Read Mueller's first public statement on the results of the Trump-Russia investigation

U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller makes a statement on his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election at the Justice Department in Washington, U.S., May 29, 2019. REUTERS/Jim BourgU.S. Special Counsel Mueller speaks about Russia investigation at the Justice Department in WashingtonReuters

  • Former special counsel Robert Mueller spoke out for the first time Wednesday about the FBI's Russia investigation.
  • Mueller announced that since his report has been released, he is formally shutting down the Office of Special Counsel and resigning from the Justice Department to return to private life.
  • Mueller touched on many of his findings in the investigation, including why prosecutors did not make a decision on charging President Donald Trump with obstruction-of-justice.
  • Mueller also said that beyond saying what's in his report, he will not give any more information if he testifies before Congress.
  • Scroll down to read Mueller's full statement.
  • Visit BusinessInsider.com for more stories.

Former special counsel Robert Mueller made his first public statement on the Russia investigation Wednesday morning. Mueller announced that he was speaking out because the investigation "is complete." He added that he is formally resigning from the Justice Department and returning to private life.

Mueller also took some time to highlight his main findings in the investigation, as well as to shed more light on why prosecutors spent two years investigating President Donald Trump despite knowing they could not charge him with any crimes.

He also announced that if he testifies before Congress, he will not say anything beyond what's contained in his report.

Here's Mueller's full, eight-minute statement on the investigation:

Thank you for being here. Two years ago the acting attorney general asked me to serve as special counsel. And he created the Special Counsel's Office. The appointment directed the office to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. This included investigating any links or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump campaign.

Now I have not spoken publicly during our investigation. I'm speaking out today because our investigation is complete. The attorney general has made the report on our investigation largely public. We are formally closing the special counsel's office, and as well I'm resigning from the Department of Justice to return to private life. I'll make a few remarks about the results of our work. But beyond these few remarks it is important that the office's written work speak for itself.

Read more: Mueller says he's resigning from the Justice Department and officially closing the Russia investigation

Let me begin where the appointment order begins. And that is interference with the 2016 presidential election. As alleged by the grand jury in an indictment, Russian intelligence officers who were part of the Russian military, launched a concerted attack on our political system. The indictment alleges that they used sophisticated cyber techniques to hack into computers and networks used by the Clinton campaign. They stole private information and then released that information through fake online identities and through the organization Wikileaks. The releases were designed and times to interfere with our election and to damage a presidential candidate.

And at the same time as the grand jury alleged in a separate indictment, a private Russian entity engaged in a social media operation where Russian citizens posed as Americans in order to influence an election. These indictments contains allegations, and we are not commenting on the guilt or innocence of any specific defendant. Every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The indictments allege, and the other activities in our report describe, efforts to interfere in our political system. They needed to be investigated and understand. And that is among the reasons why the department of justice established our office.

Read more: Justin Amash says 'a lot of' Republican lawmakers agree with him that Trump should be impeached but won't say it publicly

That is also a reason we investigated efforts to obstruct the investigation. The matters we investigated were of paramount importance and it was critical for us to obtain full and accurate information from every person we questioned. When a subject of an investigation obstructs that investigation oral lies to investigators it strikes at the core of the government's effort to strike at the truth and hold wrong doers accountable.

Let me say a word about the report. The report has two parts, addressing the two main issues we were asked to investigate. The first volume details numerous efforts emanating from Russia to influence the election. This volume includes a discussion of the Trump campaign's response to this activity, as well as our conclusion that there was insufficient evidence to charge a broader conspiracy.

And in a second volume, the report describes the results and analysis of our obstruction-of-justice investigation involving the president. The order appointing the special counsel authorized us to investigate actions that could obstruct the investigation. And we conducted that investigation and we kept the office of the acting attorney general apprised of the progress of our work.

And as set forth in the report after that investigation, if we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so. We did not, however, make a determination as to whether the president did commit a crime.

Read more: Mueller revealed why he didn't charge Trump with a crime - and it wasn't because of a lack of evidence

The introduction to the volume two of our report explains that decision. It explains that under long-standing department policy a president cannot be charged with a federal crime while he is in office. That is unconstitutional.

Even if the charge is kept under seal and hidden from public view, that too is prohibited. The special counsel's office is part of the department of justice and by regulation it was bound by that department policy. Charging the president with a crime was, therefore, not an option we could consider.

The department's written opinion explaining the policy makes several important points that further informed our handling of the obstruction investigation. Those points are summarized in our report and I will describe two of them for you. First, the opinion explicitly permits the investigation of a sitting president, because it is important to preserve evidence while memories are fresh and documents available.

Among other things, that evidence could be used if there were co-conspirators who could be charged now. And second, the opinion says that the constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing.

Read more: 'Fire and Fury' author Michael Wolff claims Mueller drew up a draft indictment against Trump, but Mueller's spokesperson says the documents 'do not exist'

And beyond department policy we were guided by principles of fairness. It would be unfair to potentially - it would be unfair to potentially accuse somebody of a crime when there can be no court resolution of the actual charge.

So that was justice department policy. Those were the principles under which we operated and from 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 - that is the office's final position, and we will not comment on any other conclusions or hypotheticals about the president. We conducted an independent criminal investigation and reported the results to the attorney general, as required by department regulations. The attorney general then concluded that it was appropriate to provide our report to congress and to the American people.

At one point in time I requested that certain portions of the report be released. The attorney general preferred to make that - preferred to make the entire report public all at once, and we appreciate that the attorney general made the report largely public. And I certainly do not question the attorney general's good faith in that decision.

Now I hope and expect this to be the only time that I will speak to you in this manner. I am making that decision myself. No one has told me whether I can or should testify or speak further about this matter.

Read more: Mueller says he won't tell Congress anything new about the Russia investigation and it's another hurdle for Democrats seeking impeachment

There has been discussion about an appearance before Congress. Any testimony from this office would not go beyond our report. It contains our findings and analysis and the reasons for the decisions we made. We chose those words carefully and the work speaks for itself. And the report is my testimony. I would not provide information beyond that which is already public in any appearance before Congress. In addition, access to our underlying work product is being decided in a process that does not involve our office.

So beyond what I have said here today, and what is contained in our written work, I do not believe it is appropriate for me to speak further about the investigation or to comment on the actions of the justice department or congress. And it's for that reason I will not be taking questions today as well.

Now before I step away, I want to thank the attorneys, the FBI agents, and analysts, the professional staff to helped us conduct this investigation in a fair and independent manner. These individuals who spent nearly two years with the special counsel's office were of the highest integrity.

And I will close by reiterating the central allegation of our indictments that there were multiple, systematic efforts to interference in our election. That allegation deserves the attention of every American. Thank you. Thank you for being here today.
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