WATCH & COMMENT LIVE: Robert Mueller Testifies Before Congress
What's your reaction to the Mueller hearing?
by Causes | 7.24.19
- Former special counsel Robert Mueller makes his highly-anticipated appearance on Capitol Hill Wednesday, answering questions about his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign.
- The House Intelligence Committee hearing, scheduled for 8:30 a.m, will focus on Volume 1 of Mueller's report: Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
- The House Judiciary Committee hearing, scheduled for 12 p.m., will focus on Volume 2: possible instances of obstruction of justice by President Donald Trump.
- Interested in doing your own fact-checking? A searchable copy of the complete Mueller Report can be found HERE
House Intelligence Committee hearing
- Mueller says he's worried future campaigns won't report foreign influence to authorities.
"I hope this is not the new normal. But I fear it is," Mueller told Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT)
"Many more countries are developing capabilities to replicate what the Russians have done... They are doing it as we sit here and they expect to do it during the next campaign." -Mueller
- Mueller told Rep. Sean Maloney (D-NY) that he didn't subpoena Trump for an interview "because of the necessity of expediting" the investigation.
"If we did subpoena the president, he would fight the subpoena and we would be in the midst of the investigation for a substantial period of time."
Mueller added: "There's a balance. In other words, how much evidence that you have that would satisfy the last element [of intent to obstruct justice] against how much time are you willing to spend in the courts litigating the interview with the president."
- Mueller called Trump and Donald Trump, Jr.'s praise of stolen WikiLeaks material "disturbing and also subject to investigation."
“Problematic is an understatement in terms of what it displays in terms of giving some hope, or, I don’t know, some boost, to what is, and should be, illegal activity,” Mueller said.
- Mueller on Russian interference: "Absolutely, it was not a hoax."
Mueller said Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election was "not a hoax."
"The indictments we returned against the Russians — two different ones — were substantial in their scope, using the scope word again. And I think we have underplayed to a certain extent that aspect of our investigation that has and would have long term damage to the United States that we need to move quickly to address.”
- Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) attacked Mueller for stating that his investigation "does not exonerate" Trump when "exonerate," like "collusion," is not a legal term. Mueller declined to respond.
- Mueller says Russian hacking intended to help Trump, but Clinton "subject to much the same behavior."
Democratic Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT): "Director, who did the Russian social media campaign ultimately intend to benefit, Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump?"
Mueller: "Donald Trump."
Himes: "The second operation —"
Mueller: "Let me say Donald Trump. There were instances where Hillary Clinton was subject to much the same behavior."
- Mueller: "It is not a witch hunt."
Ahead of the hearings this morning, Trump tweeted that Mueller's investigation is "the Greatest Witch Hunt in U.S. history, by far!"
Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) asked Mueller if Trump’s repeated statements about the special counsel investigation were accurate.
“It is not a witch hunt,” Mueller said.
Mueller said that Russian interference is not a hoax, Moscow interfered in the 2016 election, and the Trump campaign appeared to welcome that help.
Here's the full exchange between Schiff and Mueller:
Rep. Adam Schiff: When Donald Trump called your investigation a witch hunt, that is also false, is it not?
Mueller: I like to think so, yes.
Schiff: Your investigation is not a witch hunt, is it?
Mueller: It is not a witch hunt.
- House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) opened the hearing by accusing Trump of “disloyalty to country,” which Schiff defined as “something worse” than a crime: a violation of “the very obligation of citizenship.”
“Your investigation determined that the Trump campaign – including Trump himself – knew that a foreign power was intervening in our election and welcomed it, built Russian meddling into their strategy, and used it,” Schiff said.
- Ranking Member Devin Nunes (R-CA) used his opening statement to "welcome everyone to the last gasp of the Russian collusion conspiracy theory."
"Democrats have argued for nearly three years that evidence of collusion is hidden just around the corner. Like the Loch Ness Monster, they insist it's there, even if no one can find it," Nunes said.
House Judiciary Committee hearing
"The finding indicates that the president was not as exculpated for the acts that he allegedly committed," Mueller said. "It is not what the report said."
- Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA): "So it's fair to say the president tried to protect himself by asking staff to falsify records relevant to an ongoing investigation?" Mueller: "I would say that's generally the summary."
- Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) asked Mueller if he would have indicted Trump if not for the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) memo that says you can't indict a sitting president.
But Mueller quickly cautioned not to overread into his statements: "The only thing I want to add is I'm going through the elements with you. That does not mean I subscribe to what you're trying to prove through those elements.”
During Mueller's opening statements of his second hearing, he further clarified the answer he gave Lieu.
"Now before we go to questions, I want to add on correction to my testimony this morning. I want to go back to one thing that was said this morning by Mr. Lieu who said, and I quote, you didn't charge the President because of the OLC opinion. That is not the correct way to say it," Mueller said.
"As we say in the report, and as I said at the opening, we did not reach a determination as to whether the President committed a crime. With that, Mr. Chairman, I'm ready to answer questions."
- Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) to Mueller: "You perpetuated injustice."
Here is Gohmert's diatribe, in full:
"And if somebody knows they did not conspire with anybody from Russia to affect the election and they see the big justice department with people that hate that person coming after him and then a special counsel appointed who hires a dozen or more people that hate that person and he knows he's innocent, he's not corruptly acting in order to see that justice is done. What he's doing is not obstructing justice. He is pursuing justice. And the fact that you ran it out (GAVEL) ... two years means you perpetuated injustice."
- Mueller says the Russian government wanted Trump to win the 2016 presidential election.
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) asked the former special counsel if his investigation "found that "the Russian government perceived it would benefit from one of the candidates winning."
Mueller confirmed they did.
Lofgren: "And which candidate would that be?"
Mueller: "Well, it would be Trump."
- Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) ripped into Mueller for not reviewing the motivations behind the the dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele on behalf of Democrats during the 2106 campaign.
- Mueller says Trump can be prosecuted after he leaves office—but did not say if Trump should be prosecuted.
Here's the exchange between Mueller and committee chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY):
Nadler: "Is it correct that if you had concluded that the President committed the crime of obstruction, you could not publicly state that in your report or here today?"
Mueller: "The statement would be that you would not indict, and you would not indict because under the OLC opinion, excuse me, a sitting president cannot be indicted, it would be unconstitutional."
Nadler: "Under Department of Justice policy, the President could be prosecuted for obstruction of justice crimes after he leaves office, correct?"
- Mueller tells House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) that his report does not exonerate President Trump.
Here's the full exchange:
Nadler: "Director Mueller, the president has repeatedly claimed that your report found there was no obstruction and that it completely and totally exonerated him. But that is not what your report said, is it?"
Mueller: "Correct, that is not what the report said."
Nadler: "And from reading from page 2 of volume 2 of your report that's on the screen you wrote, 'If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, however, we are unable to reach that judgment.' Now, does that say there was no obstruction?"
Nadler: "In fact, you are actually unable to conclude the President did not commit obstruction of justice, is that correct?"
Mueller: "Well, we at the outset determined that we - when it came to the president's culpability we needed to - we needed to go forward only after taking into account the OLC opinion that indicated that a sitting president cannot be indicted."
Nadler: "So the report did not conclude that he did not commit obstruction of justice? Is that correct?"
Mueller: "That is correct."
Nadler: "And what about total exoneration? Did you actually totally exonerate the president?"
Nadler: "Now, in fact your report expressly states it does not exonerate the president?"
Mueller: "It does."
- Mueller said in his opening testimony that the "Russian government interfered in our election in sweeping and systematic fashion."
Mueller continued, summarizing the findings of his report:
"Second, the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired with the Russian government in its election interference activities. We did not address 'collusion,' which is not a legal term. Rather, we focused on whether the evidence was sufficient to charge any member of the campaign with taking part in a criminal conspiracy. It was not."
"Third, our investigation of efforts to obstruct the investigation and lie to investigators was of critical importance. Obstruction of justice strikes at the core of the government’s effort to find the truth and to hold wrongdoers accountable."
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