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Mueller made his comments at 11:00 a.m. EST Wednesday at the Department of Justice. They marked his first public statements since his appointment as special counsel two years ago. Mueller was tasked to probe Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Stocks fell to their lows of the day following Mueller’s statements but it was not immediately clear if anything he said affected the market, according to traders. The Dow Jones Industrial Average saw its lowest levels Wednesday since February and the S&P 500 index fell to its lowest levels since early March.
The U.S. ten-year Treasury bond yield fell to a 20-month low while crude oil prices fell to a two-month low.
Investors are favoring less-risky stocks amid concerns the global economic growth is being threatened by the trade war between the U.S. and China. The broad S&P 500 index is sliding for the fourth consecutive week and technology stocks continue to take some of the biggest losses. During Wednesday morning trading U.S. stocks fell as investors shifted more money into the safety of bonds.
During his address, Mueller said the highly anticipated report “speaks for itself” and said he would not be speaking out beyond his comments.
“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,” Mueller said.
Mueller said he was making his remarks because the probe is finished and he wanted to comment on what his office found.
“If we 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. The introduction to volume two of our report explains that decision,” he said.
Mueller said he believed he was constitutionally barred from charging President Trump with a crime but said his report did not exonerate the president.
“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,” Mueller said.
He pointed out that the Constitution “requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing.”
Trump tweeted shortly after Mueller's remarks saying, "Nothing changes from the Mueller Report. There was insufficient evidence and therefore, in our Country, a person is innocent. The case is closed! Thank you."
Fox Business’ Charles Brady, Clive Mckeef and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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