WASHINGTON (AP) — In opening arguments of the impeachment trial, President Donald Trump’s defense misrepresented the findings of a special counsel’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election by claiming the president was cleared of obstruction of justice.
A look at some of his legal team’s claims Tuesday during debate on the format of the Senate trial:
AY SEKULOW, on special counsel Robert Mueller: “We had the invocation of the ghost of the Mueller report. I know something about that report. It came up empty on the issue of collusion with Russia. There was no obstruction, in fact.”
THE FACTS: He’s wrong to suggest that special counsel Robert Mueller’s report cleared the Trump campaign of collusion with Russia. Nor did the report exonerate Trump on the question of whether he obstructed justice.
Instead, the report factually laid out instances in which Trump might have obstructed justice, leaving it open for Congress to take up the matter or for prosecutors to do so once Trump leaves office.
“If we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so,” Mueller declared after the report was released.