Ms Clinton, a trained lawyer, said that in her eyes special counsel Robert Mueller’s report into Russia election interference “could not be clearer”. She said only Justice Department rules prevented a call for charges against Mr Trump.
“As I read it, what I thought it is saying is ‘look, I think he obstructed justice here are 11 examples,” Ms Clinton said. However, she added that Mr Mueller’s team are “are under the control of the Justice Department and their rule is not to indict”.
Ultimately, Mr Mueller and his team did not push for an indictment, but did not exonerate Mr Trump, either. The 11 examples of possible obstruction cited by the Mueller report have been seized upon by some Democrats as a reason to look to impeach Mr Trump, something the party leadership has been against, fearing a backlash during the 2020 election if any attempt fails.
Ms Clinton said that the “checks and balances” provided by the US Constitution is what Mr Mueller had in mind in passing the issue of obstruction of justice to Congress.
“[Mr Mueller] could not be more explicit then ‘please look at this, you may decide it may not rise to an impeachable offence, but I am giving this to you,’” Ms Clinton said.
The former secretary of state said that it is now up to Congress to “take [its] responsibilities seriously”. She praised Democrat Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats for using the powers of House oversight to probe beyond what was written in the report. Mr Mueller has already been called to testify in front of at least one House committee.
Ms Clinton, who was asked about the Mueller report at a Time magazine event in New York, said Mr Trump’s actions would only give hope to America’s enemies.
“What you’re saying is we were attacked, we have significant evidence that this Administration did everything it could to undermine and interfere with the investigation into that act. And we are going to walk away and pretend it didn’t happen?” Ms Clinton said.
“Well, at that point, then you might as well just say all bets are off, there is no accountability for anyone in the most significant job in the world. I don’t think that’s the right place to end up,” she added.
Indeed, Ms Clinton said that time must be taken to digest the Mueller report, saying: “I’m really of the mind that the Mueller report is part of the beginning. It’s not the end. … There’s still so much more that we should know and that we should act upon.”
However, Ms Clinton, who served in the Senate, said she was not convinced the “do-nothing” chamber would do its job.
“That has become a hotbed of cynicism unlike anything I have ever seen, and I served there for eight years and I know some of these people and they know better,” she said.