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Ted Lieu Thinks He Got Huge Admission from Mueller, Then Bumbling Mueller Blows It Apart on Nat'l TV

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A key moment from former special counsel Robert Mueller’s testimony Wednesday morning before the House Judiciary Committee was celebrated by some Democrats as proof that President Donald Trump obstructed justice and should thus be impeached.

Shockingly (or maybe not so much), this moment blew up in their faces when Mueller issued a correction later on.

Mueller, who was testifying about his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, was asked by Rep. Ted Lieu, a pro-impeachment Democrat from California, about his decision not to charge Trump with obstruction of justice.

Lieu referred to a decades-old internal Justice Department guideline that protects a sitting president from being indicted by the federal government.

The policy comes from a 1973 memorandum from the DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel, written while then-President Richard Nixon was mired in the Watergate scandal.

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“A President may not be able fully to discharge the powers and duties of his office if he had to defend a criminal prosecution,” the document reads.

In 2000, after then-President Bill Clinton was impeached, the DOJ noted that “the conclusion reached by the Department in 1973 still represents the best interpretation of the Constitution.”

The Democrats’ reasoning goes something like this: Mueller decided not to charge Trump with obstruction of justice only because he was bound by the DOJ guideline, despite having found evidence that Trump committed a crime.

And Democrats sure thought they were right after the answer Mueller gave Lieu.

“The reason again that you did not indict Donald Trump is because of the OLC opinion stating that you cannot indict a sitting president, correct?” Lieu asked.

“That is correct,” Mueller responded.

As CNN noted: “His original answer was seen as Mueller saying the only reason the President was not indicted was because, as president, he cannot be indicated.”

Lieu himself seemed to believe this was so, retweeting a video of Mueller’s response.

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“What we established today in the hearing is that we have a felon sitting in the White House. Donald Trump committed multiple crimes of obstruction of justice,” the California Democrat told reporters after the hearing, according to Reuters.

Mueller, though, would soon correct himself.

“I want to add one correction to my testimony this morning,” he said during the opening statement of his second hearing of the day, this one before the House Intelligence Committee.

“I want to go back to one thing that was said this morning by Mr. Lieu who said, and I quote, ‘You didn’t charge the president because of the OLC opinion.’ That is not the correct way to say it.

“As we say in the report, and as I said at the opening, we did not reach a determination as to whether the president committed a crime.”

Now, Mueller had been vague — perhaps intentionally so — throughout his testimony. This correction was vague as well.

But what it does do is destroy the liberal narrative that Mueller opted not to charge Trump with obstruction solely because of the DOJ guideline.

Trump didn’t obstruct justice, plain and simple.

Lieu thought he finally had proof that Trump did commit a crime. The California Democrat couldn’t have been more wrong.

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Joe Setyon is a deputy managing editor for The Western Journal who has spent his entire professional career in editing and reporting. He previously worked in Washington, D.C., as an assistant editor/reporter for Reason magazine.
Joe Setyon is deputy managing editor for The Western Journal with several years of copy editing and reporting experience. He graduated with a degree in communication studies from Grove City College, where he served as managing editor of the student-run newspaper. Joe previously worked as an assistant editor/reporter for Reason magazine, a libertarian publication in Washington, D.C., where he covered politics and wrote about government waste and abuse.
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