1. Robert Mueller walks into Justice Department briefing room
2. SOUNDBITE (English) Robert Mueller, Special counsel:
"The order appointing me Special Counsel authorized us to investigate actions that could obstruct the investigation. We conducted that investigation and we kept the office of the acting attorney general apprised of the progress of our work. And as set forth in the report, after that investigation, if we had 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 the volume 2 of our report explains that decision. It explains that under long standing department policy, a president cannot be charged with a federal crime while he is in office. That is unconstitutional. Even if the charge is kept under seal and hidden from public view, that too is prohibited. 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."
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Robert Mueller, Special counsel:
"Now I hope and expect this to be the only time that I will speak to you in this manner. I am making that decision myself. No one has told me whether I can or should testify or speak further about this matter. There has been discussion about an appearance before Congress. Any testimony from this office would not go beyond our report. It contains our findings and analysis and the reasons for the decisions we made. We chose those words carefully and the work speaks for itself. And the report is my testimony. I would not provide information beyond that which is already public in any appearance before Congress. So beyond what I've 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."
4. Cutaway of press
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Robert Mueller, Special counsel:
"I will close by reiterating the central allegation of our indictments that there were multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our election. And that allegation deserves the attention of every American. Thank you, thank you for being here today."
Special counsel Robert Mueller says charging a president with a crime was "not an option" his team could consider in the Russia investigation.
Speaking at the Justice Department Wednesday, Mueller said he was bound by longstanding Justice Department opinions that say a president can't be indicted while in office as well as "principles of fairness."
"It would be unfair to potentially accuse somebody of a crime" when the person couldn't stand trial to defend himself, Mueller said in his first public comments about the probe.
Mueller did not rule out testifying before Congress but he served notice that he does not intend to go beyond what has already been revealed in his report.
Saying "the work speaks for itself," Mueller said the report is his "testimony" and that he "would not provide information beyond that which is already public in any appearance before Congress."
Mueller ended his nearly ten-minute remarks saying there were "multiple, systematic efforts" to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, and that "deserves the attention of every American."
He detailed that meddling in an indictment last year, charging 12 Russian military intelligence officers with hacking Democratic email accounts.
Mueller's probe found there was no evidence that President Donald Trump's campaign colluded or conspired with Russia. But a report released at the end of the investigation detailed many contacts between Russia and the campaign.
Trump has repeatedly called the entire investigation " a witch hunt."