Barr responded that he had a private conversation with Mueller, who told him that he “was not saying that but for the OLC opinion, he would have found a crime.” Regardless of whether Barr’s recounting of the conversation was technically accurate, it’s clear that Barr’s answer was highly misleading. Having now read the report, there can be no serious question that the answer from the Mueller team is “yes.” “Fairness concerns” arising from the inability to indict a sitting president was the key factor in Mueller’s decision not to reach a conclusion on obstruction of justice.
Reading Mueller’s report, it is obvious the contortions Barr undertook to pronounce Trump exonerated. In the report, Mueller went out of his way to debunk Barr’s unconventional view that the Constitution “categorically and permanently immunize[d]” Trump from prosecution for abusing his power to undermine the investigation.
In fact, Mueller concluded that Congress has the authority to remove Trump from office, noting that his “conclusion that Congress may apply the obstruction laws to the President’s corrupt exercise of the powers of office accords with our constitutional system of checks and balances and the principle that no person is above the law.” Mueller appears to believe that it is the role of Congress to ensure Trump is not above the law.