White House lawyer Emmet Flood who helped Trump with Russia investigation is leaving – CNBC

Acting White House Counsel Emmet Flood walks in the halls of the Russell Senate Office Building before heading into the offices of Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr on Capitol Hill January 09, 2019 in Washington, DC.

Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images

President Donald Trump said Saturday that White House lawyer Emmet Flood is “leaving service” on June 14. The announcement comes days after Robert Mueller announced that the special counsel’s office was closing. 

Flood was tasked with helping Trump deal with Mueller’s Russia investigation. He replaced Ty Cobb, who convinced Trump to cooperate with the special counsel investigation. 

Flood previously represented former President Bill Clinton during his impeachment. 

Trump thanked Flood for doing “an outstanding job” and again claimed that the special counsel’s investigation found no evidence of collusion or obstruction. 

In his report, Mueller made clear that he did not investigate collusion, which has no legal definition. The special counsel investigated whether or not the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Though Mueller found extensive contacts between Russians and Trump campaign officials, the investigation did not find sufficient evidence to establish a conspiracy or coordination. 

On the question of obstruction, Mueller pointedly declined to exonerate Trump and laid out several instances in which the president may have tried to obstruct the investigation. 

In his only press conference since he was appointed special counsel, Mueller said Wednesday if his office had confidence that Trump “clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so.”

His office, however, did not make a determination about whether the president committed crime. 

Mueller made clear that Justice Department guidelines barred the prosecution of a sitting president for a federal crime.  “Charging the president with a crime was not an option we could consider,” Mueller said. 

Mueller said that the special counsel’s office was closing and he was returning to private life. 

Flood had criticized Mueller’s final report as “political” and suffering “from an extraordinary legal defect” in a letter to Attorney General William Barr. “It quite deliberately fails to comply with the requirements of governing law,” he said. 

Flood argued that conclusively finding innocence “is never the task of the federal prosecutor.” Instead, prosecutors complete their investigation and ask a grand jury to decide whether or not to seek charges. 

The relevant passages from the Mueller report “can be understood only as political statements,” Flood argued. Prosecutors are “expected never to be political in the performance of their duties,” he said.  

— CNBC’s Dan Mangan and Kevin Breuninger contributed to this report

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