By Cathy Burke
FBI special counsel Robert Mueller must meet a high bar to prove criminal conduct in his probe of possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia — and might not bring charges at all, according to two former high-profile prosecutors.
In a joint interview at Vanity Fair’s New Establishment Summit, Sally Yates, the former acting attorney general, and Preet Bharara, the former Manhattan U.S. attorney – both fired by President Donald Trump – said Mueller’s Russia investigation is challenging, The Wall Street Journal reported.
“I know a lot of people are sort of putting all their hopes into Bob Mueller. And I’ve got tremendous confidence in Bob Mueller,” Yates said, the Journal reported.
“But the fact of the matter is, he’s going to determine whether there’s proof beyond a reasonable doubt that felonies were committed, that crimes were committed that can be used for prosecution or impeachment.”
Mueller “is not going to answer the question of whether anything bad happened here,” she added.
Bharara agreed it is possible Mueller “may not decide that there is an offense to be charged or referred to the House of Representatives for impeachment.”
“And I’ll respect that. And I think people who are on one side of the fence should respect that also,” he said.
“I hope that we want still in America, people to be putting together a team . . . whose goal only is to find out the truth and apply the law and facts fairly,” he said.
“And sometimes that means bringing a case, and I’ve gotten criticized for cases I’ve brought, and sometimes it means don’t bring a case, and I’ve gotten more criticism for that. You want people to be thoughtful about what the law allows and doesn’t, and not be intimidated in either direction.”
Bharara was fired in March after defying a Justice Department request for U.S. attorneys appointed by former President Barack Obama to resign. Yates was fired in January after refusing to defend Trump’s original executive order suspending immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries.