues” of law and fact concerning whether President Donald Trump’s actions and intent could be seen as criminal and said he conducted a “thorough factual investigation” into these matters.

That’s it, except for a throat-clearing reference to the “confidential report explaining the prosecution or declination decisions” he made.

Sphinx-like in a capital where public figures typically lunge for attention, Mueller has maintained a studied silence since his appointment, no matter how many times Trump called his labors a “witch hunt.”

Even Mueller’s spokesman rarely speaks.

Almost all Mueller had to say remains under wraps, at least for now. Democrats are demanding to see his full report. Some have floated the idea of asking him to testify before Congress.

But when he and his wife, Ann, attended St. John’s Episcopal Church across from the White House on Sunday, photographers and videographers captured their sunny-sidewalk stroll.

Mueller did not speak.