Former US special advocate Robert Mueller strongly defended his investigation into the ties between Russia and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016, writing in an opinion piece in a newspaper on Saturday that the investigation was of “paramount importance” And asserting that a Trump ally, Roger Stone, “remains a culprit, and rightly so,” despite the president’s decision to commute his prison term.The Washington Post editorial marked Mueller’s first public statement about his investigation since his appearance in Congress last July. He was his staunchest defense in the two-year investigation, the results of which were attacked and even partially quashed by the Trump administration, including the President’s extraordinary decision on Friday evening to grant Stone leniency a few days before he ‘He was not to report to prison.
Mueller said that while he wanted his 448-page report on the investigation to speak for itself, he felt compelled to “respond to both the general allegations that our investigation was illegitimate and our motives improper, and specific allegations that Roger Stone was a victim of our office.
“The investigation into Russia was of paramount importance. Stone was prosecuted and sentenced for committing federal crimes. He remains a convicted criminal, and with good reason, ”wrote Mueller.
Mueller didn’t specify who was making the allegations, but it seemed to be an obvious reference to Trump, who, as recently as Saturday, mocked the investigation as this “political witch hunt and the Mueller scam.”
WATCH | Trump commutes his friend Roger Stone’s prison sentence:
Roger Stone was sentenced in February to three years and four months in prison for lying to Congress, witnessing forgery and obstructing the House investigation into whether the President’s campaign was colluding with Russia to win the 2016 election. 4:07
The mere publication of the opinion letter was striking in itself for a former FBI director who was discreet during the investigation, refusing to respond to attacks by the president or his allies or even to make public appearances explaining or justifying his work.
When he made his first public appearance after the conclusion of his investigation, Mueller said he hoped his report would speak for itself. When he later testified before legislators in the US House of Representatives, he was also careful not to stray from the report’s conclusions or to provide new evidence.
But this buttoned approach has created a void for others, including the Department of Justice, to make their own mark on his work. Even before the report was released, Attorney General William Barr released a four-page summary document that Mueller said did not adequately capture the seriousness of his team’s findings.