Sarah Huckabee Sanders says the Mueller probe was a 'two-year waste of taxpayer time and dollars,' calls the report a 'complete and total' exoneration of Trump
- White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders made the rounds on cable news on Monday morning to celebrate Attorney General William Barr's summary of special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe.
- Sanders pushed the president's claims that Mueller's report is a "complete and total exoneration" of the president, and said the president doesn't have a problem with publicly releasing the report.
- Sanders also argued that the probe was "a two-year waste of taxpayer time and dollars" and the result of the media and Democrats' "lies" and conspiracy theories.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders made the rounds to various news outlets on Monday morning pushing President Donald Trump's claims that special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation was a "complete and total exoneration" of the president.
The president declared victory on Sunday after Attorney General William Barr made public his summary of Mueller's report, finding that neither the president nor his campaign colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 election. While Mueller did not come to a conclusion as to whether Trump obstructed justice in his treatment of the investigation, Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein decided not to charge the president with obstruction.Sanders told NBC News' Savannah Guthrie that she doesn't think Trump "has any problem" with the full public release of Mueller's report, but said it is up to Barr to decide whether to release Mueller's report.
Sanders added in an interview with CNN on Monday morning that she agrees "100%" with the president that the special counsel probe was "an illegal takedown that failed." She blamed the probe on Democrats' and the media's "lies" and conspiracy theories.
And Sanders echoed Trump's argument that Mueller's investigation was a useless waste of time.
"This is something, frankly, that should never have happened. This is a two-year waste of taxpayer time and dollars," Sanders told NBC. "We want to make sure that the institution of the president is protected."
Guthrie pushed back on Sanders' claim that because Trump wasn't found guilty of obstruction, he has been legally exonerated.Read more: Here's Attorney General William Barr's summary of Mueller's report on the Russia investigation
"As a legal matter, to say that you can't prosecute someone because they don't meet the elements of the statute - that's not an exoneration," Guthrie said.
"They couldn't make a decision," Sanders replied. "I think the big takeaway here is that there was nothing to show conclusively that the president obstructed justice."
Sanders added a point being pushed by Trump's legal team: that one cannot obstruct justice if there is no underlying crime. But many legal experts take issue with that defense and argue that one can, in fact, commit a crime by obstructing an investigation, regardless of whether the investigation uncovers an underlying crime.
In an interview with CNN, Sanders conceded that she doesn't know whether Mueller intended for the Justice Department to make a final legal determination on the question of obstruction of justice. Critics of the president argue that Congress should have access to Mueller's full investigation in order to come to its own conclusion over whether the president committed that crime.