WASHINGTON – During his Wednesday testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, special counsel Robert Mueller told Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., that a president could be charged with a crime after leaving office.
Buck asked Mueller about the practices of his special counsel's office and their decision not to charge President Donald Trump with the crime of obstruction of justice.
"Could you charge the president with a crime after he left office?" Buck asked.
Mueller responded, "yes."
Buck asked again, "You could charge the President of the United States with obstruction of justice after he left office," to which Mueller responded again, "yes."
Mueller was referring to a 2000 Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) memo that had concluded, "a sitting President is constitutionally immune from indictment and criminal prosecution." He cited the same memo when previously declining to make a determination on charging Trump with a crime.
During the hearing, however, Mueller did not make a recommendation for or against obstruction charges for Trump, and instead discussed the Justice Department policy.
"The OLC opinion says that the prosecutor cannot bring a charge against a sitting president, nonetheless he can continue the investigation to see if there are any other persons who are drawn into the conspiracy," continued Mueller.
Earlier, Buck had asked Mueller if his team had found "sufficient evidence" to convict Trump or campaign associates with obstruction of justice.
Mueller said in response, “we did not make that calculation” because of the OLC memo.
The memo came up again during later questioning in the hearing.
Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., asked Mueller, "The reason, again, that you did not indict Donald Trump is because of the OLC opinion stating that you cannot indict a sitting president, correct?"
Mueller answered, "that is correct."
Mueller corrected himself at the beginning of a later hearing before the House Intelligence Committee.
“That is not the correct way to say it," Mueller said. "We did not reach a determination as to whether the president committed a crime."
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Robert Mueller testimony: Trump can be charged after leaving office