U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller has told the White House that he does not expect to indict President Donald Trump even if he comes up with evidence of a crime in investigating Russia-Trump ties, the president’s lawyer said.
Attorney Rudy Giuliani, a former prosecutor and mayor of New York, told CNN and Fox News late on May 16 that Mueller has told the White House that he will follow the longstanding legal opinion of the Justice Department that a sitting president is immune from indictment.
“All they get to do is write a report,” Giuliani told CNN. “They can’t indict. At least they acknowledged that to us after some battling, they acknowledged that to us.”
Given the president’s immunity, Guiliani told Fox News that Mueller should start wrapping up his investigation.
Mueller “has all the facts to make a decision,” Giuliani said. “He’s gotten 1.4 million documents, he’s interviewed 28 witnesses. And he has nothing… It’s about time to say enough,” he told Fox. “We’ve tortured this president enough.”
Peter Carr, spokesman for Mueller, declined to comment on Giuliani’s remarks, which came near the one year anniversary of Mueller’s appointment to investigate alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
The Senate Intelligence Committee earlier on May 16 concluded after a 14-month investigation that Russia did attempt to influence the election with the goal of helping Trump while hurting his opponent, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
Giuliani said if Mueller does find wrongdoing by the president, under the Justice Department’s legal opinion he is confined to submitting a report to the Justice Department.
That report, however, could serve as the basis for impeachment of the president in Congress under the U.S. Constitution.
Giuliani’s assertion that Mueller regards Trump as immune from prosecution comes amid reports that the special counsel has been seeking to interview Trump to determine what he knew about his staff’s contacts with Russians.
Mueller has already indicted 19 people, including Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and several other aides who had or knew of connections with Russians that are under investigation.
Trump has repeatedly insisted there was no collusion between Russia and his campaign.
But media reports have said Mueller is also investigating another possible violation of law — whether Trump attempted to obstruct justice by trying to stifle the Russia investigation when he fired FBI Director James Comey a year ago, as well as through other threats and actions.
With reporting by CNN, Fox News, Reuters, AFP, and AP