Mueller Could Have Made a Decision on Trump, Barr Says

May 31, 2019, 12:18 PM UTC

Attorney General William Barr said Special Counsel Robert Mueller could have made a decision on whether or not President Donald Trump committed obstruction of justice—even without charging him.

“If we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so,” Mueller said in a public statement Wednesday, adding that charging Trump with a crime was “not an option” due to a Department of Justice policy that states a sitting president cannot be indicted.

“I personally felt he could’ve reached a decision,” Barr said in a CBS This Morning interview airing Friday morning. “The opinion says you cannot indict a president while he is in office, but he could’ve reached a decision as to whether it was criminal activity.”

Upon the conclusion of Mueller’s investigation in March, Barr released a four-page summary of Mueller’s more than 400-page report, saying there was not enough evidence to charge Trump with a crime.

“When [Mueller] didn’t make a decision, the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and I felt it was necessary for us as the heads of the Department to reach that decision,” Barr said Friday.

Barr has been accused by many of protecting the president over that decision, but that just “goes with the territory” of being attorney general in a hyper-partisan period, he said.

“In many ways I’d rather be back to my old life,” Barr told CBS. “But I love the department of justice. I love the FBI. I think it’s important that we not in this period of intense partisan feeling destroy our institutions.”

More must-read stories from Fortune:

Robert Mueller resigns, says charging Trump with crime was ‘not an option’

—Why Mueller couldn’t indict Trump

—What would impeachment look like in Trump’s America?

—Rep. Rashida Tlaib is unapologetic about her expletive-filled call for Trump’s impeachment

Trump tweets that Democrats want to impeach him for being ‘too successful’

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