tv Robert Mueller Hearing Coverage CNN July 24, 2019 8:00am-9:00am PDT
the investigation. is that right? >> that's correct. and you have a citation? >> page seven, volume two. >> thank you. >> one of these witnesses was michael cohen, the president's personal lawyer, who ultimately pled guilty to campaign violations based on secret hush money payments to two women the president knew and also to lying to congress about the hope for a $1 billion trump tower deal. after the fbi searched cohen's home, the president called him up personally, he said to check in, and told him to, quote, hang in there and stay strong. is that right? do you remember finding that? >> if it's in the report as stated, yes, it is right. >> yes. also in the report, actually, are a series of calls made by other friends of the president. one reached out to say he was with the boss in mar-a-lago, and the president said he loves you. his name is redacted. another redacted friend called to say the boss loves you. and a third redacted friend called to say everyone knows the boss has your back.
do you remember finding that sequence of calls? >> generally, yes. >> when the news -- and in fact, cohen said that following the receipt of these messages, i'm quoting here, page 147, he believed he had the support of the white house if he continued to toe the party line. and he determined to stay on message and be part of the team. that's page 147. do you remember generally finding that? >> generally, yes. >> well -- and robert costello, a lawyer close to the president's legal team, emailed cohen to say, quote, you are loved, they are in our corner, sleep well tonight, and you have friends in high places. and that's up on the screen, page 147. you remember reporting that. >> i see that. >> okay. when the news first broke that cohen had arranged payoffs to stormy daniels, cohen faithfully stuck to this party line. he said that publicly, neither
the trump organization nor the trump campaign was a party to the transaction and neither reimbursed him. trump's personal attorney at that point quickly texted cohen to say, quote, client says thank you for what you do. mr. mueller, who is the capital "c" client thanking cohen for what he does? >> i can't speak to that. >> okay. the assumption and the context suggests very strongly it's president trump. >> i can't speak to that. >> okay. cohen later broke and pled guilty to campaign finance offenses and admitted fully they were made, quote, at the direction of candidate trump. do you remember that? >> yes. >> after cohen's guilty plea, the president suddenly changed his tune towards mr. cohen, didn't he? >> i would say -- i'd rely on what's in the report. >> well, he made the suggestion that cohen family members had committed crimes. he targeted, for example, cohen's father-in-law and repeatedly suggested he was
guilty of committing crimes. >> generally accurate. >> okay. on page 154, you give a powerful summary of these changing dynamics. and you said, i'm happy to have you read it, but i'm happy to do it if not. >> i have it in front of me. >> would you like to read it? >> i would. >> can you read it out loud to everybody? >> i'd be happy to have you read it out. >> we'll read it at the same time. the evidence concerning this sequence of events could support an inference that the president used inducements in the form of positive messages in an effort to get cohen not to cooperate and then turn to attacks and intimidation to deter the provision of information or to undermine cohen's credibility once cohen began koopcooperatin. >> i believe that's accurate. >> in my view, if anyone else in america engaged in these actions, they would have been charged with witness tampering. we must enforce the principle in congress that you emphasize so well in the very last sentence of your report, which is that in america no, person is so high as to be above the law. i yield back, mr. chairman.
>> thank you, mr. chairman. just recently, mr. mueller, you said mr. liu was asking you questions. i quote, the reason you didn't indict the president is because of the olc opinion. you answered, that is correct. but that is not what you said in the report, and it's not what you told attorney general barr. in fact, in a joint statement that you released with doj on may 29th after your press conference, your office issued a joint statement with the department of justice that said, the attorney general has previously stated that the special counsel repeatedly affirmed that he was not saying that but for the olc opinion, he would have found the president obstructed justice. the special counsel's report in his statement today made clear that the office concluded it would not reach a determination
one way or the other, whether the president committed a crime. there is no conflict between these statements. so mr. mueller, do you stand by your joint statement with doj that you issued on may 29th as you sit here today? >> i would have to look at it more closely before i said i agree. >> well, so -- you know, my conclusion is that what you told mr. liu really contradicts what you said in the report and specifically what you said apparently repeatedly to attorney general barr. then you issued a joint statement on may 29th saying that the attorney general has previously stated that the special counsel repeat dpli affirmed that he was not saying but for the olc report that we would have found the president obstructed justice. i just say there's a conflict. i have some more questions. mr. mueller, there's been a lot
of talk today about firing the special counsel and curtailing the investigation. were you ever fired, mr. mueller? >> i'm sorry, what? >> were you ever fired as special counsel, mr. mueller? >> not that i -- no. >> no. were you allowed to complete your investigation unencumbered? >> yes. >> and in fact, you resigned as special counsel when you closed up the office in late may 2019, is that correct? >> that's correct. >> thank you. mr. mooueller, on april 18th, t attorney general held a press conference in conjunction with the public release of your report. did attorney general barr say anything inaccurate, either in his press conference or his march 24th letter to congress, summarizing the principal conclusions of your report? >> well, what you are not mentioning is the letter we sent on march 27th to mr. barr that
raised some issues. and that letter speaks for itself. >> but then i don't see how you could -- that could be since a.g. barr's letter detailed the principle conclusions of your report. you have said before that there wasn't anything inaccurate. in fact, you had this joint statement. but let me go on to another question. mr. mueller, rather than purely relying on the evidence provided by witnesses and documents, i think you relied a lot on media. i'd like to know how many times you cited "the washington post" in your report. >> how many times i what? >> cited "the washington post" in your report. >> i don't have -- i do not have knowledge of that figure. >> i counted about 60 times. how many times did you cite "the
new york times"? >> again, i have no idea. >> i counted about 75 times. how many times did you cite fox news? >> as with the other two, i have no idea. >> about 25 times. i've got to say, it looks like volume two is mostly regurgitated press stories. honestly, there's almost nothing in volume two that i couldn't already hear or know simply by having a $50 cable news subscription. however, your investigation caused the american taxpayers $25 million. you cited media reports nearly 200 times in your report. then in a footnote, a small footnote, number seven, page 15, volume two of your report, i quote, this section summarizes and cites various news stories not for the truth of the information contained in the stories but rather to place candidate trump's response to those stories in context.
since nobody but lawyers reads footnotes, are you concerned the american public took the embedded news stories -- >> time of the gentlelady is expired. >> can mr. mueller answer the question? >> no, we're running short on time. i said the gentlelady from washington. >> thank you. direct to be mueller, let's turn to the fifth of the obstruction episodes in your report. that's the evidence of whether president trump engaged in witness tampering with trump campaign chairman paul manafort, whose foreign ties were critical to your investigation into russia's interference in our elections. this starts at volume two, page 123. your office got indictments against manafort and trump deputy campaign manager rick gates in two different jurisdictions, correct? >> correct. >> and your office found that after a grand jury indicted them, manafort told gates not to plead guilty to any charges because, quote, he had talked to
the president's personal counsel and they were going to take care of us. is that correct? >> that's accurate. >> and according to your report, one day after manafort's conviction on eight felony charges, quote, the president said that flipping was not fair and almost ought to be outlawed. is that correct? >> i'm aware of that. >> in this context, director mueller, what does it mean to flip? >> have somebody cooperate in a criminal investigation. >> and how essential is that cooperation to any efforts to combat crime? >> i'm not going to go beyond that, characterizing that effort. >> thank you. in your report, you concluded that president trump and his personal counsel, rudy giuliani, quote, made repeated statements suggesting that a pardon was a possibility for manafort while also making it clear that the president did not want manafort to flip and cooperate with the government, end quote. is that correct? >> correct. >> and as you stated earlier, witness tampering can be shown where someone with an improper motive encourages another person not to cooperate with law enforcement.
is that correct? >> correct. >> now, on page 123 of volume two, you also discuss the president's motive, and you say that as court proceedings moved forward against manafort, president trump, quote, discussed with aides whether and in what way manafort might be cooperating and whether manafort knew any information that would be harmful to the president, end quote. is that correct? >> that was a quote from -- >> from page 123, volume two. >> i have it. thank you, yes. >> and when someone tries to stop another person from working with law enforcement and they do it because they're worried about what that person will say, it seems clear from what you wrote that this is a classic definition of witness tampering. now, mr. manafort did eventually decide to cooperate with your office, and he entered into a plea agreement. but then he broke that agreement. can you describe what he did that caused you to tell the court that the agreement was off? >> i'd refer you to the court proceedings on that issue. >> so on page 127 of volume two,
you told the court that mr. manafort lied about a number of matters that were material to the investigation, and you said that manafort's lawyers also, quote, regularly briefed the president's lawyers on topics discussed and the information that manafort had provided in interviews with the special counsel's office. does that sound right? >> and the source of that is? >> that's page 127, volume two. that's a direct quote. >> if it's from the report, yes, i support it. >> between days after you told the court that manafort broke his plea agreement by lying repeatedly, did president trump tell the press that mr. manafort was, quote, very brave, because he did not flip? this is page 128 of volume two. >> if it's in the report, i support it as it is set forth. >> thank you. director mueller, in your report, you make a very serious conclusion about the evidence regarding the president's involvement with the manafort criminal proceedings. let me read to you from your report. evidence concerning the president's conduct toward manafort indicates that the
president intended to encourage manafort to not cooperate with the government. it is clear that the president both publicly and privately discouraged mr. manafort's cooperation or flipping while also dangling the promise of a pardon if he stayed loyal and did not share what he knew about the president. anyone else who did these things would be prosecuted for them. we must ensure that no one is above the law. i thank you for being here, director mueller. i yield back. >> gentleman from pennsylvania. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. mueller, i'm over here. i'm sorry. mr. mueller, are you familiar with the now expired independent counsel statute? it's a statute under which ken starr was appointed. >> that ken starr did what, i'm sorry? >> are you familiar with the independent counsel statute? >> are you talking about the one we're operating now or previous? >> under which ken starr was appointed. >> i'm not that familiar with that. >> the clinton administration allowed the independent counsel
statute to expire after ken starr's investigation. the final report requirement was a major reason why the statute was allowed to expire. even president clinton's a.g., janet reno, expressed concerns about the final report requirement. i'll quote a.g. reno. she said, on one hand, the american people have an interest in knowing the outcome of an investigation of their highest officials. on the other hand, the report requirement cuts against many of the most basic traditions and practices of american law enforcement. under our system, we presume innocence and we value privacy. we believe that information obtained during a criminal investigation should, in most cases, be made public only if there's an indictment and prosecution, not in a lengthy and detailed report filed after a decision has been made not to prosecute. the final report provides a forum for unfairly airing a
target's dirty laundry. it also creates yet another incentive for an independent counsel to overinvestigate in order to justify his or her tenure teen avoid criticism that the independent counsel may have left a stone unturned. again, mr. mueller, those are a.g. reno's words. didn't you do exactly what a.g. reno feared? didn't you publish a lengthy report, unfairly airing the target's dirty laundry without recommending charges? >> i disagree with that. >> okay. and did any of your witnesses have the chance to be cross-examined? >> can i finish my answer on that? >> quickly. >> i operate under the current statute, not the original statute. so i am most familiar with the current statute, not the older statute. >> did any of the witnesses have a chance to be cross-examined? >> did any of the witnesses in our investigation? >> yes. >> i'm not going to answer that. >> did you allow the people mentioned in your report to challenge how they were characterized? >> i'm not going to get into
that. >> given that a.g. barr stated multiple times during his confirmation hearing that he would make as much of your report public as possible, did you write your report knowing that it would likely be shared with the public? >> no. >> did knowing that the report could and likely would be made public, did that alter the contents which you included? >> i can't speak to that. >> despite the expectations that your report would be released to the public, you left out significant exculpatory evidence. in other words, evidence favorable to the president, correct? >> well, i actually would disagree with you. i think we strove to put into the report exculpatory evidence as well. >> you said there was evidence you left out. >> you make a choice as to what goes into an indictment. >> isn't it true, mr. mueller, that on page one of volume two, you state you had the obligation
to either prosecute or not prosecute. >> generally, that's the case. although, most cases are not done in the context of the president. >> in this case, you made a decision not to prosecute, correct? >> no, we made a decision not to decide whether to prosecute or not. >> so essentially what your report did was everything that a.g. reno warned against. >> i can't agree with that characterization. >> well, what you did is you compiled a nearly 450 pages of the very worst information you gathered against the target of your investigation, who happens to be the president of the united states. and you did this knowing that you were not going to recommend charges and that the report would be made public. >> not true. >> mr. mueller, as a former officer in the united states jag corps, i prosecuted nearly 100 terrorists in a baghdad courtroom. i cross-examined the butcher of fallujah in defense of our navy s.e.a.l.s.
i was elected a judge of pennsylvania. i'm very well-versed in the american legal system. the drafting and the publication of some of the information in this report without an indictment, without prosecution frankly flies in the face of american justice. and i find those facts and this entire process un-american. i yield the remainder of my time to my colleague jim jordan. >> director mueller, the third fisa renewal happens a month after you're named special counsel. what role did your office play in the third fisa renewal? >> not going to talk to that. >> time of the gentleman is expired. gentlelady from florida. >> director mueller, a couple of my colleagues -- right here -- wanted to talk to you or ask you about lies. so let's talk about lies. according to your report, page nine, volume one, witnesses lied to your office and to congress. those lies materially impaired the investigation of russian interference, according to your report. other than the individuals who pled guilty to crimes based on
their lying to you and your team, did other witnesses lie to you? >> i think there are probably a spectrum of witnesses in terms of those who are not telling the full truth, and those that are outright liars. >> thank you very much. outright liars. it is fair to say then that there were limits on what evidence was available to your investigation of both russia election interference and obstruction of justice. >> that's true and usually the case. >> and that lies about trump campaign officials and administration officials impeded your investigation. >> i would generally agree with that. >> thank you so much, director mueller. you will be hearing more from me in the next hearing. so i yield the balance of my time. thank you. >> mr. mueller, let me welcome you. thank you for your service to our country. you're a hero, vietnam war vet, wounded war vet.
we won't forget your service to our country. ening thank y-- thank you, sir. >> i want the focus on another section of obstruction, which is the president's conduct concerning michael flynn, the president's national security adviser. in early 2017, the white house counsel and the president were informed that mr. flynn had lied to government authorities about his communications with the russian ambassador during the trump campaign and transition. is this correct? >> correct. >> if a hostile nation knows that a u.s. official has lied publicly, that can be used to blackmail that government official, correct? >> i'm not going to speak to that. i don't decembisagree with it necessarily, but i'm not going to speak any more to that issue. >> thank you very much, sir. flynn resigned on february 13th, 2016.
the very next day when the president was having lunch with new jersey governor chris christie, did the president say, open quote, now that we fired flynn, the russia thing is over, close quote? is that correct? >> correct. >> and is it true that christie responded by saying, open quotes, no way, and this russia thing is far from over, close quote? >> that's the way we have it in the report. >> thank you. and after the president met with christie, later that same day, the president arranged to meet with then-fbi director james comey. alone in the oval office, correct? >> correct, particularly if you have the citation to the report. >> page 39, 40, volume two. >> thank you very much. >> according to comey, the president told him, open quote, i hope you can see your way to clear -- to letting this thing
go, to letting flynn go. he's a good guy, and i hope you can let it go, close quote. page 40, volume two. >> accurate. >> what did comey understand the president to be asking? >> i'm not going to get into what was in mr. comey's mind. >> comey understood this to be a direction because of the president's position and the circumstances of the one-to-one meeting, page 40, volume two. >> i understand it's in the report. i support it as being in the report. >> thank you, sir. even though the president publicly denied telling comey to drop the investigation, you found, open quote, substantial evidence corroborating comey's account over the president's? is this correct? >> that's correct. >> the president fired comey on may 9th. is that correct, sir? >> i believe that's the accurate date. >> that's page 77, volume two.
you found substantial evidence that the catalyst for the president's firing of comey was comey's, open quote, unwillingness to publicly state that the president was not personally under investigation. >> i'm not going to delve more into the details of what happened. if it's in the report, then i support it because it's already been reviewed and appropriately appears in the report. >> and that's page 75, volume two. in fact, the very next day, the president told the russian foreign minister, open quote, i just fired the head of the fbi. he was crazy, a real nut job. i face great pressure because of russia. that's taken off. i'm not under investigation, close quote. is that correct? >> if that's what was written in the report, yes. >> time of the gentleman is expired. >> thank you, sir. >> gentleman from virginia. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. mueller, we've heard a lot about what you're not going to talk about today.
so let's talk about something you should be able to talk about, the law itself. the underlying obstruction statute and your creative legal analysis of the statutes in volume two, particularly your interpretation of 18 usc 1512c, an obstruction of justice statute part of auditing companies for financial regulations. as you write, this provision was added as a floor amendment in the senate and explained as closing a certain loophole with respect to document shredding. whoever corruptly alters or conceals a document or other object with intent to impair the object's integrity or availability for use in an official proceeding or otherwise obstructs, influences any proceeding will be fined or imprisoned. your analysis and application of this statute proposes to give
clause c-2 a much broader interpretation. first, reading it in isolation, all-encompassing provision, prohibiting any act. second, your analysis of this statute to apply this -- proposes to apply this sweeping prohibition to lawful acts by public officials if those acts influence a proceeding. so mr. mueller, i'd ask you, in analyzing the obstruction, you state that you recognize the department of justice and courts have not definitively resolved these issues, correct? >> correct. >> you'd agree that not everyone in the justice department agreed with your legal theory of the obstruction of justice statutes, correct? >> i'm not going to involve discussion on that at this juncture. >> in fact, the attorney general himself disagrees with your interpretation of the law, correct? >> i'll leave that to the attorney general to identify. >> and you would agree that prosecutors sometimes
incorrectly apply the law? >> i would have to agree with that one. >> and members of your legal team, in fact, have had convictions overturned because they were based on an incorrect legal theory, correct? >> i don't know to what -- we all spend time in the trenches trying cases and have not won every one of those cases. >> let me ask you about one in particular. one of your top prosecutors obtained a conviction against an auditing firm which was subsequently overturned in a unanimous supreme court decision that rejected the legal theory. >> i'm not going to delve into that. >> let me just read. >> may i finish my answer? i'm not going to get involved in a discussion on that. i will refer you to that citation that you gave me at the outset for the lengthy discussion on just what you're talking about and to the extent that i have anything to say about it, it is what we've already put into the report on that issue. >> and i am reading from your report when discussing this section. i'll read from the decision of the supreme court unanimously
reversing mr. weissman. indeed, it's striking how little culpability the instructions required. for example, the jury was told even if a petitioner believed he was sincere, the jury could convict. >> let me just say -- >> well, let me move on. i have limited time. your report takes the broadest possible reading of this provision in applying it to the president's official acts. i'm concerned about the implications of your theory for overcriminalizing conduct by public officials and private citizens alike. to emphasize how broad your theory of liability is, i want to ask you about a few examples. on october 11th, 2015, during the investigation into hillary clinton's use of a private email server, president obama said, i don't think it posed a national security problem. he later said, i can tell you that this is not a situation in which america's national security was endangered. assuming for a moment his comments did influence the investigation, couldn't president obama be charged under your interpretation with obstruction of justice? >> well, again, i'd refer you to the report, but let me say with
andrew weissman, he's one of the more talented attorneys we have on board. >> well, i'll take that -- >> over a period of time, he's run a number of units -- >> i have very limited time. in august 2015, a very senior doj official called fbi deputy director andrew mccabe expressing concern that fbi agents were still openly pursuing the clinton foundation probe. the doj official was apparently very pissed off, quote/unquote. mccabe questioned this official, asking, are you telling me i need to shut down a badly predicate the investigation, to which the official replied, of course not. this seems to be a clear example of somebody within the executive branch attempting to influence an fbi investigation. so under your theory, couldn't that person be charged with obstruction as long as a prosecutor could come up with a potentially corrupt motive? >> i refer you to our lengthy dissertation on exactly those issues that appears at the end of the report. >> mr. mueller, i'd argue that it says above the supreme court
issue. >> did -- time of the gentleman is expired. our intent was to conclude this in three hours. given the break, that would bring us to 11:40. with director mueller's indulgence, we'll be asking our remaining democratic members to voluntarily limit their time below the five minutes to we can complete our work as close to that time frame as possible. i now recognize the gentlelady from pennsylvania. >> thank you. director mueller, i want to ask you some questions about the president's statements regarding advanced knowledge of the wikileaks dumps. so the president refused to sit down with your investigators for an in-person interview, correct? >> correct. >> so the only answers we have to questions from the president are contained in appendix c to your report. >> correct. >> okay. so looking at appendix c on page five, you asked the president over a dozen questions about whether he had knowledge that wikileaks possessed or might possess the emails that were stolen by the russians. >> i apologize. >> sure. >> can you start it again?
>> okay. sure. so we're looking at appendix c. appendix c, page five, you ask the president about a dozen questions about whether he had knowledge that wikileaks possessed the stolen emails that might be released in a way helpful to his campaign or harmful to the clinton campaign. is that correct? you asked those questions? >> yes. >> okay. in february of this year, mr. trump's personal attorney michael cohen testified to congress under oath that, quote, mr. trump knew from roger stone in advance about the wikileaks drop of emails, end quote. that's a matter of public record, isn't it? >> well, are you referring to the report or some other public record? >> this was testimony before congress by mr. cohen. do you know if he told you -- >> then i'm not familiar, explicitly familiar with what he testified to before congress. >> okay. let's look at an event described on page 18 of volume two of your
report. we're going to put it up on a slide, i think. according to deputy campaign manager rick gates, in the summer of 2016, he and candidate trump were on the way to an airport shortly after wikileaks released its first set of stolen emails. and gates told your investigators that candidate trump was on a phone call, and when the call ended, trump told gates that more releases of damaging information would be coming, end quote. do you recall that from the report? >> if it's in the report, i support it. >> okay. and that's on page 18 of volume two. now, on page 77 of volume two, your report also stated, quote, in addition, some witnesses said that trump privately sought information about future wikileaks releases, end quote. is that correct? >> correct. >> now, in appendix c, where the president did answer some written questions, he said, quote, i do not recall
discussing wikileaks with him, nor do i recall being aware of mr. stone having discussed wikileaks with individuals associated with my campaign, end quote. is that correct? >> if it's from the report, it is correct. >> okay. so is it fair to say the president denied ever discussing wikileaks with mr. stone and denied being aware that anyone associated with his campaign discussed wikileaks with stone? >> i'm sorry, could you repeat that one? >> is it fair then that the president denied knowledge of himself or anyone else discussing wikileaks dumps with mr. stone? >> yes, yes. >> okay. and with that, i would yield back. >> thank you, ma'am. >> thank you, mr. chair. mr. mueller, over here. mr. mueller d you indeed interview for the fbi director job one day before you were appointed special counsel? >> my understanding it was not applying for the job. i was asked to give my input on what it would take to do the job, which triggered the
interview you're talking about. >> so you don't recall on may 16th, 2017, that you interviewed with the president regarding the fbi director job? >> i interviewed with the president. >> was it about the fbi director job? >> it was about the job, not me applying for the job. >> so your statement here today is you didn't interview to apply for the fbi director job. >> that's correct. >> so did you tell the vice president that the fbi director position would be the one job that you would come back for? >> i don't recall that one. >> you don't recall that? >> no. >> okay. given your 22 months of investigation, tens of millions of zlars spent and millions of documents reviewed, did you obtain any evidence at all that any american voter changed their vote as a result of russia's election interference? >> i'm not going to speak to that. >> you can't speak to that? after 22 months of investigation, there's not any evidence in that document before us that any voter changed their vote because of their interference? and i'm asking you based on all the documents -- >> that was outside our purview.
>> russian meddling was outside your purview? >> the impact of that was undertaken by other agencies. >> you stated in your opening statement that you would not get into the details of the steele dossier. however, multiple times in volume two you mention the unverified allegations. how long did it take you to reach the conclusion that it was unverified? >> i'm not going to speak to that. >> it's actually in your report, multiple times that it's unverified, and you're telling me you're not willing to tell us how you came to the conclusion? >> true. >> when did you become aware that the unverified steele dossier was included in the fisa application to spy on carter page? >> i'm sorry, what was the question? >> when did you become aware that the unverified steele dossier was included in the fisa application to spy on carter page? >> i'm not going to speak to that. >> your team interviewed christopher steele, is that correct? >> not going to get into that.
>> you can't tell this committee as to whether or not you interviewed christopher steele in a 22-month investigation with 18 lawyers? >> as i said at the outset, that is one of those -- one of the investigations that is being handled by others in the department of justice. >> but you're here testifying about this investigation today. i am asking you directly, did any members of your team or did you interview christopher steele in the course of your investigation? >> and i am not going to answer that question, sir. >> you had two years to investigate. not once did you consider it worthy to investigate how an unverified document, paid for by a political opponent, was used to obtain a warrant to spy on the opposition political campaign? did you do any investigation in that whatsoever? >> i do not accept your characterization. >> what would be your characterization? >> i'm not going to speak anymore to it. >> so you're not going to speak to it, but you're not going to agree with my characterization? is that correct? >> yes. >> the fisa application makes reference to source one, who is
christopher steele, the author of the steele dossier. the fisa application says nothing sources one's reason into candidate one's ties to russia. based on source's one previous reporting with the fbi, whereby source one provided reliable information to the n bi. the fbi believes source one's reporting here and to be credible. do you believe the fbi's representation that source one's reporting was credible to be accurate? >> i'm not going to answer that. >> so you're not going to respond to any of the questions regarding christopher steele or your interviews with him? >> as i said at the outset this morning, that was one of the investigations that i could not speak to. >> i don't understand how if you interviewed an individual in the purview of this investigation that you're testifying to us today that you've closed that investigation, how that's not within your purview to tell us about that investigation and who you interviewed. >> i have nothing to add. >> okay. well, i can guarantee you that the american people want to know, and i'm very hopeful and glad that a.g. barr is looking into this and the inspector general is looking into this because you're unwilling to
answer the questions of the american people as it relates to the very basis of this investigation into the president and the very basis of this individual who you did interview, you're just refusing to answer those questions. can't the president fire the fbi director at any time without reason under article one of the constitution? >> yes. >> article two? >> yes. >> that's correct. can he also fire you as special counsel at any time without reason? >> i believe that to be the case. >> under article two. >> hold on just a second. you said without any reason. i know that special counsel can be fired, but i'm not certain it extends for whatever reason is given. >> and you've testified you weren't fired. you were able to complete your investigation in full. is that correct? >> i'm not going to add to what i've stated before. >> my time is expired. >> gentleman's time is expired. the gentlelady from pennsylvania. from texas. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, mr. mueller, for
being with us this -- close to the afternoon now. director mueller, i would like to ask you about the president's answers relating to roger stone. roger stone was indicted for multiple federal crimes. the indictment alleges that mr. stone discussed future wikileaks email releases with the trump campaign. understanding there's a gag order on the stone case, i will keep my questions restricted to publicly available information. >> let me just say at the outset -- i don't mean to disrupt you, but i'm not -- i would like some demar kcation o that which is applicable to this but also in such a way that it does not hinder the other prosecution taking place in d.c. >> i understand that. i'm only going to be talking about the questions you asked in writing to the president that relate to mr. stone. >> thank you, ma'am. >> mr. stone's indictment states, among other things, the following.
quote, stone was contacted by senior trump officials to inquire about future releases of organization one. organization one being wikileaks. the indictment continues, quote, stone thereafter told the trump campaign about potential future releases of damaging material by wikileaks. so in short, the indictment alleges that stone was asked by the trump campaign to get information about more wikileaks releases and that stone, in fact, did tell the trump campaign about potential future releases, correct? >> yes, ma'am, but i see you're quoting from the indictment. even though the indictment is a public document, i feel uncomfortable discussing anything having to do with the stone prosecution. >> right. the indictment is of record. we pulled it off of the -- i'm reading straight from it. turning back to the president's answers to your questions then on this very subject, the president denied ever discussing
future wikileaks releases with stone and denied knowing whether anyone else in his campaign had those discussions with stone. if you had learned that other witnesses, putting aside the president, if other witnesses had lied to your investigators in response to specific questions, whether in writing or in an interview, could they be charged with false statement crimes? >> i'm not going to speculate. i think you're asking for me to speculate given a set of circumstances. >> let's put it more specific. what if i had made a false statement to an investigator on your team. ing could i go to jail for up to five years? >> yes. >> yes. >> although, it's congress. >> well, that's the point, though, isn't it? no one is above the law. >> that's true. >> not you. not the congress. certainly not the president. and i think it's just troubling to have to hear some of these things. that's why the american people
deserve to learn the full facts of the misconduct described in your report for which any other person would have been charged with crimes. so thank you for being here, and again, the point has been underscored many times, but i'll repeat it. no one is above the law. thank you. >> thank you, ma'am. >> the gentleman from north dakota is recognized. >> mr. mueller, how many people on your staff did you fire during the course of the investigation? >> how many people -- >> did you fire? >> i'm not going to discuss that. >> according to inspector general's report, attorney number two was let go. we know peter strzok was let go. >> yes, and there may have been other persons on other issues that either transferred or fired. >> peter strzok testified before this committee that he was fired because you were concerned about preserving the appearance of independence. do you agree with this testimony? >> say that again, if you could. >> he said he was fired at least
partially because you were worried about -- concerned about preserving the appearance of independence with the special counsel's investigation. do you agree with that statement? >> the statement was by whom? >> peter strzok, at this hearing. >> i am not familiar with that. >> did you fire him because you were worried about the appearance of independence of the investigation? >> he was transferred as a result of instances involving texts. >> do you agree that your office did not only have an obligation to operate with independent but operate with the appearance of independence as well? >> absolutely. we strove to do that over the two years. part of that was making certain that -- >> andrew weissman is one of your top attorneys? >> yes. >> did weissman have a role in selecting other members of your team? >> some role. >> he attended hillary clinton's election night party. did you know that? >> i don't know when i found that out. >> on january 30th, 2017,wiseman wrote an email to deputy attorney general yates stating i
am so proud and in awe, regarding her disobeying a direct order from the president. did he disclose that? >> i'm not going to talk about that. >> is that not a conflict of interest? >> not going to talk about that. >> are you aware that ms. jeannie represented hillary clinton originating in her time as secretary of state. >> yes. >> did you know that before she came on the team? >> no. >> the guy sitting next to you represented justin cooper, a clinton aide, who destroyed one of clinton's mobile devices. you must be aware by now that six of your lawyers donated $12,000 directly to hillary clinton. i'm not even talking about the 49,000 they donated to other democrats. just the donations to the opponent who was the target of your investigation. >> can i speak for a second to the hiring practices? >> sure. >> we strove to hire those individuals that could do the job. i've been in this business for almost 25 years, and in those 25
years, i have not had occasion once to ask somebody about their political affiliation. it is not done. what i care about is the capability of the individual to do the job and do the job quickly and seriously and with integrity. >> but that's what i'm saying, mr. mueller. this isn't just about you being able to vouch for your team. this is about knowing the day you accepted this role, you had to be aware no matter what this report concluded half of the country was going to be skeptical of your team's fientdings. that's why we have recusal laws that define bias and perceive bias for this very reason. the code specifically lists not just political conflict of interest but the appearance of conflict of interest. it's simply not enough you vouch for your team. no perceived bias can exist. i can't imagine a single prosecutor or judge that i have ever appeared in front of would be comfortable with these circumstances where over half of the prosecutorial team had a direct relationship to the opponent of the person being investigated. >> one other fact i put on the table, and that is we hired 19
lawyers over the period of time. of those 19 lawyers, 14 of them were transferred from elsewhere in the department of justice. only five came from outside. >> and half of them had a direct relationship, political or personal, with the opponent of the person you were investigating. that's my point. i wonder if not a single word in this entire report was changed but rather the only difference was we switched hillary clinton and president trump. if peter strzok texted those terrible things about hillary clinton instead of president trump, if a team of lawyers donated thousands of dollars to and went to trump's parties instead of clintons, i don't think we'd be here trying to prop up an obstruction allegation. my colleagues would have spent the last four months accusing your team of being bought and paid for by the trump campaign, and we couldn't trust a single word of this report. they would still be accusing the president of conspiracy with russia, and they would be accusing your team of aiding and abetting with that conspiracy. and with that, i yield back.
>> gentleman yields back. the gentleman from colorado. >> director mueller, thank you for your service to our country. i'd like to talk to you about one of the other incidents of obstruction. that's the evidence in your report showing the president directing his son and his communications director to issue a false public statement in june of 2017 about a meeting between his campaign and russian individuals at trump tower in june of 2016. according to your report, mr. trump jr. was the only trump associate who participated in that meeting and who declined to be voluntarily interviewed by your office. is that correct? >> yes. >> did mr. trump jr. or his counsel ever communicate to your office any intent to invoke his fifth amendment right against self-incrimination? >> i'm not going to answer that. >> you did pose written questions to the president about his knowledge of the trump tower meeting. you included also asked him about whether or not he had directed a false press statement. the president did not answer it all, that question. correct? >> i don't have it in front of me. i take your word. >> i can represent to you that
appendix c, specifically c-13, states as much. according to page 100 of volume two of your report, your investigation found that hope hicks, the president's communications director, in june of 2017 was shown emails that set up the trump tower meeting, and she told your office that she was, quote, shocked by the emails, because they looked, quote, really bad. true? >> do you have the citation? >> sure. page 100 of volume two. while you're flipping to that page, director mueller, i will tell you according to page 99 of volume two, those emails in question stated, according to your report, that the crown prosecutor of russia had offered to provide the trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate hillary and her dealings with russia as part of russia and its government's support for mr. trump. trump junior responded, if it's what you say, i love it. he, kushner, and manafort met with the russian attorneys and
several other russian individuals at trump tower on june 9th, 2016, end quote. correct? >> generally accurate. >> isn't it true that miss hicks told your office that she went multiple times to the president to, quote, urge him that they should be fully transparent about the june 9th meeting, end quote, but the president each time said no. correct? >> accurate. >> and the reason was because of those emails, which the president, quote, believed would not leak, correct? >> well, i'm not certain how it's characterized, but generally correct. >> did the president direct miss hicks to say, quote, only that trump junior took a brief meeting and it was about russian adoption, end quote, because trump junior's statement to "the new york times," quote, said too much, according to page 102 of volume two. >> okay. >> correct? >> let me -- let me just check one thing. yes. >> and according to miss hicks,
the president still directed her to say the meeting was only about russian adoption, correct? >> yes. >> despite knowing that to be untrue. thank you, director mueller. i yield back the balance of my time. >> mr. mueller, you've been asked a lot of questions here today. to be frank, you've performed as most of us expected. you've stuck closely to your report, and you have declined to answer many of our questions on both sides. as the closer for the republican side, i know you're glad to get to the close, i want to summarize the highlights of what we have heard and what we know. you spent two years and nearly $30 million taxpayer and unlimited resources to prepare a nearly 450-page report which you describe today as very thorough. millions of americans today maintain genuine concerns about your work in large part because of the infamous and widely publicized bias of your investigating team members, which we now know included 14 democrats and zero republicans.
campaign finance reports later showed -- >> can i -- >> excuse me. it's my time. that team of democrat investigators you hired donated more than $60,000 to the hillary clinton campaign and other candidates. your team also included peter strzok and lisa page, which have been discussed today. they had the lurid text openly mocked and hated donald trump and his supporters and vowed to take him out. mr. radcliff asked you earlier this morning, quote, can you give me an example, other than donald trump, where the justice department determined an investigative person was not exonerated because their innocence was not inclusively determined? unquote. you answered, i cannot. sir, that is unprecedented. the president believed from the very beginning that you and your special counsel team had seerz conflicts, and yet president trump cooperated fully with the investigation. he knew he had done nothing wrong and he encouraged all witnesses to cooperate with the investigation and produce more than 1.4 million pages of
information and allowed over 40 witnesses directly affiliated with the white house or his campaign. your report acknowledges on page 61, volume ii, that a volume of evidence exists of the president telling many people privately, quote, the president was concerned about the impact of the russian investigation on his ability to govern and to address important foreign relations issues and even matters of national security. and on page 174, volume ii, your report acknowledges that the president's removal powers are at their xenith, officers who report to him directly. his exclusive and power of removal of those principle officers furthers that that would even include the attorney general. in spite of all of that, nothing ever happened to stop or impede your special counsel's investigation. nobody was fired by the president. nothing was curtailed and the investigation continued
unencumbered for 22 long months. the evidence, quote, did not establish that the president was involved in an underlying crime related to russian interference, and the evidence, quote, did not establish that the president or those close to him were involved in any russian conspiracies or had any unlawful relationship with any russian official, end quote. during those 22 months as your investigation dragged on, the president became frustrated, as many of the american people did, of the effects on this country and his ability to govern. while the president's social media accounts may have influenced some in the media or the opinion of some of the american people, none of those audiences were targets or witnesses in your investigation. the president never affected anybody's testimony. he never demanded toned the investigation or demanded that you be terminated and he never misled congress, the doj or the special counsel. those, sir, are undisputed facts. there will be a lot of discussion, i predict today, and
great frustration throughout the country about the fact that you wouldn't answer any questions about the origins of this whole charade, the infamous chris fear steele dossier, totally bogus, even though it's listed and referenced in your report. apparently we'll get no comment from that on you. there's one primary reason you were called here today by the democratic majority of the committee. our colleagues just want political cover. they desperately wanted you to tell them today to impeach the president. one thing you have said very clearly is that your report is complete and thorough and you completely stand by its recommendations and all of its content. is that right? >> true. >> one last important question. your report does not recommend impeachment. does it? >> i'm not going to talk about recommendations. >> it does not conclude that impeachment would be appropriate here, right? >> i'm not going to talk about that issue.
>> that's one of the many things you wouldn't talk about today. but i think we can all draw our own conclusions. i thank you for your service to the country and i'm glad this will come to an end soon and we can get back to the important business of this committee with the broad jurisdiction of so many important issues in the country. with that, i yield back. >> gentleman yields back. our intent was to conclude this hearing around 11:45. all the republican members have now asked their questions. we have a few remaining democratic members. they will be limiting their questions so at director mueller's indulgence, we expect to finish in 15 minutes. the gentle lady from georgia is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, mr. mueller. obstruction of justice investigation was extraordinarily productive. under two years you charged at least 37 people or entities with crimes, convicted 7 individuals, 5 of whom were top trump campaign or white house aides. charges remain pending against two dozen russian persons or entities and against others. let me start with those five
trump campaign advisers or aides that you convicted, paul manafort, campaign manager, rick gates, deputy campaign manager, michael flynn, president trump's former national security adviser, michael cohen, the president's personal attorney, george papadopoulos, former campaign foreign policy adviser. correct? >> right. >> and the sixth trump associate will face trial later this year, correct? and that person would be roger stone. correct? >> right. >> thank you. >> i'm not certain what you said about stone but he is in another court system, as i indicated before. >> exactly. he's still under investigation. >> and i don't want to discuss. >> correct. thank you. and there are many other charges as well, correct? >> right. >> so, sir, i just want to thank you so much in my limited time today for your team, the work that you did, and your dedication. in less than two years, your team was able to uncover an
incredible amount of information related to russia's attack on our elections and to obstruction of justice and there is still more that we have to learn despite facing unfair attacks by the president and even here today, your work has been substantive and fair. the work has laid the critical foundation for our investigation and for that, i thank you. i thank you. with that i yield back the balance of my time. >> the gentle lady yields back. gentleman from arizona? >> thank you. director mueller, i'm disappointed some have questioned your motives throughout this process. i want to take a moment to remind the american people of who you are and your exemplary service to our country. you are a marine. you served in vietnam and earned a bronze star and a purple heart. correct? >> correct. >> which president appointed you to become the united states attorney for massachusetts? >> which senator? >> which president? >> oh, which president?
i think that was president bush. >> according to my notes, it was president ronald reagan had the honor to do so. >> my mistake. >> under whose administration did you serve as the assistant attorney general in charge of the doj's criminal division? >> which president? >> yeah. >> that would be george bush i. >> that is correct, george h.w. bush. after that, you took a job at a prestigious law firm and after a couple of years, you did something extraordinary. you left that lucrative position to re-enter public service, prosecuting homicides here in washington, d.c. is that correct? >> correct. >> when you were named director of the fbi, which president first appointed you? >> bush. >> and the senate confirmed you with a vote of 98-0. correct? >> surprising. >> and you were sworn in as director just one week before the september 11th attacks? >> true.
>> you helped to protect this nation against another attack. you did such an outstanding job that when your ten-year term expired, the senate unanimously voted to extend your term for another two years. correct? >> true. >> when you were asked in 2017 to take the job as special counsel, the president had just fired fbi director james comey. the justice department and the fbi were in turmoil. you must have known there would be an extraordinary challenge. why did you accept? >> oim not going to get into that. that's a little off track. it's a challenge. >> some attack the motivation of your team, even suggest that the investigation was a witch hunt. when you considered people to join your team did you ever, even once, ask about their political affiliation? >> never once. >> in your entire career as a law enforcement official, have you ever made a hiring decision based upon a person's political affiliation?
>> no. >> i'm not surprised -- >> if i might just interject, the capabilities we've shown in the report that's been discussed here today is a result of a team of agents and lawyers who are absolutely exemplary and were hired because of the value they could contribute to getting the job done and getting it done expeditiously. >> clearly to me in reading your report and listening to your testimony today, you acted fairly. there were circumstances you could have filed charges against other people mentioned in the report but declined. not every prosecutor does that. certainly not one on a witch hunt. attacks made against you and your team intensified because your report is damning. and i believe you did uncover evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors. the other thing you're right about is the only remedy for this situation is for congress to take action. i yield back. >> the gentleman yields back. the gentlelady from pennsylvania? >> morning, director mueller.
natalie dean. >> got you. sorry. >> thank you. i will be quoting your march 27th letter. sir, in that letter and at several other times, did you convey to the attorney general that, quote, the introductions and executive summaries of our two-volume report accurately summarized this office's work and conclusions, end quote? >> the letter itself speaks for itself. >> and those were your words in that letter. continuing with your letter, you wrote to the attorney general that, quote, the summary letter that the department sent to congress and released to the public late in the afternoon of march 24th did not fully capture the context, nature and substance of this office's work and conclusions, end quote. is that correct? >> again, i rely on the letter itself for its