Rep. Ratcliffe to Mueller: You Didn't Follow Special Counsel Rules, You Wrote About Decisions That Weren't Reached


Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) admonished former special counsel Robert Mueller for not following the regulations by writing about decisions that weren't reached. From Wednesday's House Judiciary Committee hearing:

REP. JOHN RATCLIFFE (R-TX): Time is short. I've got five minutes. Let's just leave it at you can't find it because I'll tell you why. It doesn't exist. The special counsel's job, nowhere does it say that you were to conclusively determine Donald Trump's innocence or that the special counsel report should determine whether or not to exonerate him. It's not in any of the documents. It's not in your appointment order. It's not in the special counsel regulations. It's not in the OLC opinions. It's not in the justice manual, and it's not in the Principles of Federal Prosecution.

Nowhere do those words appear together because respectfully, respectfully, director, it was not the special counsel's job to conclusively Donald Trump's innocence or to exonerate him because the bedrock principle of our justice system is a presumption of innocence. It exists for everyone. Everyone is entitled to it, including sitting presidents. And because there is a presumption of innocence, prosecutors never, ever need to conclusively determine it.

Now, director, the special counsel applied this inverted burden of proof that I can't find and you said doesn't exist anywhere in the department policies, and you used it to write a report. And the very first line of your report, the very first line of your report says that--as you read this morning, it authorizes the special counsel to provide the attorney general with a confidential report explaining the prosecution or declination decisions reached by the special counsel. That's the very first word of your report, right?


RATCLIFFE: Here's the problem, director. The special counsel didn't do that. On Volume 1, you did. On Volume II with respect to potential obstruction of justice, the special counsel made neither a prosecution decision or a declamation decision. You made no decision. You told us this morning and in your report that you made no determination so respectfully director, you didn't follow the special counsel regulations.

It clearly says, write a confidential report about decisions reached. Nowhere in here does it say write a report about decisions that weren't reached. You wrote 180 pages about decisions that weren't reached about potential crimes that weren't charged or decided. And respectfully, respectfully, by doing that you managed to violate every principle in the most sacred of traditions about prosecutors not offering extra prosecutorial analysis about potential crimes that aren't charged.

So Americans need to know this as they listen to the Democrats and socialists on the others of the aisle as they do dramatic readings from this report that Volume II of this report was not authorized under the law to be written. It was written to a legal standard that does not exist at the Justice Department and it was written in violation of every DOJ principle about extra prosecutorial commentary. I agree with the chairman this morning when he said Donald Trump is not above the law. He's not. But he damn sure shouldn't be below the law which is where Volume II of this report puts him.

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