Skip to main content

tv   Robert Mueller Testifies Before House Judiciary Committee  CSPAN  July 24, 2019 6:34pm-10:07pm EDT

6:34 pm
adjourned under the previous order. the presiding officer: the senate stands adjourned until senate stands adjourned until
6:35 pm
former special counsel robert mueller was on capitol hill testifying before the intelligence committee's, russia investigation. we'll show the first hearing he appeared out. this is held by the house judiciary committee.
6:36 pm
6:37 pm
[background noises] fiduciary committee welcome to order. without objection, chair authorized to recess at anytime. we welcome everyone to today's hearing. investigation into the russian presidential election. thousand 16. a brief opening statement.
6:38 pm
thank you for being here, doctor kohler. i would to say a few words about these things today. responsible to, integrity and accountability. your career is a model of responsibility. you are a decorated marine officer. he served as the department of justice and immediate estimate of 9/11 service director of the fbi. two years ago, you return to public service into russian interference in 2616 election. conducted the investigation with remarkable integrity. twenty-two months, you never commented in public about the work even when you're subjected to repeated and grossly unfair personal attacks. instead, your indictment spoke for you in astonishing detail. over the course of your investigation, you obtained
6:39 pm
indictments against 37 people and entities. conviction of trumps campaign chairman, deputy campaign manager, security advisor and his personal lawyer among others. the paul manafort case alone, you covered as much as $42 million. in your report, he offered the country accountability as well. volume one, you find russian attacks on 2016 elections in a sweeping and systematic fashion. it's designed to benefit the trump campaign. for him to, ten separate instances of possible obstruction of justice when your words, trump attempted to exert on to influence over your investigation. president's behavior included on
6:40 pm
the investigation, non- public efforts to control and efforts both public and private to encourage witnesses not to cooperate. among the most shocking, trump ordered his white house counsel to have you fired and then to lie and deny that it happened. you were the former campaign manager to convince him to accuse him to step in and limit your work. he attempted to prevent witnesses from cooperating with your investigation. department policy would argue for indicting the president for misconduct, you make clear he's not exonerated. any other person who act in this way, would have been charged with crimes. in this nation, not even the president is above the law. which brings me to this work.
6:41 pm
responsibility, integrity and accountability. these are the marks which we serve on this committee will be measured as well. we have a responsibility to address the evidence that you have uncovered. he recognized the constitution requires the process other than the criminal justice system to formally accused the sitting president of wrong doing. that process begins with the work of this committee. we will follow your example. we will act with integrity and follow the facts. we will consider all appropriate remedies. we'll make our recommendations to the house. we will do this work because there must be accountability. especially as it relates to the president. thank you again. we look forward to your testimony. it's not my pleasure to recognize making member of the
6:42 pm
judiciary committee. >> thank you. for two years, leading up to the release of the report and three months since, americans were first told what to expect and what to a believe. we were told even of the special counsel didn't find it, when he produced his report, we read no american conspired. we learned the depth of russia's malice. we are here to ask serious questions about mr. mueller's work and we will do that after an extended investigation. the burden of proof remains unproven an extremely high and especially in light of special counsel's. we're told the investigation began as an inquiry whether the russians interfered with the
6:43 pm
2016 election. investigation revealed trump saw russian assistance. mr. mueller concluded he did not. his family did not. the report concludes no one included, collaborated or conspired with russians. the president started the investigation. he assumed guilt while he knew the extent of his skillet innocence. for his innocence with this early on. president achieved the investigation was understandably negative. he asked his lawyer to disqualify him but he did not
6:44 pm
shut down the investigation. the president knew he was innocent. those are the facts of the mueller report. the president did not conspire with russians and nothing we here today will change those facts. one element remains. the beginnings of the infant investigation. i look forward to finding out what he found in the investigation and they continue to review the investigation against private citizens. the results will be released in law enforcement is never accused again for potential political candidate as a result of the political handful of fbi's. they concluded the same thing, what it means to be american. every american has a voice so we must protect their voice by combating election interference.
6:45 pm
america enjoys the presumption of innocence. if we take anything away today, it must that while we ensure our government does not authorize against the constitutional right for every u.s. citizen. must agree the opportunity cost here is too high. investigating from this failed to end or contribute to the growing job market. it's paralyzed this committee and house. a side note, every week i leave my family and kids, the most important things to me to come here. six and half years ago, i came here to work and we accomplished a lot. this year, because of the dislike of this president and in
6:46 pm
this hearing on the investigation called to accomplish nothing except talk about the problems of our country while our border is on fire and in crisis and everything else is stopped. his hearing is long overdue. no american conspired, what we need today is to let the truth bring in confidence and i hope foreclosure. >> thank you. i will not introduce today's witness. robert mueller served as director of the fbi real 2,122,013. he served as special counsel and the department of justice overseeing the investigation of interference in the 2016 election. mr. mueller is accompanied by deputy special counsel on the investigation.
6:47 pm
we thank you for participating in today's hearing. please rise, i will begin by swearing un. >> raise your right hand place. you swear that the testimony is correct to the best of your knowledge? so help you got. thank you and please be seated. >> please note, as your written statement, will be entered into the statement into its entirety. summarize your testimony in five minutes. you may begin. >> good morning. members of the committee, as you know in may, 2017, acting attorney general asked me to take counsel. i took that role because i
6:48 pm
believe it was a paramount interest to the nation to determine whether a foreign adversary interfered in the presidential election. as the acting attorney general said it was necessary in order for the american people to have full confidence in the outcome. my staff and i carried this out with that critical objective in mind. we worked quietly, thoroughly and integrity to the public would have full confidence in the outcome. they directed our office to investigate the presidential election. this included investigating any links or coordination between the russian government and individuals associated with the trump campaign. it also included investigating efforts to interfere with or
6:49 pm
obstruct our investigation. throughout the investigation, i continually stressed to things. first, we needed to do our work as thoroughly as possible and as expeditiously as possible. within public interest for our investigation to be complete and not lasting a day longer than necessary. the investigation is to be conducted fairly and with absolute integrity. our team would not leak or take other actions that could compromise the integrity of our work. all decisions were made based on facts and wall. during the course of our investigation, we charged more than 30 defendants with federal crimes. including 12 officers of the russian military. seven defendants have pled
6:50 pm
guilty or convicted. the charges we brought remain pending today and for those matters, i stress they contain allegations and every defendant is presumed innocent or until proven guilty. in addition to the criminal charges we brought, as required by justice department regulations, we submitted a confidential report to the attorney general at the conclusion of our investigation. there were results of our work, reasons for our charging and decisions. attorney general made the report largely public. i made a few remarks about our report when we closed the office in may of this year. there are certain points that are emphasized. first, our investigation found the russian government interfered in our election in a
6:51 pm
systematic fashion. the investigation did not establish that members of the trump campaign expired -- conspired with the russian. it did not address collusion which is not a legal term, rather we focused on whether the evidence was sufficient. our investigation and efforts to instruct investigation and lied to investigators were critical importance. construction of justice strikes at the core of the government effort to find the truth and hold wrongdoers accountable. finally, as described in line two, we investigated the series of actions by the president toward the investigation.
6:52 pm
based on justice department policy and principles of fairness, i decided we would not make a determination as to whether the president committed a crime. there was a hard decision then and remains hard decision today. it is unusual for a prosecutor to testify about a criminal investigation. given micro as a prosecutor, there are reasons why my testimony will be limited. first, public testimony could affect several ongoing matters. some of these matters are judicial orders, limited disclosure of information to protect the fairness of the proceedings. consistent with long-standing justice department policy, it would be inappropriate for me to, in any way that could affect an ongoing matter.
6:53 pm
the justice department has privileges concerning investigative decisions. ongoing matters within the justice department and deliberations within our office. these are justice department privileges that i will respect. the permit released a letter discussing restrictions on my testimony. i will not be able to answer questions about certain areas that i know are of public interest. i'm unable to address questions about the opening of the fbi's russia investigation which occurred months before my appointment. mark matters related to the dossier, these are subject of ongoing review by the departme department, any questions on these topics will be directed to the fbi or justice department.
6:54 pm
as i explained when we closed, special counsel office in may, our report contains our findings and analysis and reasons for the decisions we made. we conducted an extensive investigation over two years. we stated the results of our investigation with precision. we scrutinized every word. to describe our work in a different way in the course of my testimony today. as i said may 29, the report is my testimony and i will stay within that text. as i stated, i will not comment on the actions of the attorney general of congress. who is appointed as prosecutor. i intend to adhere to the and the standards. we joined today by special
6:55 pm
counsel erin, he has extensive experience for present federal articular. he was responsible for the day today oversight on the investigations by our office. i also want to say thank you to the attorneys, fbi agents, analysts, professional staff who helped us conduct this in a fair and independent matter. these individuals who spent nearly two years working on this matter were of the highest integrity. over the course of my career, i've seen a number of challenges to our democracy. the russian governments effort to interfere in our election is among the most serious.
6:56 pm
as i said may 29, this deserves attention of every american. thank you. >> will now proceed under the five-minute role of questions. i begin by recognizing myself for five minutes. the president peter the claimed that your report found there was no obstruction and it completely and totally and exonerated him. but that is not what your report said, is it? >> correct, that's not what that. >> you wrote, if we had confidence after a thorough investigation, the president clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would see that. based on facts and standards, we are unable to reach that
6:57 pm
judgment. does that say there was no obstruction? >> no. >> you are unable to conclude the president did not commit obstruction of justice. >> we determined that we needed to go forward only after taking into account always indicated the president, sitting president cannot be indicted. >> the report did not include that he does not commit instruction of justice. >> correct. >> did you totally exonerate the president? >> no. >> your report says it is not exonerate him. >> it does. >> they found multiple acts by the president that were capable of undue including the russian
6:58 pm
interference. >> correct. >> can you explain plain terms with that binding means to the american people? >> it indicates that the president was not exculpated for the x axis he allegedly committed. >> you were talking about incidents, his official power outside of useful channels to exert undue influence over your
6:59 pm
report. >> correct. >> you wrote, the president became aware that his own conduct was being investigated in an instruction of justice inquiry. at that time, president engaged in a second phase of conduct involving public execs on the investigation, nonpublic efforts to control and both public and private to encourage witnesses not to cooperate with the investigation. trumps efforts to exert undue influence over the investigation intensified after the president became aware he personally was being investigated. >> i stick with that language you have in front of you. page seven, volume two. >> the president committed crime of obstruction, you could not publicly state that today. is it correct that you few concluded that the president committed a crime of obstruction, you could not publicly state that in your report or here today. >> you would not indict because
7:00 pm
sitting president cannot be indicted, unconstitutional. >> you cannot state that. >> with some guide, yes. >> ... i would have to look at it but i am not certain that was the case. >> to the present refused to request to be interviewed by you and your team? >> yes. >> is a tree tried for more than year to secure the interview with the president? >> yes. >> is a tree you and your team advise the president for that quote - an interview with the president is vital to our investigation?
7:01 pm
>> yes. >> is it true that you also quote - stated that it is in the interest of the presidency and the public for an interview to take place? >> yes. >> but the president still refused to sit for an interview by you or your team. true or false? >> true.>> did you ask them to provide written answers to answers on the 10 possible episodes of obstruction of justice crimes involving him? >> yes. >> city provide answers to when he engage in obstruction of justice crimes? >> i would have to check on that i'm not certain. >> we are happy you're here to explain the investigation findings. i believe anyone else would engage in the conduct described in your report would have been criminally prosecuted. your work is vitally important to the committee and the american people because no one is above the law.i now recognize the gentleman from georgia, mr. collins. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
7:02 pm
we are reiterating the five minute rule mr. mueller had questions minute you just answered will be questioned the moment but i want to lay some foundation. we'll go through this fairly quickly. i will talk slowly. i am sad that i talk fast. >> thank you, sir. question your press coverage is a testimony from your office would not go beyond our report. we chose his words carefully work speaksfor itself out not provide information beyond that . you stand by that statement? >> yes, sir. >> in a special counsels office of 2019 have you convicted any additional interviews or new information? >> in the wake of the reports? >> since the closing in may 2019. >> the question was? >> have you conducted new interviews or new witnesses? >> no. >> and you can confirm your no longer special counsel. >> i am no longer special counsel. >> at any what was your investigation curtailed,
7:03 pm
stopped or hindered? >> no. >> would you or your team provided questions ahead of the hearing today? >> no. >> your report states your investigative team included 19 lawyers and 40 agents in the numbers accurate? >> can you repeat that please? >> 40 fbi agents, 19 lawyers, intelligence analyst and forensic accountants. are those numbers accurate? >> generally, yes. >> is also tree issue 2000 subpoenas, execute a 500 search warrants and obtain where the 230 orders for communication records and 50 pen registers? >> that went a little fast for me. >> in your report, you did a lot of work. correct? >> yes, that i agree. >> a lot of subpoenas. >> yes. >> will walk it really slow if we need to. >> a lot of search warrants. >> you are very thorough. in your opinion very thorough. you list that in your report. yes? >> yes. >> thank you.
7:04 pm
is it true evidence gathered during your investigation, given the question you just answered, is it to the evidence gathered in your investigation did not establish that the president was involved in the underlying crime and russian interference as stated in volume 1 page 7? >> and we found insufficient evidence of the president culpability. >> that would be yes? >> pardon? >> that would be a yes. >> yes. >> thank you. is it true that that establish a president or those close and were not involved in a computer hacking or active measure of conspiracies or the president otherwise had unlawful relationships with any russian officials? volume 2 page 72. >> i will leave that to the report. >> that is a yes. is it true you do not establish that members of the trump campaign conspired were -- volume 1 page 2, volume 1 page 173. >> yes. >> thank you. although your report states collisions not specific offense you said that this morning.
7:05 pm
or a term of federal laws conspiracy is and the colloquial context collusion and conspiracy is essentially synonymous terms? >> you would have to repeat that for me. >> collusion is not a specific offense. or a term msof art in the feder criminal law. conspiracy is. >> yes. question the colloquial context, no public context. collusion and conspiracy are essentially synonymous terms. correct? >> no. >> if no on page 180 volume 1 of the report you wrote, as defined in legal dictionaries, collusion is largely synonymous with conspiracy. if the crime is set forth in the general conspiracy statute 18 371. you said on your matron and press conference and here today, you choose your words carefully. are you sitting here today testifying something different than what your report states? >> well what i'm asking is, if you given citation i can look
7:06 pm
at orthe citation and evaluate whether it is. >> let me clarify. you stated in the report, i just gave your report back to you. you said collusion and conspiracy were not synonymous terms. that was your answer was no. >> that is correct. >> in that page 80 and volume 1 of the report, it says, as defined in legal dictionaries, collusion is largely synonymous with conspiracy as the crime is set forth in general conspiracy statute 18 usc 371. he said you chose your words carefully. are you contradicting your report right now? >> not when i read it. >> you change your answer to yes then? >> no -- if you look at the language, -- >> i'm reading your report is a yes or no answer. >> page 180? >> page 180 volume 1. this is from your report. >> correct. and i will leave with the report. >> the report says yes they are
7:07 pm
synonymous. finally out of your own report we can hopefully put to bed the collusion and conspiracy. did you look into any other countries, where the other countries investigated? or found knowledge i had interference in the elections? >> i will not discuss other matters. >> i yelledback. >> we will mostly talk about obstruction of justice today. but the investigation of russia 's attack starting your investigation is why evidence of possible obstruction is serious, to what extent did the russian government interfere in the 2016 presidential election? >> can you repeat that man? >> to what extent did the russian government interfere in the 2016 presidential election?
7:08 pm
>> particularly when it came to computer crimes and the like. the government was implicated. >> you wrote in volume 1 that the russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election and sweeping and systematic fashion. he also described in your report that the then trump campaign chairman, paul manafort, shared with a russian operative, that campaign strategy, the winning democratic votes and midwestern states. an internal polling data of the campaign. it is not correct? >> correct. >> they also discussed the status of the trump campaign and paul manafort's strategy for winning democratic votes and midwestern states. months before the meeting paul manafort caused internal data to be shared with -- and the sharing continue for some period of time after the august meeting. it is not correct? >> accurate. >> infect tervis get found manafort briefed him on the state of the trump campaign and monafats manafort 's -- also include discussion of
7:09 pm
battleground states which paul manafort identified as michigan, wisconsin, pennsylvania and minnesota. is that correct? >> correct. >> did they determine who requested the data to be shared with kilimnik? >> i would direct you to the report. that is what we have in the report. regarding to that particular nuclear issue. >> we do not have the redacted version which is maybe another reason we should get there for volume 1. based on your investigation, had to the russian government have used this campaign polling data to further the sweeping and systematic interference and a 2016 election. >> is a little bit out of the path. >> fair enough. did your investigation find that the russian government proceeds it would benefit from one of candidates winning? >> yes. >> what candidate would that be? >> well, it would be trump.
7:10 pm
>> correct. >> president. >> the trump campaign was not exactly reluctant to take russian help. you wrote, expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through russian efforts. it is not correct? >> that is correct. >> was the investigations determination, what was the investigations determination regarding the frequency with which the trump campaign made h contact with the russian government? >> i would have to refer you to the report on that. >> we went to that and we counted 126 contacts between russians or their agents and the tatrump campaign officials associates. would that sound about right? >> i cannot say, i understand the statistic and believe it. i understand the statistic.
7:11 pm
>> mr. mueller, i appreciate you being here and a report. from your testimony, and report, i think the american people have learned several things. first, the russians wanted trump to win. second, the russians went on a sweeping cyber influence campaign. the russians hacked the dnc and got the game plan for the election. the russian campaign chairman, met with russian agents and repeatedly gave them internal data, polling and messaging in the battleground states. rowhile the russians were buyin ads and creating propaganda, the influence for the outcome of the election, they were armed with inside information that they had stolen their hacking from the dnc and that they had been given by the trump campaign chairman, mr. paul manafort. my colleagues will probably efforts undertaken to keep the information from becoming public but i think it is
7:12 pm
important for the american people to understand the gravity ,of the underlying problem. that your report uncovered. and with that mr. chairman, i would yield back. >> the gentle lady -- >> good morning, directed. if you let me quickly summarize your opening statement this s morning. he said in volume 1 on the issue of conspiracy special counsel determine the investigation did not establish that members of the trump campaign conspired were coordinated with the russian government. in the election interference activities and in volume 2 reasons that you explain a special counsel did not make a determination on whether there was obstruction of justice crime committed by the president. is that fair? >> yes, sir. >> in explaining that special counsel did not make what you called a decision report on the bottom of page 2 of volume 2, reads as follows. the evidence we obtained about the presidents actions and
7:13 pm
intent presents difficult issues that prevent us from conclusively determining that no criminal conduct occurred. accordingly, the report does not conclude the president do committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him. i read that correctly? >> yes. >> your report, and today said all times a special counsel team operating under was guided by and follow justice department policies and principles. which doj policy or principle sets forth a legal standard that investigated person isnot exonerated if they are innocent from criminal conduct , if it is not conclusively determined? >> can report the last part of the question? >> you, which doj policy or principal set for the legal l standard that investigated person is not exonerated if they are innocent from criminal conduct is not conclusively determined.where does the language come from, director? where's the doj policy that says that? let me make it easier.
7:14 pm
is there -- >> go ahead. >> can you giveme an example of trump with adjuster -- with a justice department did this with another person? >> i cannot but this is unique. >> time is short ai have five minutes let's leave it at that. i will tell you why, it does not exist. special counsel job, nowhere does it say you are to conclusively determine donald trump innocence when the special counsel report should determine whether or not to exonerate is not in t any of the documents, it is not your appointment order, not in the special counsel regulations, not in the opinions, not in the justice manual and is on the principles of federal prosecution.he new age those words appear together because respectfully, tirespectfully, director, it wa not the special counsel job to
7:15 pm
conclusively determine donald trump's innocence or two to exonerate him because a bedrock principle of our justice system is a presumption of innocence. exist for everyone. everyone is entitled to it. including sitting presidents. and because there is a presumption of innocence, prosecutors never ever need to conclusively determine it. thereafter, the special counsel applied this inverted burden of proof that i cannot find and you said does not exist anywhere in the department policies. and use it to write a report. the very first line of your report, the very first line of your report says, as you read this morning it authorizes the special counsel to provide the attorney general for the confidential report explaining n the prosecution or declination decisions reached by the special counsel, it's a very first word of your report, right? >> correct. >> here's the problem, director. the special counsel didn't do that. on volume 1 you did. on volume 2, with respect to potential obstruction of justice, the special counsel made neither prosecution
7:16 pm
decision or a declination decision. you made no decision. he told us this morning and in your report that you may know determination so respectfully director, he did not follow the special counsel regulations. it clearly says, write a confidential report about decisions reached.nowhere in here does it say write a report about decisions that weren't reached. your 180 pages. 180 pages about decisions that were not reached about potential crimes that were not charged. were decided in respectfully, respectfully by doing that, he managed to violate every principle and the most sacred of traditions about prosecutors not offering extra prosecutorial analysis about kpotential crimes that aren't charged. so americans need to know this as they listen to the democrats and socialists on the other er side of the aisle as they do dramatic readings from this report. volume 2 of this report was not authorized. under the law appeared to be
7:17 pm
written. it was written to a legal standard that does not onexist the justice department. it was written in violation of every doj principal about extra prosecutorial commentary. i agree with the chairman this morning is a donald trump is not above the law. he is not. but he damn sure should not be below the law which is where dnvolume 2 of the report puts him. [inaudible] hi>> thank you, mr. chairman. director mueller, good morning. inyour exchange with the gentle lady from california demonstrates what is at stake. the trump campaign chair, paul manafort was casting sensitive order information and pulling data to a russian operative. there were so many other ways in russia subverted our democracy. together with the evidence in volume 1, i cannot think of a more serious need to investigate. now i will ask you some questions about obstruction of justice as it relates to volum 2. state we determined that there
7:18 pm
were sufficient factual and legal basis to further investigate potential obstruction of justice issues involving the president. is that ecorrect? >> do you have a citation ma'am? >> page 12 of volume 2. >> and what portion of the page? >> we determined there was a sufficient factual and legal basis to further investigate potential obstruction of justice issues involving the president. is that correct? >> yes. quickly up report also describes 10 separate instances of possible obstruction of justice that were investigated by you and your team. is that correct? >> yes. >> affect the table of contents serves as a very good guide of some of the acts of the obstruction of justice that you investigated. and i put it up on the screen on page 157 of volume 2 you described those acts and they range from the president's effort tocurtail the special
7:19 pm
counsel investigation , the president's further efforts to have the attorney general take over the investigation. the president's orders don mcgahn to deny that the ne president tried to fire the special counsel and many others. is that correct?rd >> yes. >> i direct you now to what you wrote director mueller. the president's pattern of conduct as a whole sheds light on the nature of the president's acts and the instances that can be drawn about his content. does that mean that you have to investigate all of the conduct to ascertain true motives? >> no. >> meet a the president's pattern of conduct, that includes a possible act of obstruction that you investigated, is that correct? we took a the president's pattern of conduct that would include the 10 possible act of obstruction that you investigated, correct? >> are directed to the report for how that is characterized. >> thank you. let me go to the screen again. for each of those 10 potential
7:20 pm
instances of obstruction, of justice, you analyze three en elements of the crime of obstruction and justice. obstructive act, a nexus between act and official proceedings and corrupt intents. is that correct? >> yes. chris stewart on page 178 volume 2 about corrupt intents. actions by the president to end a criminal investigation into his own conduct to protect against personal embarrassment for legal liability would constitute a core example of corruptly motivated conduct. is that correct? >> yes. >> to the screen again. even with the evidence you did fine, is it true as you note on page 76 of volume 2 that the evidence does indicate a thorough fbi investigation would uncover facts about the campaign and the president personally that the president could have understood to be crimes that would give rise to legal personal and political concerns? >> i rely on the language of the report. >> is it relevant to potential obstruction of justice?
7:21 pm
is it relative to potential obstruction of justice? >> yes. chris you further elaborate on page 157. obstruction of justice can be motivated to protect -- or to avoid personal embarrassment. is that correct? >> i have on the screen -- can you repeat the question? now that i have the language on the screen. >> is it correct? as you further elaborate, obstruction of justice can be motivated by direct desire to protect noncriminal personal tr interest. to protect against investigations where underlying criminal liability falls into a gray area. >> yes. >> is it true that the impact -- pardon? >> can you read the last question? >> last question was -- it was asking you if that is correct.
7:22 pm
>> yes. >> okay. does a conviction of obstruction of justice results potentially in a lot of years of time? in jail? >> yes. well again, can you repeat the question just to make sure i have it accurate? n,>> does obstruction of justic weren't a lot of time in jail? if you are convicted? >> yes. >> time for the gentle lady has expired. >> thank you, very much, mr. chairman. let me begin by reading the special counsel regulations by which you were appointed. it reads quote - if the conclusion of the special counsel work, he or she shall provide the attorney general with a confidential report explaining the prosecution or
7:23 pm
hadeclination decisions reached by the special counsel. is that correct? >> yes. >> okay. when a regulation uses the word, shall provide, does it mean that the individual is in fact obligated to provide what is being demanded by the regulation of statute? mean you don't have any wiggle room. right? >> out how to look more closely at the statute. >> i just read it to you. okay. now, volume 2, report boldly states we determined not to make a traditional prosecutorial judgment. is that correct? >> i'm trying to find that citation. congressman. >> director, can you speak more directly into the microphone, please? >> yes. >> volume 2 page -- >> i'm sorry. >> volume 2 page 1 says we determined not to make a traditional prosecutorial judgment. >> yes. >> right at the beginning.
7:24 pm
since you decided under the olc opinion that you cannot prosecute a sitting president. meeting president trump, why do have all of this investigation of president trump that the other side is talking about when you knew that you were not going to prosecute him? >> well, i do not know where the investigation will lie and olc opinion itself so you can continue the investigation even though you're not going to indict the president. >> okay. well, if you're not going to indict the president then you discontinue fishing. and you know that is my observation. my time is limited, i'm sure that you can indict other people that you cannot indict the sitting president. right? >> that is true.>> okay. there are 182 pages and raw evidentiary material including hundreds of references to 300 to watch interviews by the fbi. for individual never erbeen
7:25 pm
cross-examined that did not compose special counsel governing regulation to explain the prosecution or declination decisions reached. rcorrect? >> where are you reading from on that? >> i'm waiting for my question. [laughter] >> could you repeat it? >> okay.182 pages of raw evidentiary material, hundreds of references to 302 that have never been cross-examined in which did not comply with governing regulation to explain the ninprosecution declination decisions reached. >> this one of those areas which i declined to discuss. >> okay then -- >> i would direct you to the report itself. >> okay, i looked at the 182 pages of it. let me switch gears. we were on the committee during the clinton impeachment.while i recognize that the independent counsel statute
7:26 pm
under which kenneth starr operated is different from the special counsel statute, he and a number of occasions in his report, stated that the president clinton actions may have risen to impeachable conduct. recognizing that it is up to the house of representatives to determine what conduct is impeachable. you never used the term, raising to impeachable conduct for any of the 10 instances that the gentleman from texas did. is it true that there is nothing in volume 2 of report that says that the president may have engaged in impeachable conduct? >> well, epwe have -- studiousl kept in the center of our
7:27 pm
investigation, our mandate. and our mandate does not go to other ways of addressing oconduct. our mandate goes to developing the report and -- >> it seems to me that there are a couple of statements that you made you know that said that this is not for me to decide and the implication is that this is for the committee to decide. now, you did use the word impeachable conduct like started. there was no statute to prevent you from using the word impeachable conduct. and i go back to what mr. radcliffe said. that heis that even the preside is innocent until proven guilty. my time is up. >> the chalmers time is expired. the german from tennessee. >> thank you, mr. chair.first i would just like to restate that mr. nadler said about your career, it is a model of rectitude and i thank you. based upon your investigation, how did president trump react
7:28 pm
to your appointment as special counsel? >> i will send her the part where that is stated. >> is a quote - from page 78 from your report, volume 2 which reads, when sessions told the president that a special counsel had been appointed, the president slumped back in his chair and said, quote - my god, this is terrible, this is the end of my presidency. i am f'd. did the attorney general tell you about that little talk? please speak into the microphone. >> apologies. i am not certain of the person who originally copied that quote. >> sessions apparently said it in one of his aides had in his notes too which i think you had
7:29 pm
but he was not pleased. he probably was not pleased with special counsel and particularly you because of your outstanding reputation. >> correct.chris prior to permit the attorney general recuse himself because of his role in the 2016 campaign. is that not correct? >> correct. >> because the music could not be involved in this investigation, is that correct? >> yes proquest instead as you know, mr. rosenstein became in charge. is that correct? >> yes. >> wasn't attorney begeneral sessions following the rules and professional advice of the department of justice ethics folks when he recuse himself from the investigation? >> yes. >> at the president repeatedly expressed his displeasure at sessions decision to follow the rules to recuse himself from oversight in the einvestigation. is that not correct? >> it is accurate based on what is written in the report. >> the president's reaction to the recusal as noted in the report, mr. bannon recall that the president was mad, mad as he'd ever seen him and he screamed at mcgann about how
7:30 pm
weak sessions was. do you recall that? >> it is in the report, yes proquest despite knowing that the attorney general sessions were not supposed be involved in the investigation the pp president still trying to get the attorney general to recuse himself after your appointed special counsel. is that correct? >> yes. >> in fact investigation found at some point after appointment, quote - the present call sessions at his home and asked if he would on recuse himself. is that not true? >> it is true. >> it was not the first time the president asked sessions to un-recuse himself. -- he suggested he should do this un- recusal act. correct? >> correct. >> there were michael flynn if you days after he entered a guilty plea for lying to federal agents, and indicate
7:31 pm
intent to cooperate with the investigation, trump ssb decisions alone again in oval office and again asked him to un- recuse himself. true? >> refer to the report for the peer. >> page 109 volume 2. thank you, sir. do you know of any point when the precedent personally expressed -- >> have to pass on that progress on page 78 of volume 2, the presidential sessions you were supposed to protect me. you were supposed to protect me. or words to that effect. >> correct. >> as the attorney general, is he supposed be the attorney general of the united states of america? or the consiglio re: for the president? >> united states of america. >> thank you, sir. in fact he wrote the report that their president repeatedly looked for sessions to un- recuse himself. is that correct? >> rely on the report. >> how could he have restricted the scope of your investigation?
7:32 pm
>> i'm not going to speculate. quite obviously if he took over as attorney general he would have greater latitude in his actions and it would enable him to do thingsthat otherwise he c not. >> on page 113 use of the present believed in on recuse attorney general play protective general and conceal could shield the president. i want to thank you for your service to the country. it is clear from the report and the evidence of the present want to the former attorney general sessions to dilate the ethics rules by taking over your investigation and improperly interfering with it to protect himself and his campaign. your phone is also important because in america, nobody is above the law.w. i yield back. >> thank you. gthe gentleman from ohio. >> thank you. director mueller, my democratic colleagueswere very disappointed in your report . there expect you to say something along the lines of thhere's why president trump
7:33 pm
deserves to be impeached. much as ken starr did with president clinton about 20 years ago. you did their strategy had to change. now they allege that there is plenty of evidence in your report to impeach the president but the american people just did not read it. and this hearing today, is the last best hope to build up some sort of ground swell across america to impeach president trump.that's what this is really all about today. a few questions. on page 103 of volume 2 of your report, when discussing the june 2016 trump tower meeting, you reference quote - the firm that produced the steele reporting, the name of that firm is effusion gps. is that correct? >> 103? >> quickly to talk about the firm that reduced the steele
7:34 pm
that effusion gps, is that correct? >> i'm not familiar with that. >> let me -- it is not a trick question. effusion gps. effusion gps produced the opposition research document widely known as the steele dossier. and the owner of effusion gps was someone named glenn simpson. are you familiar with? >> this is outside my purview. >> okay. glenn simpson was never mentioned in the 448 page mueller report.was he? >> as i say it is outside my purview and is being handled in the department by others. >> okay, he was not. 448 pages. the owner effusion gps, that did the steele dossier, that started all of this, he is not mentioned in there. let me move on. at the same time, effusion gps
7:35 pm
was working to collect opposition research on donald trump from foreign sources, on behalf of the clinton campaign, and the democratic national committee, it also was representing a russian based company which had been sanctioned by the u.s. government. are you aware of that? >> is outside my purview. >> thank you. one of the key players, i will go to something different. one of the key players in the june 2016 trump tower meeting was natalia veselnitskaya who you described in your report as a russian attorney who advocated for the repeal of the -- natalia veselnitskaya had been working with none other than glenn simpson and effusion gps since at least early 2014. are you aware of that? >> outside my purview. >> thank you. but you did not mention that or her connections to glenn simpson at effusion gps in your report at all.
7:36 pm
let me move on. nbc news has reported the following. quote russian lawyer, natalia veselnitskaya says she first received the supposedly incriminating information she brought to trump tower describing alleged tax evasion and donation to democrats for not more than glenn simpson. the effusion gps owner. you did not include that in the report. i assume -- >> it is a matter being handled by others at the department of justice. >> thank you. your report spends 14 pages discussing the june 9 2016 trump tower meeting. it would be fair to say, would it not, that you spent significant resources investigating that meeting? >> i refer you to the report. >> okay and president trump was not at the meeting. >> no. >> in stark contrast to the actions of the trump campaign, we know that the clinton
7:37 pm
campaign did page effusion gps to gather dirt on the trump campaign from persons associated with foreign but your report does not mention anything about effusion gps in it and you did not investigate effusion gps's connections to trump let me ask you this. can you see that trump neglecting to mention glenn simpson and effusion gps involvement with the clinton campaign, focusing on a brief meeting of the trump tower that produced nothing, to ignoring the clinton campaign's own ties to effusion gps beware some view the report is a pretty one-sided attack on the president? >> i tell you, it is still outside my purview. >> all right. and i would just note finally that i guess just by chance, coincidence that the things left out of the report to be favorable to the president. my time has expired. >> thank you, director mueller,
7:38 pm
i would like to get us back on track here. your investigation found that president trump directed white house counsel, don mcgahn, to fire not correct? >> true. >> in the president claimed he wanted to fire you because you had supposed conflict of interest. is that correct? >> true. >> he had no conflict of interest that required your removal. isn't that a fact? >> correct. >> in fact, don mcgahn advised the president that the asserted conflicts were ntin his words, silly and not real conflicts. isn't that true? >> i refer to the report on that episode. >> well, page 85 of volume 2 speaks to that. also, director mueller, doj ethics officials confirmed that you had no conflicts that would prevent you from serving as special counsel. is not correct? >> correct. >> despite don mcgahn and
7:39 pm
department of justice guidance, run may 23 2017 the e president quote - prodded mcgahn to complain to deputy attorney general rosenstein about these supposed conflict t of interest. correct? >> correct. >> and mcgahn declined to call rod rosenstein telling the president that it would look like still trying to meddle in the investigation and knocking out mueller would be another fact used to claim obstruction of justice. it is not correct? >> generally so, yes. mueller, white house counsel told the president that if you try to remove you, that it could be another basis to allege that the president was obstructing justice. correct? >> is generally correct, yes. >> now i would like to review what happened after the president was warned about
7:40 pm
obstructing justice. on tuesday -- >> i'm sorry. do you have a citation for that? >> yes. volume 2 page 81. and 82. >> thank you. >> are like to review what happen after the president was warned about obstructing justice. it is true on tuesday, june 13, 2017 the president dictated a press statement stating he had quote - no intention of firing you. correct? >> correct. >> but the following day, june 14 the media reported for the first time, that you were investigating the president for obstructing justice. correct? >> correct. ic>> and then after one for the first time that he was under investigation, the very next day, the president quote - issued a series of tweets acknowledging the existence of
7:41 pm
the obstruction investigation and criticizing it. is that correct? >> generally so. >> and then on saturday, june 17, two days later, the president called don mcgahn at home from camp david on a saturday to talk about you. is that correct? >> correct. >> what was a significant -- what was significant about that first weekend phone call that don mcgahn took from president trump? >> all ask you to rely on what we wrote about this. >> you wrote in your report that tepage 85, volume 2, on saturday, june 17, 2017, the president called mcgahn at home to have the special counsel removed. now, did the president call don mcgahn more than once that day? >> well, -- quickly thing was to calls. -- two calls. on page 85 of your report you
7:42 pm
wrote quote - on the first call, mcgahn recall that the president said something like quote - you gotta do this. you gotta call rod. correct? >> correct your question investigation and report found that don mcgahn was perturbed to use your words, by the presidents request to call rod rosenstein to fire him. is not correct? >> well, there was a continuous -- there was a continuous involvement of don mcgahn. he responded to the presidents -- himself in the middle of that. he did not want to have ta rol in asking the attorney general to fire the special counsel. correct? >> again, i would refer you to the report and the way it is characterized in the report.
7:43 pm
>> thank you. volume 2 page 85, it states that he did not want to have the attorney general, he did not want to have a role in trying to fire the attorney general. so at this point, i would yield back. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. mueller, first let me ask you, unanimous consent, mmr. chairman, to submit this article, robert mueller unmasked for the record. >> without objection. >> mr. mueller, who wrote the nine minute comments you read at your may 29 press conference? -- a 2013 piece in the washingtonian about james comey says basically when he calls you drop everything you are doing and give examples, you having dinner with your wife and daughter, james comey calls you drop everything and go. the article quoted that he said
7:44 pm
if train will commit on the truck cordless bob mueller will be standing on the tracks with me. you and james comey had been good friends. for many years. correct? >> were e business associates. we both started off in the justice department -- >> you a good friends. you can work together and not be friends but your friends. >> we were friends. >> that is my question thank you for getting to the answer. before you appointed as specia counsel, had you talked to james comey in the preceding six months? >> no. >> when you were appointed as special counsel, was president trump's firing of comey something anticipated investigating potential obstruction of justice? >> i cannot get into that. there is internal deliberations in the justice department. >> actually goes to credibility and maybe have been away from the courtroom a while. credibility is always relevant it is material and it goes for you. you are a witness before us. let me ask you, we talked to president trump the day before
7:45 pm
he appointed you where you were appointed as special counsel, you were talking to him about fbi director position again. did he mention the firing of james comey? >> i did not as a candidate. >> did he mention the firing of james comey in your discussion with him? >> i don't remember. >> pardon? >> i cannot remember. i do not believe so. >> you don't remember. but if you did you could have been a fact witness as to the presidents comments and state of mind on firing james comey. >> i suppose that is possible. >> yeah. so, most prosecutors want to make sure there was no impropriety. but in your case, you hired a bunch of people that did not like the president. let me ask you, when did you first load of peter strzok's animus toward donald trump? d>> in the summer of 2017. >> he did not know before he
7:46 pm
was hired? >> i am sorry? >> you did not know before he was hired for your team? >> know what? >> peter strzok hated trump. you did not know that before he was made part of your team? >> i did not know that. >> all right. when did you first learn -- >> what i did find out i acted swiftly to have him reassigned elsewhere. >> there is some discretion about how swift that was. when did you learn of the ongoing affair he was having with lisa paige? >> about the same time i learned about peter strzok. >> did you ever order anybody to investigate the deletion of all of their texts off of the government phones? >> once we found that peter strzok was author of -- >> you're not answer my question. did you order an investigation
7:47 pm
into deletion and reformatting of their government phones? >> no, there was a ig investigating ongoing. >> regarding collusion or conspiracy, he did not find evidence of any agreement. i'm according you. among the trump campaign officials and any russia link individuals to interfere with our u.s. election. correct?>> right. >> you also note in the report that an element of any of those obstructions you referenced, requires a corrupt state of mind. correct? >> corrupt, yes. >> 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 them and then they special counsel appointed who hires a dozen or more people
7:48 pm
then hate that person and he knows that he is innocent. he's not corruptly acting in order to see that justice is done. what he is doing is not obstructing justice. he is pursuing justice and the fact that you ran out two years means you -- perpetuated injustice. i yield back. >> time is expired you may answer the question. >> the gentleman from florida. >> director mueller, i would like to get back to your findings covering june 2017. there was a bombshell article that reported that the president of the united states was personally under investigation for obstruction of justice. you said in your report on page 90, volume 2 and i quote - news of the obstruction investigation prompted the president to calm again and seeks to have special counsel
7:49 pm
removed. then in your report you wrote about multiple calls from the president to the white house counsel, don mcgahn. regarding the second call, you wrote and i quote - mcgahn recall that the president was more direct saying something g like, call rod, tell rod mueller has conflict pretty cannot be special counsel. mcgahn recall the president telling him, mueller has to go. and call me back when you do it. director mueller, did mcgahn understand what the president was ordering him to do? >> i directed to what we had written in the report in terms of characterize -- in the report it says quote - mcgahn understood the president to be saying that the special counsel had to be removed. you also said on page 86 that quote - mcgahn consider the president request to be an inflection point and he wanted to hit the brakes. and he felt trapped and mcgahn he said he had to resign. mcgahn took action to prepare
7:50 pm
to resign. isn't that correct? >> i directed against the report. >> in fact every day he went to the white house and courting e your report you said quote - he then drove to the office to pack his belongings and submit his resignation letter. >> that is directly from the report. >> it is. however, e he resigned he called the presidents chief of staff. reince priebus. he called the presidents senior advisor, steve bannon. do you recall what mcgahn told them? >> whatever was said will appear in the report. >> it is. anna says on page 87 quote - reince priebus recalled that mcgahn said that the president asked him to do crazy expletive. in other words crazy stuff. the white house counsel thought that the presidents request was completely out of bounds. he said the president asked hi to do something crazy. it was wrong.
7:51 pm
and he was prepared to resign over it. now, these are extraordinarily troubling events. but you found a white house counsel, mcgahn to ebe a credible witness, is that correct? >> correct. >> director mueller, the most s, question i have for you today is why? director mueller, why to the president of the united states want you fired? >> i cannot answer that question. >> well, on page 89 in your report, volume 2, you said and i quote - substantial evidence indicates that the presidents attempts to remove the special counsel were linked to the special counsel oversight of
7:52 pm
investigations that involve the presidents conduct and most immediately, two reports of the president was being investigated for potential obstruction of justice. director mueller, you found evidence as you lay out in your report, that the president t wanted to fire you because you were investigating him for obstruction of justice. is that correct? >> that is what it says in the report, yes. i stand by the report. >> director mueller, that shouldn't happen in america. no president should be able to escape investigations by abusing his power. but that is what you testified to in the report. the president ordered you fired. the white house counsel knew it was wrong. the president knew it was wrong. your report says there is all, the president should not have made the calls to mcgahn but he did it anyway. he did it anyway. otanyone else who blatantly
7:53 pm
interfered with a criminal investigation, like yours, would be arrested and indicted on charges of obstruction of justice. director mueller, you determined that you were barred from indicting a sitting president. we have already talked about that today. that is exactly why this committee must hold the president accountable. i yield back. >> gentlemen yields back. >> director mueller, he just said in response to two different lines of questioning that you would refer as it relates to this firing discussion, that i would refer you to the report in the way it was characterized in the report. poorly, the president never said, fire mueller. or in the investigation, and one does not necessitate either.
7:54 pm
mcgahn affected not resign he stuck around for a year and 1/2. on march 24 attorney general william barr it from the committee receive special counsel -- it was not until april 18 the attorney general replaced the report. when you submitted your report to the attorney general, did you deliver a redacted version of the report so that he would be able to release it to congress and the public without delay? pursuant to his announcement of his intention to do so during his confirmation hearing. >> all not engage in discussion of what happened after the report pair. >> had he asked you to write a redacted version of the report? >> we worked on redacted versions together. >> the ascii favors with a grand jury material separated? >> not going to get into details. >> is it your belief that an unredacted version of the report could be released to congress or the public? >> that is not in my purview.
7:55 pm
[audio lost] >> what did you not take a similar action so congress could see the material? >> we had a process that we were operating on with the attorney general's office. >> are you aware of any attorney general going to court to receive similar permission to unredacted material? >> i'm not aware of that being done. >> the attorney general released the special counsel report with minimal reductions to the public and even less a redacted version to congress. did you write the report with the expectation that it would be released publicly? >> no, we do not have an expectation. we wrote the report understanding that it was demanded by the statute and would go to the attorney general for further review. >> and pursuant to the special
7:56 pm
counsel regulations, who was the only party that must receive the charging decision resulting from the special counsel investigation? >> with regard to the president? or generally? >> generally. >> the attorney general. >> attorney general bar and confirmation hearings he said he made it clear to release your report to the public to know how much had been at that point? >> no pair. >> were the significant changes in tone or substance of the report made after the announcement that the report was going to be released to the public? >> kamala harris asked william barr if he look at all of the underlying evidence that was gathered he stated he had not. i will ask you, did you personally review all the underlying evidence gathered in your investigation? >> except that came to the special councils office, yes. >> did any single member of your team review all the underlying evidence gathered during the course --
7:57 pm
>> it has been reset hits a substantial amount of work was warrants or -- >> my point is, there is no one member of the team that looked at everything. >> that is what i'm trying to get at. >> it is fair to say investigation as comprehensive as yours, is normal at different members of the team would have different sets of documents and feel, if anyone, would have reviewed all underlying.>> yes. >> a proximally 500 interviews, how many did you attend personally? >> very few. >> on march 27, 2019 your letter to the attorney general essentially complaining about the media coverage of your report. you wrote and i quote - the letter the department sent to congress and released to the public late march report did
7:58 pm
not fully capture the context, nature and substance of this office work and conclusions but we communicated that concern to the department on the morning of march 23. there is no public confusion of critical aspects of the results of the investigation. who wrote that march 27 letter? >> i cannot get into who wrote it. the internal deliberation. -- you signed it? >> i will say the letter stands for itself. >> why did write a formal letter since you were to call the attorney general to express concern? >> i cannot get into that come internal to the braces. >> did you authorize the release of the letter to the media or was it leaked? >> i have no knowledge on it appear. >> he went nearly 2 years without a leak. why was this letter leaked? >> i -- well, i cannot get into it. >> was the letter written and leaked for the express purpose to change the narrative about the conclusions of the report? and was anything in the attorney general's letter referred to as principal conclusions -- >> the time of the gentle lady has expired. >> can he answer the question please?
7:59 pm
>> you may answer the question. >> was anything in the attorney generals letter referred to as a principal conclusions letter dated march 24 in accurate? >> i'm not going to get into that. >> the time of the gentle lady has expired. gentle lady from california. >> thank you, mr. chair. mr. mueller, we are focusing on five obstruction episodes today. i would like to ask about the second of the five obstruction episodes. in a section of report beginning on page 113 of volume 2, entitled quote - the president orders mcgahn to deny the president tried to fire special counsel. on january 25, 2018 the new york times reported that quote - the president had ordered mcgahn to the department of justice fire you. is that correct? >> correct. >> that story related to the abevents you already testified about today. the president's calls to mcgahn to have you removed, correct? >> correct. >> after the news broke to the present going to be and deny the story? >> i do not know. >> in fact, the president said
8:00 pm
quote - fake news folks, fake news. a typical new york times fake story. correct? >> correct. ... president to fire you. correct? >> yes. >> did the president's personal lawyer do something the following day in responses to that news report? >> i would refer you to the coverage of this in the report. >> on page 114, quote, on january 26th, 2018, the president's personal c to put out a statement denying that he had been asked to fire the special counsel, end quote. did he do what the president asked? >> i refer you to the report. >> communicating through his personal attorney, mccann refused because he said quote, that the "times" story was accurate in reporting that the president wanted the special counsel removed. isn't that right? >> i believe it is, but i refer
8:01 pm
you again to the report. >> okay. so through his personal attorney, he told the president that he was not going to lie. is that right? >> true. >> did the president drop the issue? >> i refer to the write-up of this in the report. >> okay. next, the president told the white house staff secretary, rob porter, to try to pressure mccann to make a false denial. is that correct? >> that's correct. >> what did he actually direct porter to do? >> i would send you back to the report. >> okay. well, on page 113, it says quote, the president then directed porter to tell mcgahn to create a record to make it clear that the president never directed mccann to fire you, end quote. is that correct? >> that is as stated in the report. >> and you found quote, the president said he wanted mcgahn to write a letter to the file for our records, correct? >> correct.
8:02 pm
>> to be clear, the president is asking his white house counsel, don mcgahn, to create a record that mcgahn believes to be untrue while you are in the midst of investigating the president for obstruction of justice, correct? >> generally correct. >> and mr. mcgahn was an important witness in that investigation, wasn't he? >> i would have to say yes. >> did the president tell porter to threaten mcgahn if he didn't create the written denial? >> i refer you to the write-up in the report. >> in fact, didn't the president say quote, this is on page 116, if he doesn't write a letter, then maybe i'll have to get rid of him, end quote. >> yes. >> did porter deliver that threat? >> i again refer you to the discussion that's found on page 115. >> okay. but the president still didn't give up, did he? the president told mcgahn directly to deny that the
8:03 pm
president told him to have you fired. can you tell me exactly what happened? >> i can't, beyond what's in the report. >> well, on page 116, it says the president met him in the oval office, quote, the president began the oval office meeting by telling mcgahn that the "new york times" story didn't look good, and mcgahn needed to correct it. is that correct? >> as it's written in the report, yes. >> the president asked mcgahn whether he would do a correction, and mcgahn said no. correct? >> that's accurate. >> well, mr. mueller, thank you for your investigation uncovering this very disturbing evidence. my friend mr. richmond will have additional questions on the subject. however, it is clear to me if anyone else had ordered a witness to create a false record and cover up acts that are subject to the law enforcement investigation, that person would be facing criminal charges.
8:04 pm
i yield back my time. >> the gentle lady yields back. the gentleman from ohio. >> director, the fbi interviewed joseph mifsud on february 10th, 2017. in that interview, mr. mifsud lied. you point this out on page 193, volume 1. mifsud denied, mifsud also falsely stated. in addition, mifsud omitted. three times he lied to the fbi, yet you didn't charge him with a crime. >> excuse me. i'm sorry, did you say 193? >> volume 1, 193. he lied three times. you point it out in the report. why didn't you charge him with a crime? >> i can't get into internal deliberations with regard to -- >> let's remember this. let's remember this. in 2016, the fbi did something they probably haven't done before. they spied on two american citizens associated with a presidential campaign. george papadopolous and carter page. with carter page they went to
8:05 pm
the fisa court, they used the now famous dossier as part of the reason they were able to get the warrant and spy on carter page for the better part of a year. with mr. papadopolous, they didn't go to the court. they used human sources. all kinds of, from about the moment papadopolous joined the trump campaign you got all these people all around the world starting to swirl around him, names like mifsud, thompson, meeting in rome, london, all kinds of places. the fbi even sent, even sent a lady posing as somebody else, even dispatched her to london to spy on mr. papadopolous. in one of these meetings, mr. papadopolous is talking to a foreign diplomat and he tells the diplomat russians have dirt on clinton. that diplomat then contacts the fbi and the fbi opens an investigation based on that fact. you point this out on page 1 of the report. july 31st, 2016, you open the
8:06 pm
investigation based on that piece of information. diplomat tells papadopolous russians have dirt -- excuse me, papadopolous tells the diplomat russians have dirt on clinton, diplomat tells the fbi. what i'm wondering is who told papadopolous? how did he find out? >> i can't get into the evidentiary -- >> yes, you can, because you wrote about it. you gave us the answer. page 192 of the report, you tell us who told us. joseph mifsud. joseph mifsud's the guy who told papadopolous. the mysterious professor who lives in rome and london, works and teaches at two different universities. this is the guy who told papadopolous, he's the guy who starts it all, and when the fbi interviews him, he lied three times and yet you don't charge him with a crime. you charge rick gates for false statements, you charge paul manafort for false statements, you charge michael cohen for false statements, you charge michael flynn, a three-star general, with false statements but the guy who put the country
8:07 pm
through this whole saga starts it all for three years, we have lived this now, he lied and you guys don't charge him. i'm curious as to why. >> well, i can't get into it, and it's obvious i think that we can't get into charging decisions. >> the fbi interviewed him in february, fbi interviews him in february, when the special counsel's office interviewed mifsud, did he lie to you guys, too? >> can't get into that. >> did you interview mifsud? >> can't get into that. >> is mifsud western intelligence or russian intelligence? >> can't get into that. >> lot of things you can't get into. what's interesting, you can charge 13 russians, no one's ever heard of, no one's ever seen, no one's ever going to hear of them, no one's ever going to see them, you can charge them, you can charge all kinds of people who are around the president with false statements, but the guy who launches everything, the guy who puts this whole story in motion, you can't charge him. i think that's amazing. >> i'm not certain i agree with your characterizations. >> i'm reading from your report.
8:08 pm
mifsud told papadopolous, papadopolous tells the diplomat, the diplomat tells the fbi, the fbi opens the investigation july 31st, 2016 and here we are three years later, july of 2019, the country has been put through this and the central figure who launches it all lies to us and you guys don't hunt him down and interview him again, and you don't charge him with a crime. here's the good news. here's the good news. the president was falsely accused of conspiracy. the fbi does a ten-month investigation and james comey, when we deposed him a year ago, told us at that point they had nothing. you do a 22-month investigation. at the end of that 22 months you find no conspiracy, and what do democrats want to do? they want to keep investigating. they want to keep going. maybe a better course of action, maybe a better course of action is to figure out how the false accusations started. maybe it's to go back and actually figure out why joseph mifsud was lying to the fbi and here's the good news.
8:09 pm
here's the good news. that's exactly what bill barr's doing. thank goodness for that. that's exactly what the attorney general and john durham are doing. they're going to find out why we went through this -- >> time's up. time of the gentleman has expired. in a moment we will take a very brief five-minute break. first, i ask everyone in the room to please remain seated and quiet while the witness exits the room. i also want to announce to those in the audience that you may not be guaranteed your seat if you leave the hearing room at this time. we'll have a short recess.
8:10 pm
[ inaudible conversations ] >> the gentleman from louisiana, mr. richmond. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. mueller, the congresswoman addressed trump's request to mcgahn to fire you. representative bass talked about the president's request of mcgahn to deny the fact that the president made that request. i want to pick up where they left off and i want to pick up with the president's personal lawyer. in fact, there was evidence that
8:11 pm
the president's personal lawyer was alarmed at the prospect of the president meeting with mr. mcgahn to discuss mr. mcgahn's refusal to deny the "new york times" report about the president trying to fire you, correct? >> correct. >> in fact, the president's counsel was so alarmed by the prospect of the president's meeting with mcgahn that he called mr. mcgahn's counsel and said that mcgahn could not resign, no matter what happened in the oval office that day, correct? >> correct. >> so it's accurate to say that the president knew that he was asking mcgahn to deny facts that mcgahn quote, had repeatedly said were accurate, unquote, isn't that right? >> correct. >> your investigation also found, quote, by the time of the oval office meeting with the president, the president was aware, one, that mcgahn did not
8:12 pm
think the story was false, two, did not want to issue a statement or create a written record denying facts that mcgahn believed to be true, the president nevertheless persisted and asked mcgahn to repudiate facts that mcgahn had repeatedly said were accurate. isn't that correct? >> generally true. >> i believe that's on page 119. thank you. in other words, the president was trying to force mcgahn to say something that mcgahn did not believe to be true. >> that's accurate. >> i want to reference you to a slide and it's on page 120. it says substantial evidence indicates that in repeatedly urging mcgahn to dispute that he was ordered to have the special counsel terminated, the president acted for the purpose of influencing mcgahn's account in order to deflect or prevent further scrutiny of the
8:13 pm
president's conduct towards the investigation. >> that's accurate. >> can you explain what you meant there? >> i'll just leave it as it appears in the report. >> so it's fair to say the president tried to protect himself by asking staff to falsify records relevant to an ongoing investigation? >> i would say that's generally the summary. >> would you say that that acti action, the president tried to hamper the investigation by asking staff to falsify records relevant to your investigation? >> i will refer you to the report, if i could, for review of that episode. >> thank you. the president's attempt to get mcgahn to create a false written record were related to mr. trump's concerns about your obstruction of justice inquiry, correct? >> i believe that to be true. >> in fact, at that same oval office meeting, did the president also ask mcgahn why he had told quote, why he had told
8:14 pm
special counsel's office investigators that the president told him to have you removed, unquo unquote. >> what was the question, sir? >> let me go to the next one. the president quote, criticized mcgahn for telling your office about the june 17th, 2017 events when he told mcgahn to have you removed, correct? >> correct. >> in other words, the president was criticizing his white house counsel for telling law enforcement officials what he believed to be the truth. >> i again go back to the text of the report. >> well, let me go a little bit further. would it have been a crime if mr. mcgahn had lied to you about the president ordering him to fire you? >> i don't want to speculate. >> okay. is it true that you charged multiple people associated with the president for lying to you during your investigation? >> that is accurate.
8:15 pm
>> the president also complained that his staff were taking notes during the meeting about firing mcgahn, is that correct? >> that's what the report says. yeah, the report. >> but in fact, it's completely appropriate for the president's staff, especially his counsels, to take notes during a meeting, correct? >> i rely on the wording of the report. >> well, thank you, director mueller, for your investigation into whether the president attempted to obstruct justice by ordering his white house counsel, don mcgahn, to lie to protect the president, and then to create a false record about it. it is clear that any other person who engaged in such conduct would be charged with a crime. we will continue our investigation and we will hold the president accountable because no one is above the law. >> the gentleman from florida. >> director mueller, can you state with confidence that the steele dossier was not part of russia's disinformation
8:16 pm
campaign? >> as i said, in my opening statement, that part of the building of the case predated me, by at least ten months. >> paul manafort's alleged crimes regarding tax evasion predated you. you had no problem charging them. matter of fact, this steele dossier predated the attorney general and he didn't have any problem answering the question when senator cornyn asked the attorney general the exact question i asked you, director, the attorney general said, and i'm quoting, no, i can't state that with confidence. that's one of the areas i'm reviewing. i'm concerned about it and i don't think it's entirely speculative. now, if something is not entirely speculative, then it must have some factual basis but you identify no factual basis regarding the dossier or the possibility that it was part of the russia disinformation campaign. christopher steele reported his reference in your report, steele reported to the fbi that senior russian foreign ministry figures
8:17 pm
along with other russians told him that there was, i'm quoting from the steele dossier, extensive evidence of conspiracy between the trump campaign team and the kremlin. here's my question. did russians really tell that to christopher steele or did he just make it all up and was he lying to the fbi? >> let me back up a second if i could, say as i said earlier with regard to steele, that that's beyond my purview. >> it is exactly your purview, director mueller, and here's why. only one of two things is possible, right? either steele made this whole thing up and there were never any russians telling him of this vast criminal conspiracy that you didn't find, or russians lied to steele. now, if russians were lying to steele, to undermine our confidence in our duly elected president, that seems to be precisely your purview because you stated in your opening that the organizing principle was to fully and thoroughly investigate russia's interference but you weren't interested in whether or not the russians were interfering through christopher
8:18 pm
steele and if steele was lying, then you should have charged him with lying like you charged a bunch of other people but you say nothing about this in your report. meanwhile, director, you are quite loquacious on other topics. you write 3500 words about the june 9 meeting between the trump campaign and russian lawyer veselnitskaya. you write on page 103 of your report that the president's legal team suggested, i'm quoting from your report, that the meeting might have been a setup. by individuals working with the firm that produced the steele report. i'm going to ask you a very easy question, director mueller. on the week of june 9, who did russian lawyer veselnitskaya meet with more frequently, the trump campaign or glenn simpson, who was functionally acting as an operative for the democratic national committee? >> what i think is missing here is the fact that this is under investigation elsewhere. and if i can finish, sir, and if i can finish, sir, and consequently it's not within my
8:19 pm
purview, department of justice and fbi should be responsive to questions on this particular issue. >> it is absurd to suggest that an operative for the democrats was meeting with this russian lawyer the day before, the day after the trump tower meeting and yet that's not something you reference. glenn simpson testified under oath he had dinner with veselnitskaya the day before and the day after this meeting with the trump team. do you have any basis as you sit here today to believe that steele was lying? >> as i said before, i will say again, it's not my purview. others are investigating what you address. >> it's not your purview to look into whether or not steele's lying, it's not your purview to look into whether or not anti-trump russians are lying to steele and it's not your purview to look at whether or not glenn simpson was meeting with the russians the day before and the day after you write 3500 words about the trump campaign meeting. so i'm wondering how these decisions are guided. i look at the inspector general's report, citing from page 404 of the inspector general's report, stating trump's not ever going to be
8:20 pm
president, right? right. strzok replied no, he's not, we'll stop it. also in the inspector general's report, there's someone identified as attorney number two. this is page 419. attorney number two replied hell, no, then added viva la resistance. attorney number two in the report and strzok both worked on your team, didn't they? >> pardon me? >> they both worked on your team, didn't they? >> i heard strzok. who else were you talking about? >> attorney number two identified in the inspector general's report. >> the question was? >> did they work for you. >> peter strzok worked for me for a period of time. yes. >> yeah. so did the other guy that said viva la resistance. i'm kind of noticing when people associated with trump lied, you threw the book at them. when christopher steele lied, nothing. it seems to be that when glenn simpson met with russians, nothing. when the trump campaign met with russians, 3500 words and maybe the reason why there are discrepancies in what you focused on -- >> time of the gentleman is expired. mr. jeffries of new york is
8:21 pm
recognized. >> mr. mueller, obstruction of justice is a serious crime that strikes at the core of an investigative effort to find the truth, correct? >> correct. >> the crime of obstruction of justice has three elements, true? >> true. >> the first element is an obstructive act. correct? >> correct. >> an obstructive act could include taking an action that would delay or interfere with an ongoing investigation as set forth in volume 2, page 87 and 88 of your report. true? >> i'm sorry, could you again repeat the question? >> an obstructive act could include taking an action that would delay or interfere with an ongoing investigation. >> that's true. >> your investigation found evidence that president trump took steps to terminate the special counsel, correct? >> correct. >> mr. mueller, does ordering the termination of the head of a criminal investigation constitute an obstructive act? >> that would be --
8:22 pm
>> let me refer you -- >> i would refer you to the report. >> let me refer you to page 87 and 88 of volume 2, where you conclude the attempt to remove the special counsel would qualify as an obstructive act if it would naturally obstruct the investigation and any grand jury proceedings that might flow from the inquiry. correct? >> yes. i've got that now. thank you. >> thank you. the second element of obstruction of justice is the presence of an obstructive act in connection with an official proceeding. true? >> true. >> does the special counsel's criminal investigation into the potential wrongdoing of donald trump constitute an official proceeding? >> that's an area which i cannot get into. >> okay. president trump tweeted on june 16th, 2017, quote, i am being investigated for firing the fbi director by the man who told me to fire the fbi director.
8:23 pm
witch hunt. the june 16th tweet just read was cited on page 89 in volume 2, constitutes a public acknowledgment by president trump that he was under criminal investigation. correct? >> i think generally correct. >> one day later, on saturday, june 17th, president trump called white house counsel don mcgahn at home and directed him to fire the special counsel, true? >> i believe to be true. i think we have been -- i may have stated in response to questions -- >> president trump told don mcgahn quote, mueller has to go. close quote. correct? >> correct. >> your report found on page 89, volume 2, that substantial evidence indicates that by june 17th, the president knew his conduct was under investigation by a federal prosecutor who could present any evidence of federal crimes to a grand jury, true? >> true.
8:24 pm
>> the third element, second element having just been satisfied, the third element of the crime of obstruction of justice is corrupt intent. true? >> true. >> corrupt intent exists if the president acted to obstruct an official proceeding for the improper purpose of protecting his own interests. correct? >> that's generally correct. >> thank you. >> the only thing i would say is we are going through the three elements of the proof of the obstruction of justice charges when the fact of the matter is we got -- excuse me one second. >> thank you, mr. mueller, let me move on in the interest of time. upon learning about the appointment of a special counsel, your investigation found that donald trump stated to the then attorney general quote, oh, my god, this is terrible, this is the end of my presidency, i'm f'ed. correct? >> correct. >> is it fair to say president
8:25 pm
trump used the investigation as adverse to his own interests? >> i think that's generally true. >> the investigation found evidence quote, that the president knew that he should not have directed don mcgahn to fire the special counsel, correct? >> where do you have that quote? >> page 90, volume 2. there is evidence that the president knew he should not have made those calls to mcgahn, close quote. >> i see that. yes, that's accurate. >> the investigation also found substantial evidence that president trump repeatedly urged mcgahn to dispute that he was ordered to have the special counsel terminated. correct? >> correct. >> the investigation found substantial evidence that when the president ordered don mcgahn to fire the special counsel and then lie about it, donald trump, one, committed an obstructive act, two, connected to an official proceeding, three, did so with corrupt intent. those are the elements of obstruction of justice. this is the united states of america. no one is above the law.
8:26 pm
no one. the president must be held accountable one way or the other. >> let me just say, if i might, i don't subscribe necessarily to yo your, the way you analyze that. i'm not saying it's out of the ballpark but i'm not supportive of that analytical charge. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. mueller, over here. i want to start by thanking you for your service. you joined the marines and led a rifle platoon in vietnam, where you earned a bronze star, purple heart and other commendations. you served as an assistant united states attorney leading the homicide unit here in d.c., u.s. attorney for the district of massachusetts, and later northern district of california, assistant attorney general for doj's criminal division and the fbi director. so thank you. i appreciate that. having reviewed your biography, it puzzles me why you handled your duties in this case the way
8:27 pm
you did. the report contradicts what you taught young attorneys at the department of justice including to ensure that every defendant is treated fairly or as justice sutherland said in the burger case, a prosecutor is not the representative of an ordinary party to a controversy but of a sovereignty whose interest in a criminal prosecution is not that it shall win a case but that justice shall be done and that the prosecutor may strike hard blows but he is not at liberty to strike foul ones. by listing the ten factual situations and not reaching a conclusion about the merits of the case, you unfairly shifted the burden of proof to the president, forcing him to prove his innocence while denying him a legal forum to do so. i have never heard of a prosecutor declining a case and then holding a press conference to talk about the defendant. you know that eight times in your report that you had a legal duty under the regulations to either prosecute or decline charges. despite this, you disregarded that duty. as a former prosecutor, i'm also troubled with your legal
8:28 pm
analysis. you discuss ten separate factual patterns involving alleged obstruction and then you fail to separately apply the elements of the applicable statutes. i looked at the ten factual situations and i read the case law, and i have to tell you just looking at the flynn matter, for example, the four statutes that you cited for possible obstruction, when i look at those concerning the flynn matter, 1503 isn't applicable because it wasn't a grand jury impanelled and director comey was not an officer of the court as defined by the statute. section 1505 criminalizes acts that would obstruct or impede administrative proceedings and those before congress, an administrative agency, the department of justice criminal resource manual states the fbi investigation is not a pending proceeding. 1512b 3 talks about
8:29 pm
intimidation, threats of force, to tamper with a witness. general flynn at the time was not a witness and certainly director comey was not a witness. and 1512c2 talks about tampering with a record, as joe biden described the statute as being debated on the senate floor, he called this a statute criminalizing document shredding and there's nothing in your report that alleges that the president destroyed any evidence. so what i have to ask you, what i think people are working around in this hearing, is let me lay a little foundation. the ethical rules require that a prosecutor have a reasonable probability of conviction to bring a charge. is that correct? >> generally accurate. >> okay. and the regulations concerning your job as special counsel state that your job is to provide the attorney general with a confidential report explaining the prosecution or
8:30 pm
declination decisions reached by your office. you recommended declining prosecution of president trump and anyone associated with his campaign because there was insufficient evidence to convict for a charge of conspiracy with russian interference in the 2016 election. is that fair? >> fair. >> was there sufficient evidence to convict president trump or anyone else with obstruction of justice? >> we could not make that calculation. >> how could you not have made the calculation? >> olc opinion, the olc opinion, office of legal counsel, indicates that we cannot indict a sitting president. so one of the tools that a prosecutor would use is not there. >> okay. but let me just stop. you made the decision on the russi russian interference. you couldn't have indicted the president on that and you made the decision on that, but when it came to obstruction you threw a bunch of stuff up against the wall to see what would stick. >> i would not agree to that characterization at all. what we did is provide to the
8:31 pm
attorney general in the form of a confidential memorandum our understanding of the case. those cases that were brought, those cases that were declined, and that one case where the president cannot be charged with a crime. >> okay. but could you charge the president with a crime after he left office? >> yes. >> you believe that he committed -- you could charge the president of the united states with obstruction of justice after he left office? >> yes. >> ethically, under the ethical standards. >> i'm not certain because i haven't looked at the ethical standards but olc opinion says that a prosecutor cannot bring a charge against a sitting president, nonetheless, he can continue the investigation to see if there are any other persons who might be drawn into the conspiracy. >> time of the gentleman is expired. the gentleman from rhode island. >> director, as you know, we are specifically focusing on five separate obstruction episodes here today. i would like to ask you about
8:32 pm
the third episode. it's the section of your report entitled the president's efforts to curtail the special counsel investigation beginning at page 90. by curtail, you mean limit, correct? >> correct. >> my colleagues have walked you through how the president tried to have you fired by the white house counsel and because mr. mcgahn refused the order, the president asked others to help limit your investigation, is that correct? >> correct. >> was cory lewandowski one such individual? >> can you remind me -- >> cory lewandowski is the president's former campaign manager, correct? >> correct. >> did he have any official position in the trump administration? >> i don't believe so. >> your report describes an incident in the oval office involving mr. lewandowski in june of 2017, is that correct? >> i'm sorry, what's the citation, sir? >> page 91. >> of the second volume? >> yes. a meeting in the oval office between mr. lewandowski and the president. >> okay. >> that was just two days after the president called don mcgahn
8:33 pm
at home and ordered him to fire you, is that correct? >> apparently so. >> so right after his white house counsel, mr. mcgahn, refused to follow the president's order to fire you, the president came up with a new plan. that was to go around to all of his senior advisers and government aides to have a private citizen try to limit your investigation. what did the president tell mr. lewandowski to do? do you recall, he told him, he dictated a message to mr. lewandowski for attorney general sessions and asked him to write it down, correct? >> true. >> and did you and your team see this message? >> i'm not going to get into what we may or may not have included in our investigation. >> okay. the message directed sessions to give, i'm quoting from your report, to give a public speech saying that he planned to meet with the special prosecutor to explain this is very unfair and let the special prosecutor move forward with investigating election meddling for future elections. that's at page 91. is that correct? >> yes. i see that. thank you. yes, it is. >> in other words, mr. lewandowski, a private citizen,
8:34 pm
was instructed by the president of the united states to deliver a message from the president to the attorney general that directed him to limit your investigation. correct? >> correct. >> and at this time, mr. sessions was still recused from oversight of your investigation, correct? >> i'm sorry, could you restate that? >> the attorney general was recused from oversight. >> yes. >> so the attorney general would have had to violate his own department's rules in order to comply with the president's order, correct? >> i'm not going to get into the subsidiary details. i just refer you again to page 91, 92 of the report. >> if the attorney general had followed through with the president's request, it would have effectively ended your investigation into the president and his campaign as you note on page 97, correct? >> can you -- >> page 97, you write, quote, taken together, the president's directives indicate that sessions was being instructed to tell the special counsel to end the existing investigation into the president and his campaign with the special counsel being permitted to move forward with
8:35 pm
investigating election meddling for future elections. is that correct? >> generally true. yes, sir. >> and is it an unsuccessful attempt to obstruct justice is still a crime, correct? >> that is correct. >> mr. lewandowski tried to meet with the attorney general, is that right? >> true. >> he tried to meet with him in his office so he would be certain it wasn't a public log of the visit? >> according to what we gathered for the report. >> and the meeting never happened, and the president raised the issue again with mr. lewandowski and this time, he said, quote, if sessions does not meet with you, lewandowski should tell sessions he was fired. correct? >> correct. >> so immediately following the meeting with the president, lewandowski then asked mr. dearborn to deliver the message, the former chief of staff to mr. sessions, and mr. dearborn refuses to deliver it because he doesn't feel comfortable. isn't that correct? >> generally correct. yes. >> so just so we're clear, mr. mueller, two days after the white house counsel don mcgahn refused to carry out the president's order to fire you,
8:36 pm
the president directed a private citizen to tell the attorney general of the united states who was recused at the time to limit your investigation to future elections effectively ending your investigation into the 2016 trump campaign. is that correct? >> i'm not going to adopt your characterization. i will say that the facts as laid out in the report are accurate. >> well, mr. mueller, in your report you in fact write at page 99, substantial evidence indicates that the president's effort to have sessions limit the scope of the special counsel's investigation to future elections interference was intended to prevent further investigative scrutiny of the president and his campaign conduct. is that correct? >> generally. >> and so mr. mueller, you have seen a letter where 1,000 former republican and democratic federal prosecutors have read your report and said anyone but the president who committed those acts would be charged with obstruction of justice. do you agree with those former colleagues, 1,000 prosecutors who came to that conclusion? >> those --
8:37 pm
[ inaudible ] >> thank you, mr. chairman. over here. mr. mueller, you guys, your team wrote in the report quote, this is the top of page 2, volume 1, also on page 173, by the way, you said that you had come to the conclusion that quote, the investigation did not establish that members of the trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the russian government in its election interference activities, close quote. that's an accurate statement, right? >> that's accurate. >> and i'm curious, when did you personally come to that conclusion? >> can you remind me which paragraph you were referring to? >> top of page 2. >> on 2? >> volume 1. >> okay. and exactly which paragraph are you looking at? >> investigation did not establish -- >> i see it. >> yes. >> what was your question? >> my question now is when did you personally reach that
8:38 pm
conclusion? >> well, we were ongoing for two years. >> you were ongoing, you wrote it at some point during that two-year period but at some point you had to come to a conclusion that i don't think that there's not conspiracy going on here, there was no conspiracy between this president, not talking about the rest of the president's team, talking about this president and the russians. >> as you understand them, developing a criminal case, you get pieces of information, pieces of information, witnesses and the like as you make your case. when you make a decision on a particular case depends on a number of factors. >> i understand. >> so i cannot say specifically that we reached a decision on a particular defendant at a particular point in time. >> but it was some time well before you wrote the report. fair enough? i mean, you wrote the report dealing with a whole myriad of issues. certainly at some time prior to that report is when you reached the decision that okay, with regard to the president himself, i don't find anything here. fair enough?
8:39 pm
>> well, i'm not certain i do agree with that. >> you waited until the last minute when you were actually writing the report to say okay -- >> there were various aspects of the development -- >> sure. that's my point. there are various aspects that happen but somewhere along the pike, you will come to a conclusion there's no there, there for this defendant. isn't that right? >> i can't speak to when. >> you can't say when. fair enough. i'm asking the sworn witness. mr. mueller, evidence suggests that on may 2017 approximately sef 7:45 a.m. before the d.a.g. appointed you special counsel, mr. rosenstein called you and mentioned the appointment of a special counsel. not necessarily that you would be appointed but you had a discussion of that, is that true? may 10, 2017? >> well, i don't have any -- i don't have any knowledge of that occurring. >> you don't have any knowledge
8:40 pm
or you don't recall? >> i don't have any knowledge. >> the evidence also -- >> are you questioning that? >> well, i just find it intriguing. let me just tell you there's evidence that suggests that that phone call took place and that's what was said. let's move to the next question. evidence he suggests on may 12, 2017, you met with mr. rosenstein in person. did you discuss the appointment of special counsel then, not necessarily you, but there would be special counsel? >> i have gone into waters that don't allow me to give you an answer to that particular question. it relates to the internal discussions we would have in terms of indicting an individual. >> it has nothing to do with indictment. it has to do with special counsel and whether you discussed that with mr. rosenstein. the evidence also suggests on may 13th, four days before you were appointed special counsel, you met with attorney, former attorney general sessions and rosenstein and you spoke about special counsel.
8:41 pm
do you remember that? >> not offhand, no. >> okay. on may 16th, the day before you were appointed special counsel, you met with the president and rod rosenstein. do you remember having that meeting? >> yes. >> and discussion of the position of fbi director took place, remember that? >> yes. >> and did you discuss at any time in that meeting mr. comey's termination? >> no. >> did you discuss at any time in that meeting the potential appointment of a special counsel, not necessarily you, but just in general terms? >> i can't get into the discussions on that. >> how many times did you speak to mr. rosenstein before may 17th which is the day you got appointed regarding the appointment of special counsel? how many times prior to that did you discuss -- >> i can't say how many times. >> is that because you don't recall or you just -- >> i do not recall. >> okay. thank you. how many times did you speak with mr. comey about any investigations pertaining to russia prior to may 17th, 2017? >> zero.
8:42 pm
>> zero? >> zero. >> okay. my time has expired. >> time of the gentleman has expired. the gentleman from california. >> director mueller, going back to the president's obstruction via cory lewandowski, it was referenced that 1,000 former prosecutors who served under republican and democratic administrations with 12,000 years of federal service wrote a letter regarding the president's conduct. are you familiar with that letter? >> i have read about that letter. yes. >> some of the individuals who signed that letter, the statement of former prosecutors, are people you worked with, is that right? >> quite probably, yes. >> people that you respect? >> quite probably, yes. >> and in that letter, they said all of this conduct, trying to control and impede the investigation against the president by leveraging his authority over others is similar to conduct we have seen charged against other public officials and people in powerful positions. are they wrong? >> they had a different case.
8:43 pm
>> you want to sign that letter, director mueller? >> they have a different case. >> director mueller, thank you for your service. going all the way back to the '60s when you courageously served in vietnam. because i have a seat on the intelligence committee, i will have questions later. because of our limited time, i will ask to enter this letter into the record under unanimous consent. i will defer to my colleague from california, mr. lieu. >> thank you for your service to our country including your service as a marine where you earned a bronze star. i would like to turn to the elements of obstruction of justice amplified to the president's attempts to curtail your investigation. the first element of obstruction of justice requires an obstructive act, correct? >> correct. >> i would like to direct you to page 97 of volume 2 of your report. you wrote there on page 97 quote, sessions was being instructed to tell the special
8:44 pm
counsel to end the existing investigation into the president and his campaign, unquote. that's in the report. correct? >> correct. >> that would be evidence of an obstructive act because it would naturally obstruct their investigation. correct? >> correct. >> okay. let's turn now to the second element of the crime of obstruction of justice which requires a nexus to an official proceeding. again i will direct you to page 97, the same page, volume 2, and you wrote quote, by the time the president's initial one-on-one meeting with lewandowski on june 19th, 2017, the existence of a grand jury investigation supervised by special counsel was public knowledge. that's in the report. correct? >> correct. >> that would constitute evidence of a nexus because a grand jury investigation is an official proceeding. correct? >> well, yes. >> okay. i would like to turn to the final element of the crime of obstruction of justice. on that same page, page 97, do
8:45 pm
you see where there's an intent section on that page? >> i do see that. >> okay. would you be willing to read the first sentence? >> and that was starting with -- >> substantial evidence. >> indicates that the president's -- >> read that first sentence. would you be willing to do that? >> i'm happy to have you read it. >> i will read it, then. you wrote quote, substantial evidence indicates that the president's effort to have sessions limit the scope of the special counsel's investigation into election interference was intended to prevent further investigative scrutiny of the president and his campaign's conduct, unquote. that's in the report. correct? >> that is in the report. i rely what's in the report. to indicate what's happened in the paragraphs we have been discussing. >> thank you. so to recap what we have heard, we have heard today that the president ordered former white house counsel don mcgahn to fire you. the president ordered don mcgahn to then cover that up and create a false paper trail and now
8:46 pm
we've heard that the president ordered cory lewandowski to tell jeff sessions to limit your investigation so that he, you, stop investigating the president. i believe a reasonable person looking at these facts could conclude that all three elements of the crime of obstruction of justice have been met and i would like to ask you the reason again that you did not indict donald trump is because of olc opinion stating that you cannot indict a sitting president. correct? >> that is correct. >> the fact that the orders by the president were not carried out, that is not a defense to obstruction of justice because the statute itself is quite broad. it says as long as you endeavor or attempt to obstruct justice, that would also constitute a crime. >> i can't get into that at this juncture. >> okay. thank you. and based on the evidence that we have heard today, i believe reasonable person could conclude
8:47 pm
that at least three crimes of obstruction of justice by the president occurred. we are going to hear about two additional crimes, that would be the witness tampering of michael cohen and paul manafort. >> the only thing i want to add is i'm going through the elements with you do not mean or does not mean that i subscribe to what you're trying to prove through those elements. >> the time of the gentleman has expired. the gentle lady from arizona. i'm sorry. gentleman from california. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. mueller, over here. thanks for joining us today. you had three discussions with rod rosenstein about your appointment as special counsel, may 10th, may 12th and may 13th. correct? >> if you say so. i have no reason to dispute that. >> then you met with the president on the 16th with rod rosenstein present, and then on the 17th, you were formally appointed as special counsel. were you meeting with the president on the 16th with knowledge that you were under
8:48 pm
consideration for appointment to special counsel? >> i did not believe i was under consideration for counsel. i had served two terms as fbi director -- the answer is no. the answer is no. >> [ inaudible ] describes your office as the team of partisans and as additional information is coming to light, there's a growing concern that political bias caused important facts to be omitted from your report in order to cast the president unfairly in a negative light. for example, john dowd, the president's lawyer, leaves a message with michael flynn's lawyer on november 17th of -- november of 2017, the edited version in your report makes it appear that he was improperly asking for confidential information and that's all we know from your report, except that the judge in the flynn case ordered the entire transcript released, in which dowd makes it crystal clear that's not what he was suggesting. my question is why did you edit the transcript to hide the
8:49 pm
exculpatory part of the message? >> i don't agree with your characterization as we did anything to hide. >> well, you omitted it. you quoted the part where he says we need some kind of heads up just for the sake of protecting all of our interests if we can but you omitted the portion where he says without giving up any confidential information. >> well, i'm not going to go further in terms of discussing -- >> let's go on. you extensively discuss kilimnik's activities with paul manafort, describing him as quote a russian ukrainian political consultant and long-time employee of manafort assessed to have ties to russian intelligence. that's all we know from your report except we have since learned from news articles that kilimnik was actually a u.s. state department intelligence source, yet nowhere in your report is he so identified. why was that fact -- >> i don't necessarily credit what you're saying occurred. >> were you aware that kilimnik was -- >> i'm not going to go into the ins and outs of what --
8:50 pm
>> did you interview kilimnik? >> i can't go into the discussion of our investigative moves. >> and yet that is the basis of your report. again, the problem we're having is we have to rely on your report for an accurate reflection of the evidence and we are starting to find out that's not true. for example, your report famously links russian internet troll farms with the russian government. yet at a hearing on may 28th in the concord management ira prosecution you initiated, the judge excoriated you and mr. barr for producing no evidence to support this claim. why did you suggest russia was responsible for the troll farms when in court, you have been unable to produce any evidence to support it? >> well, i won't get into that any further than i already have. >> you have left the clear impression throughout the country in your report that it
8:51 pm
was the russian government behind the troll farms, yet when you are called upon to provide actual evidence in court, you failed to do so. >> again, i dispute your characterization of what occurred in that proceeding. >> in fact, the judge considered holding prosecutors in criminal contempt, she backed off only after your hastily called press conference the next day in which you retroactively made a distinction between the russian government and russian troll farms. did your press conference of may 29th have anything to do with the threat to hold your prosecutors in contempt the previous day for publicly misrepresenting the evidence? >> what was the question? >> the question is did your may 29th press conference have anything to do with the fact that the previous day, the judge threatened to hold your prosecutors in contempt for misrepresenting evidence? >> no. >> now, the fundamental problem
8:52 pm
is as i said, we've got to take your word you faithfully, accurately, impartially and completely described all of the underlying evidence in the mueller report and we are finding more and more instances where this just isn't the case. and it's starting to look like having desperately tried and failed to make a legal case against the president, you made a political case instead. you put it in a paper sack, lit it on fire, dropped it on our porch, rang the doorbell and ran. >> i don't think you reviewed a report that is as thorough, as fair, as consistent as the report that we have in front of us. >> then why -- >> the time of the gentleman has expired. the gentleman from maryland is recognized. >> director mueller, let's go to a fourth episode of obstruction of justice. in the form of witness tampering which is urging witnesses not to cooperate with law enforcement, either by persuading them or intimidating them. with that brings a felony punishable by 20 years in prison. you have found evidence that the
8:53 pm
president engaged in efforts, and i quote, to encourage witnesses not to cooperate with the investigation. is that right? >> that's correct. you have the citation? >> page 7, volume 2. >> thank you. >> now, 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 women the president knew and also 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 that? >> if it's in the report as stated, yes, it is right. >> 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.
8:54 pm
another redacted friend called to say the boss loves you and the third redacted friend called to say everyone knows the boss has your back. you remember finding that sequence? >> generally, yes. >> when the news, in fact, cohen said that following the receipt of these messages, i'm quoting here, page 147 of volume 2, he believes 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 at page 147. do you remember generally finding that? >> generally, yes. >> well, robert costello, a lawyer close to the president's legal team, e-mailed cohen to say quote, you are loved, they are in our corner, sleep well tonight and you have friends in high places. that's up on the screen, page 147. you remember recording that? >> i see that. >> when the news first broke that cohen had arranged payoffs
8:55 pm
to stormy daniels, cohen faithfully stuck to this party line. he said that publicly, that 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? >> can't speak to that. >> okay. the assumption in the context suggests very strongly it's president trump. >> i can't speak to that. >> 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 rely on what's in the report. >> well, he made the suggestion
8:56 pm
that cohen family members had committed crimes. he targeted, for example, cohen's father-in-law and repeatedly suggested that he was guilty of committing crimes. right? >> i 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, thank you. >> would you like to read it? >> i would. >> can you read it out loud to everybody? >> i would be happy to have you read it out loud. >> okay. 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 turned to attacks and intimidation to deter the provision of information or to undermine cohen's credibility once cohen began cooperating. >> i believe that's accurate. >> okay. in my view, if anyone else in america engaged in these actions, thee would have been charged with witness tampering, we must enforce the principle in
8:57 pm
congress that you emphasized 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. >> the gentleman yields back. >> thank you, mr. chairman. just recently, mr. mueller, you said mr. lieu was asking you questions and mr. lieu's question, quote, the reason you didn't indict the president is because of the olc opinion. and 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 and 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
8:58 pm
obstructed justice. the special counsel's report and 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 with it. >> well, so, you know, my conclusion is that when you told mr. lieu really contradicts what you said in the report and specifically what you said apparently repeatedly to attorney general barr that, and then you issued a joint statement on may 29th saying that the attorney general has previously stated that the special counsel repeatedly affirmed that he was not saying but for the olc report that we
8:59 pm
would have found the president obstructed justice so i just see there's a conflict. i do have some more questions. mr. mueller, there has been a lot of talk today about firing the special counsel and curtailing the investigation. were you ever fired, mr. mueller? >> was i what? >> were you ever fired as special counsel, mr. mueller? >> 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? >> correct. >> thank you. mr. mueller, on april 18th, the 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?
9:00 pm
>> well, what you are not mentioning is the letter we sent on march 27th. to mr. barr, that raised some issues. that letter speaks for itself. ... that there wasn't anything inaccurate during the statement that would be the one to another question. rather than relying on the evidence provided, i think you relied a lot on the media.
9:01 pm
how many times did you cite the "washington post" in your report? speed i do not have knowledge of that figure. >> i counted about 60 times. >> how many times did you cite "the new york times"? >> no idea. >> about 75 times. >> how many times do you cite fox news? >> i have no idea. >> about 25 times. it looks like volume two is mostly regurgitated press stories. there's almost nothing in volume two that i didn't already here or now by having a fifth he dollar cable news subscription however, your investigation cost the taxpayers $25 million. you cited media reports nearly 200 times in the report and then
9:02 pm
in a small footnote number seven h. 15 of volume two of the report you wrote, and i quote this summarizes and cites various news stories not for the truth contained to place the response to the stories in context. since nobody but lawyers read footnotes are you concerned that the american public to look the news stories -- >> the time has expired. >> we ar >> we are running short on time. >> the gentle lady from washington. >> let's turn to the fifth of the episodes in the report and that is the evidence of whether he engaged in witness tampering -- your office got indictments against the deputy campaign manager in two different
9:03 pm
jurisdictions, could? your office found after a grand jury indicted them, he told gates not to plead guilty to any charges because, quote, he talks to thtalked to the president, te president personal counsel and they were going to take care of us, is that correct? according to the report, one day after the conviction on eight felony charges, quote, the president said the flooding wasn't fair and almost ought to be outlawed. in this context what does it mean to flip? >> have somebody cooperate in a criminal investigation. >> and how is that in any effort to combat crime? >> i'm not going to go beyond categorizing. >> you concluded president trumt of trump and the council rudy giuliani made repeated statements suggesting a pardon is a possibility for manafort but they didn't want him to flip and cooperate with the government.
9:04 pm
>> 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? on page 123 of volume two committee also discussed the president's motives, and you say as the court proceedings move forward against manafort, president of trump, quote, discussed with aids whether and in what way manafort might be cooperating and whether he knew any information that would be harmful to the president, "-end-double-quote; is that correct? from page 123 volume two. >> thank you. yes. >> and someone tries to stop another person from working with law enforcement and they do it because they are worried about what that person will say, it seems clear from what you wrote this is the classic definition of witness tampering. mr. manafort date eventually decide to cooperate with your office and entered into a plea agreement, but then he broke
9:05 pm
that agreement. can you describe what he did thathat caused you to tell the court that the agreement was off? >> i would refer you to the court proceedings. >> page 127 of the volume, you told the court mr. manafort lied about a number of matters that were material to the investigation coming at you said that both manafort lawyers both regularly briefed the president's lawyers on the topics discussed into the information that he had provided in interviews with the special counsel's office. is that right? page 127, volume two. >> it's on the report, yes. >> two days after you told the court that he broke his plea agreement by lying repeatedly commented president of trump told the press that mr. manafort was, quote, very brave because he did not flip. this is page 12 128 of 128 of v. >> i >> if it is in the report, i supported it. >> thank you. director chi in your report, you make a very serious conclusion about the evidence regarding the
9:06 pm
president involvement with the manafort criminal proceedings. let me read from the record, evidence concerning the president's conduct towards manafort indicates that the president intended to encourage manafort to not cooperate with the government. it's clear that the president both publicly and privately discouraged cooperation or flipping why also dangling the promise of a pardon if he stayed loyal and didn't 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. and i thank you for being here. >> the gentleman from pennsylvania. >> thank you mr. chairman. i'm over here. are you familiar with the now expired independent counsel under which kenneth starr was appointed? >> i'm sorry? >> are you familiar with the independent counsel statute?
9:07 pm
>> the one we are operating under now? >> but when ken starr was appointed. >> i'm not that i would be happy to take the question. >> the clinton administration allowed the statute to expire after the investigation. the report requirement was a major reason why the statute was allowed to expire. even president clinton's ag expressed concerns. 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 goes against many of the basic traditions and practices of american law enforcement. under our system, we presume innocence and value privacy. we believe that information obtained during criminal investigations should in most cases be made public only if there is an indictment and prosecution, not in a lengthy
9:08 pm
detailed report found after the decision has been made not to prosecute. the final report provides a forum for unfairly airing and targeting dirty laundry and also creates another incentive for the independent counsel to investigate in order to justify his or her tenure and to avoid the criticism of the independent counsel that may have left the stone unturned. did you do exactly what they feared? didn't you publish a lengthy report airing the targets dirty laundry without recommending charges? >> i disagree with that. >> did any witnesses have the chance to be cross-examined? >> can i finish my answer? i operate under the current statute and not the original. i'm most familiar with the current. >> did any of the witnesses have a chance to be cross-examined? >> did any of the witnesses in the investigation?
9:09 pm
>> yes. >> i'm not going to answer that. >> did you allow the people to -- >> i'm not going to get into that. >> given that they stated multiple times during the confirmation hearing that you make as much of the report is public as possible, did you write thwrite a report knowing d likely be shared with the public? >> no. >> did knowing that it could be made public did not alter the content that you included? >> i can't speak to the. >> despite the expectations that it would be released in the public, you left out significant exculpatory evidence. evidence that he regaled to the president, correct? >> i would disagree with you. i think that we put into the report exculpatory evidence as i'll. >> [inaudible] you said there was evidence you left out the. >> you make a choice as to what goes in -- >> isn't it true that on page
9:10 pm
one of volume two, you state when you are quoting the statute that you have an obligation to prosecute or not prosecute? >> generally that is the case although most cases are not done in the context of the president. >> in this case, you made the decision not to prosecute? >> we made a decision to decide whether to prosecute or not. >> so essentially, everything that we know warned against? >> i can't agree with that characterization. >> what you did is compiled a 450 -- nearly 450 pages of this information that you gathered against the target of your investigation, and you did this knowing you were not going to recommend charges and that the report would be made public. >> not true. >> a >> as a former officer in the united states core, i prosecuted nearly 100 in the courtroom.
9:11 pm
a cross examined in defense of the navy seals. as a civilian i was elected a judge in pennsylvania. so i'm very well-versed to the american legal system. the addressing of the publication oand publicationof n this report without an invite, without prosecution frankly flies in the face of the american justice, and i find those facts in this entire process to be un-american. i yield the remainder of my time to my colleague jim jordan. >> director mueller, the renewal happened a month after your name special counsel. what role did your office play and the case? >> i'm not going to talk to that. >> the time of th the gentlemans expired. the gentle lady from california. >> director mueller, a couple of my colleagues want to talk to you and ask about the lies. according to your report, volume one page nine, witnesses lied to your officlie toyour office and.
9:12 pm
those materially impair to the investigation of russia interference according to your report. rather than the individuals that are guilty to the client and sliding to you and your team come and other witnesses lie to you? >> is probably a spectrum of witnesses in terms of those who are not telling the full truth and thos of those that are outrt liars. >> thank you very much. it is fair to say then that there are limits on what evidence was available to your investigation of the russian election interference and obstruction of justice? connectivity usually the case. >> and the trump campaign officials and administration officials impeded your investigation? >> i would generally agree with that. >> thank you so much. you will be hearing more from me in the next hearing so i yield the balance of my time. thank you.
9:13 pm
>> mr. mueller, first of all, let me welcome you. thank you for your service to the country. you are a hero, vietnam vet, we will not forget your service to the country. i may begin because of time limit is gone in depth on only five possible episodes, obstruction -- there's so much more. i want to focus on another section of obstruction, which is the president's conduct concerning michael flynn, the president's national security adviser. in early 27, 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, again, that could be used to blackmail the government, correct? >> i'm not going to do that. i don't disagree with it
9:14 pm
necessarily, but i'm not going to speak to anymore on that issue. >> thank you very much, sir. flynn resigned on february, 2016. the very next day, when the president was having lunch with new jersey governor chris christie, did the president say, quote, now that we fired michael flynn, the russia thing is over, "-end-double-quote is that correct? >> correct. >> and visit true that he responded by saying, quote, no way coming int, and this russias far from over? >> that is the way that we have ithere we haveit in the report . >> thank you. after the president met with chris christie, later that same day the president arranged to meet with then fbi director james comey alone in the oval office, correct? >> correct. particularly you have the citation -- >> page 39, volume two. >> thank you very much.
9:15 pm
>> according to james comey, the president told him i hope, quote, i hope you can see your way to clear to letting this thing go, dividing flynn go. he's a good guy and i hope you can let it go, quote. page 40, volume two. what did james comey understand the president asking? >> i'm not going to get into what was in his mind. >> he 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 and as being in the report. >> thank you, sir. the president publicly denied telling comey to drop the investigation, you found, quote, substantial evidence corroborating james comey's account over the president's come is this correct? >> correct. >> the president fired him on
9:16 pm
may 9, is that correct? panic i believe that is the accurate data. date. >> page 77, volume two. he found substantial evidence that the catalyst for the president's firing of james comey was his, 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 his page 75, volume two. and in fact, the very next day the president told the russian foreign minister, quote, i just fired the head of the fbi. she was crazy, real nut job. i face pressure because of russia. i'm not under investigation, quote. is that correct? >> that is what is written in the report, yes. >> the time of the gentle man is
9:17 pm
expired. the 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 that you should be able to talk about, the law itself, underlining obstruction statute and your legal analysis of the statute of volume two, particularly your interpretation of 1512 c.. section 1512 c. is an obstruction of justice statute created as a part of the financial regulation for public companies, and as you write on page 164, volume two, this provision was added to the amendment in the senate and explain as closing a certain loophole respect to the document shredding and to read the statute for the availability of the jews and the official proceeding or otherwise obstructs influences in the official proceedings or attempts to do so shall be fined under
9:18 pm
the statute. your analysis and application of the statute proposes to give a much broader interpretation first the analysis proposes to read it in isolation as a freestanding provision prohibiting any act influencing the proceeding done with an improper motive and the second e analysis of the statute to apply the sweeping prohibition to the act taken by public officials exercising the discretionary powers if the act influences the proceeding. so i would ask you in analyzing the obstruction, you state, you recognize the department of justice and odepartment ofjustit definitively resolving these issues you would agree not everyone in the justice department agreed with your legal theory of obstruction of justice statute? >> i'm not going to be involved in the discussion on that.
9:19 pm
>> the attorney general himself disagrees with your interpretation of the law. >> i believe that. >> and you would agree that they sometimes incorrectly applied the law, correct? >> i would have to agree with that. members of your legal team have had convictions overturned because they were based on the theory. >> i don't know when they are trying cases -- >> let me ask about one in particular in the decision that rejected the legal theory advanced. >> let me read from that -- i'm not going to get involved in the discussion on that. i will refer you to that citation that you gave me at the outset for the lengthy discussion just on what you're talking about and to the extent i have anything to say about it, it is what we've already put
9:20 pm
into the report. >> i'm reading from your report discussing this unanimously reversing what he said indeed it is striking how little culpability the instructions require for example they were told the jury could convict and they also diluted the meaning such that it comes to conduct. your report takes the reading of the provision and applies it to the official act as i'm concerned that the implication of the theor that. for over criminalizing conduct. to emphasize how broad the liability is, i want to ask about a few examples assuming for a moment that the comment did influence the investigation
9:21 pm
of president obama be charged under your interpretation of the obstruction of justice? >> august 2015 if you're a senior official called fbi director report expressing that they were still preserving the clinton foundation is a predicative investigation to which the official replied of course not. under your theory, couldn't a person be charged with the structure and as long as they could come up with a potentially corrupt motive?
9:22 pm
>> at the end of the report. >> the time of the gentle man is expired given t the breaks of bring us is through approximately 11:40 with the indulgence we will be asking the remaining members to voluntarily limit their time so we can complete the work i want to ask some questions about the president's statements regarding the advanced knowledge. the president refused to sit down with your investigator for an in person interview, correct? so the only answers we have are contained in appendix c. to the report looking on page five whether they have knowledge that
9:23 pm
they possessed or might possess the e-mails that were stolen looking at appendix c., page five, you asked about a dozen questions about whether he had knowledge that wiki leaks possessed information that might be helpful to his campaign or helpful to the clinton campaign come is tha that helpful but you asked those questions? in february of this year, mr. trump's personal attorney michael cohen testified under oath that, quote, mr. trump knew from roger stone said in advance about the wiki leaks drove e-mails, that is a matter of public record, isn't it? >> are you referring to the report or some other public record? >> this was testimony before congress. do you know if he told you?
9:24 pm
>> jesus to be familiar with it to justify before congress. >> let's look at what is described on page 18 of volume two of your report. now, according to enable that up on thput itup on the slide, acco the deputy campaign manager in the summer of 2016, he was on the way to the airport shortly after wikileaks released its first set of stolen e-mails and they told investigators that they were on a phone call and when the call ended trump told gates that more releases of damaging information would be coming to a your report also stated, quote, in addition some witnesses said trump privately sought information about the future releases. is that correct?
9:25 pm
>> in appendix c. where they did answer some questions, he said, quote, i do not recall discussing wikileaks with him nor do i recall him having discussed it with individuals associated with my campaign, is that correct? >> from the report, it is correct. >> sakuma is it fair to say the president denied ever discussing wikileaks with mr. stone and denied being aware that anyone associated in the campaign discussed it with an? >> can you repeat that? >> is it fair that the president denied knowledge of himself or anyone else discussing wikileaks? >> yes. >> okay. with that, i will yield back. >> thank you mr. chair. mr. mueller one day before you were appointed for the special
9:26 pm
counsel? >> it wasn't applying for the job i was asked to give my input on what it would take to do the job to the interviewer talking about so you do not recall i interview with the president wants about the job but not about me applying for the job. >> so, your statement here today is that you didn't interview to apply for the fbi director told? >> that's correct. >> so, did you tell the vice presidentthe cepeda one job that you would come back for? >> i don't recall that. >> you don't recall that? getting your 22 month investigation, tens of millions of dollars spent and millions of documents reviewed, did you obtain any information that any voter would change their vote as a result of the interference? >> i'm not going to speak to that. >> after 22 months of investigations but there's not
9:27 pm
any evidence in the document before us that any voter changed their vote because of the interference coming and i'm asking you based on all of the documents. >> that was outside of our purview. >> russian meddling was outside of the purview? >> it was taken by other agencies. >> okay. you stated he wouldn't get into the details of this dossier. however, multiple times on volume two, you mentioned the unverified allegations. how long did it take you to reach the conclusion that it was unverified? >> i'm not going to speak to them. >> it's actually in the report multiple times, and you are telling you are not willing to tell us that it came to the conclusion it was unverified? when did you become aware that the unverified dossier was included in the application? >> i'm sorry, what was the question? >> when did you become aware that the unverified dossier intended was included in the
9:28 pm
fisa application? >> i'm not going to speak to that. >> her team interviewed christopher steele is that correct? >> i'm not getting into that. >> you can't tell the committee as to whether or not you interviewed christopher in the investigation with the order's? >> as i said at the outset, that is one of the investigations that is being handled by others in the department of justice. >> that you are here testifying about this today and i'm asking directly if any members of your team or did you interview him in the course of your investigation? >> and i'm not going to answer that question. >> you have to use to investigattwo years toinvestigau consider the unverified documents paid for by a political opponent if it was used to obtain a warrant to spy on the opposition to the kohl campaigned? did you do any investigation -- >> [inaudible] >> what would be your -- >> i'm not going to speak any more to it. >> but you're not going to agree with my characterization?
9:29 pm
is that correct? >> yes. >> the fisa application makes for an addition to source number one, the author of the dossier. the applications has nothing sources one's reasons for conducting the research with russia based on forces previous recording history with fbi whereby force one provided reliable information to the fbi. the fbi believed the source ones reporting to be credible. do you believe the fbi's representations of the 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 interview an individual in the purview of this investigation that you are testifying today that you closed the investigation how is it not within your purview to tell about the investigation into you interviewed? >> i have nothing to add.
9:30 pm
>> i can guarantee that the american people want to know. and i'm very hopeful and glad that ag barr is looking into this and the general because you are unwilling to answer the questions of the american people as it relates to the very basis of this investigation into the president, and a very basis of this individual who you did interview you are just refusing to answer the questions. can't the president fired the fbi director at any time without reason under article one of the constitution? >> yes, that's correct. >> an >> can also fire the special counsel without any reason? >> i believe that to be the case. hold on just a second. you said without any reason. i know the special counsel can't be fired, but i'm not sure the extent for what reason is given. >> you testified you were able to complete the investigation and full. in full. is that correct? >> i'm not going to add to what i stated before. my time is expired. >> the gentle lady from
9:31 pm
pennsylvania. >> thank you mr. chair man for being with us. the question of the afternoon now. director, now i would like to ask about the president answerss answers relating to roger stone. roger stone was indicted for multiple federal crimes, and the indictment alleges that mr. stone discussed future wikileaks e-mail releases with the trump campaign. understand there is a gag order on the case, how did he go i will keep my questions restricted to publicly available information. >> let me say at the outset -- i don't seem to disrupt you, but i'm not -- i would like some demarcation of that which is applicable to this, but also into such a way that it does not hinder the other prosecution that is taking place in dc. >> i understand, and i'm only going to be talking about the questions that you asked him why
9:32 pm
this should relate to mr. stone. on mr. stone's indictment come e in states among other things, the following, quote, he was contacted by senior trump officials to acquire a future releases of organization one being wikileaks. the indictment continues, quote, he 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 the potential future releases, correct? >> yes ma'am, and i see according from the indictment, even though it is a public document, i feel uncomfortable having discussing anything to do with the prosecution. >> the indictment is on the record, and we pulled it off of
9:33 pm
the -- >> i understand. >> turning back to the answers to your questions on the very subject, the president denied ever discussing future wikileaks releases with stone and denied knowing anyone else in his campaign having discussions with stone. if you had learned that other witnesses putting aside the president, if other witnesses have lied to your investigators in response to specific questions, whether in writing or in the interview, could they be charged with false statement crimes? >> i'm not going to speculate. i think you're asking for me to speculate. >> what us put it more specifically. what if i made a false statements to an investigator on your team. could i go to jail for up to five years? >> yes. although it's congress, so -- [laughter] >> that's the point though, isn't it a? that no one is above the law,
9:34 pm
not you, the congress, certainly not the president. and i think that it's troubling to hear some of these things coming int into that despite 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 it's been underscored many times that i will repeat, no one is above the law. >> thank you, ma'am. the time for the gentleman from north dakota. >> how many people get you fired during the course of the investigation? how many people did you fire? >> i'm not going to discuss that. >> according to the inspector general's report, attorney number two was let go in the know peter was let go. >> there may have been other persons that were either transferred or fired. >> peter testified the committee on july 12, 2018 that he was
9:35 pm
fired because they were concerned about preserving the appearance of independence. do you agree with the testimony? >> say that again if you could be please >> at least because you are worried about the concerned about preserving the appearance of independence with the special counsel's investigation, do you agree with the statement? >> the statement was made by whom? >> peter strong come at this hearing. >> i'm not familiar with that. >> did you fire him because you are worried about the appearance of the independence of the investigation? >> he was transferred as a result of instances regarding text. >> did you agree -- do you agree your office did not only have an obligation to operate with independence but the appearance of independence as well? >> over the two years. the required part of the speaking circuit -- >> and andrew is one of the top attorneys? did he have a role in selecting other members of the teen? >> yes, that's not a major role. >> he attended hillary clinton's
9:36 pm
election -- january 30, 2017, he wrote an e-mail to the deputy attorney general stating i am so proud and in all regarding her disobeying direct orders from the president. did he disclose that e-mail to you before he joined the team? >> i'm not going to talk about that. >> is that not a conflict of interest? >> i'm not going to talk about that. >> are you aware that he represented hillary clinton regarding personal e-mails originating from the time as the secretary of state? >> yes. >> did you know that before she came on? the guy sitting next to you representative justin cooper, a clinton aide who destroyed some of clinton's mobile devices coming at you must be aware by now six of your lawyers donated $12,000 directly to hillary clinton. i'm not even talking about the $49 they donated to other democrats, just donations to the opponent who is the target of your investigation. >> can i speak for a second to the hiring practices?
9:37 pm
>> sure. >> to hire the individuals that could do the job, but in the business for almost 25 years, and in those 25 years i've not had a case on occasion once to ask someone about their political affiliation. it isn't done. what i care about is the capability of the individual to do the job and do it quickly and furiously and with integrity. >> but that's what i'm saying. it's not just about you being able to vouch for your team. it's knowing that today you accepted the role, you have to be aware no matter what the report concluded, half the country was going to be skeptical of your team's findings. and that's why we have recusal walls that defined the pious and proceeded for this very reason. 28 united states specifically listed not just political conflict of interest for the appearance of political conflict of interest. it's just simply not enough that you vouch for your team. it demands no perceived bias exists. i can't imagine a single prosecutor or judge that i've ever appeared in front of would be comfortable with these
9:38 pm
circumstances where over half of the prosecutorial team had a direct relationship with the opponent of the person being investigated. >> we hired 19 lawyers over a 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 had a direct relationship, political or personal with the opponent of the person that you were investigating and that is my point. i wonder if not a single word in the entire report was changed rather the only difference is these which hillary clinton and president of trump. if they had those terrible things about hillary clinton instead of president trump pres, if a team of lawyers worked for, donated thousands of dollars to advance to trump's parties and the clintons, i don't think we would be here trying to prop up an instruction allegation. my colleagues would have spent the last four months accusing your team is being bought and paid for by the trump campaign and we could trust a single word of the report. it would still be accusing the
9:39 pm
president of conspiracy with russia and they would be accusing your team of aiding and abetting, and with that i will yield back. >> the gentleman yield. the gentleman from colorado. >> thank you for your service to the country. i would like to talk about one of the other issues of obstruction and that is the evidence in the record showing the president directing his son and communications directors issued a false public statement at june 2017 about a meeting between th the campaigning apprh of individuals at trump tower in june of 2016. according to your report, mr. trump june or was the only one associated participated in a meeting at who declined to be voluntarily interviewed by your office, is that correct? >> yes. >> did mr. trump, junior, or the staff or counsel indicate any intent to revoke the fifth amendment right against self-incrimination? >> i'm not going to answer that. >> you did who's written questions to the president about his knowledge of the trump tower meeting. you included also asked him about whether or not he had
9:40 pm
directed a false press statement and the president didn't answer at all that question, correct? q-quebec i don't have it in front of me tha but i take yourd for it. >> appendix c. 13 states this much. according to page 440 and two of the report, your investigation found the president in an efficient director in june of 2017 was shown e-mails that set up the trump tower meeting and she told your office that she was, quote, shocked by the e-mails because they looked, quote, really bad. true? >> citation? >> 100 volume two. >> while you are flipping to the page, director mueller, i will tell you on page 99 of volume two, the e-mails in question stated according to the report, the current prosecutor of russia offered to provide the trump campaign with official documents and information that would incriminate hillary and her dealings with russia as part of russia and its government support for mr. trump.
9:41 pm
trump, junior responded if it's what you say, i love it. and he and manafort met with russian attorneys and several of the russian individuals at trump tower on june 9, 2016,." >> generally accurate. >> isn't it true, that your office was told she went multiple times to the president, quote, urge him that they should be fully transparent about the june 9 meeting, quote, but the president each times at no, correct? >> is correct. >> and the reason was because of those e-mails, which the president, quote, believe it wouldn't be leaked, correct? >> generally correct. >> did the president direct ms. hicks to say, quote, trump, junior took a meeting and it was about the adoption, quote, because trump junior's statement to "the new york times," quote, said too much, according to page 102 of volume two.
9:42 pm
>> okay. let me -- let me check one thing. yes. >> and the president still directed her to say the meeting was only about russian adoption, correct? >> correct. despite knowing that to be true. i will yield back the balance of my time. >> mr. mueller, you've been asked over here on the far right, you've been asked a lot of questions today. to be frank, you performed as most of us expected. you stuck by the report and declined to answer many questions on both sides. as a closing for the republican side, i know you are glad to get the closing, i want to summarize what we have heard and what we know. you spent two years and nearly 30 million taxpayer dollars and unlimited resources to prepare for hundred 50 page report which you described today as very thorough. millions of americans today maintain genuine concerns about her work in large part because
9:43 pm
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 that teams the six excuse become if my time. that team donated more than $60,000 to the hillary clinton campaigning for democratic candidates. your team also included peter and lisa page which have been discussed today and they had a text messages that confirmed the openly mocked and hated donald trump and his supporters and they vowe found to take them ou. you were advanced earlier this morning, quote, can you give an example other than donald trump with the justice department determined an investigative person wasn't exonerated so what wasn't determined innocent. you answered i cannot. that is unprecedented. the president believed from the very beginning that you and your special counsel team had serious conflicts. this is stated in a college for everybody. yet, president trump cooperated
9:44 pm
fully in the investigation. he knew he had done nothing wrong and encouraged all witnesses to cooperate with the investigation and produced more than 1.4 million pages of information and allowed over 40 witnesses or directly affiliated with the white house or his campaign. your report acknowledges on page 61 volum61 volume two at a thatf evidence exists of the president telling many people privately, quote of the president was concerned about the impact of the russian investigation on his ability to govern and to address important foreign relations issues that matter to national security. page 174, volume two of the report also acknowledges that the supreme court has held, quote the president's removal powers or after venus with respect to principal officers, that his officers who must be appointed by the president and report to him directly. the president's exclusive and elemental power of removal of those principal officers furthers the president's ability to ensure that the laws are faithfully executed, quote. i would even include the attorney general. in spite of all of that, nothing ever happened to sto stop or ime
9:45 pm
your special counsel's investigation. nobody was hired by the president, nothing was curtailed coming into the investigation continued unencumbered for 22 months. as he finally concluded in volume one the evidence, quote, did not establish that the president was involved in an underlining crime relating to the russian interference, and the evidence, quote, did not establish the president or those close to him were involved in any russian conspiracies or have an unlawfuwerehaving unlawful rp with any russian official, quote. over those 22 months of your investigation dragged on longer than the presence became increasingly frustrated as many american people did with its effects on the country, and in his ability to govern. he can do this to his lawyer and close associates and shared frustrations as we know on twitter. while the president 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 affect anybody's testimony. he never demanded an investigation or demanded that
9:46 pm
you be terminated and he never misled congress, the doj or the special counsel. those are undisputed facts. there will be a lot of discussion i predict today. frustration around the country of effect you wouldn't answer any questions about the origins of this whole charade which was the infamous christopher steel dossier now totally bogus even though it is listed specifically referenced in the report. as the hearing is concluded, we apparently had no comment on that from you. there's one primary reason why you were called here today, and by the democratic majority of the committee. our colleagues on the other side of the idle just want public will cover. they desperatel desperately wano today to talk and they should impeach the president, but the one thing you had said very havy clearly today is that your report is complete and and thorh interview completely agree with and stand by its recommendations in all of its content is that right? >> true. >> one more important question. your report doesn't recommend impeachment, doesn't? >> i'm not going to talk about recommendations. >> it does not conclude that an
9:47 pm
impeachment would be appropriate. >> 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. thank you for your service to the country. i'm glad that this charade will come to an end and we can get back to the important work of the committee for the country. with that, i will go back. >> the gentleman yields that. i want to announce the intent was to conclude the hearing around 11:45. all republican members asked her questions that we have a few remaining democratic members. they will be limiting their questions and those respected within 15 minutes. the gentle lady from georgia is recognized. >> thank you mr. chairman and director mueller. your investigation to the russian attack on democracy and obstruction of justice was extraordinarily productive. and for two years in charge at least 37 people or entities with crime. you convicted seven individuals, five of whom were taught
9:48 pm
campaign aides and charges remain pending against more than two dozen russian persons or entities against others. let me start with the five trump campaign or administration aides that you convicted. would you agree with me that they are paul manafort, the campaign manager, rick gates, the deputy campaign manager, michael flynn, president trump's former national security adviser, michael cohen, the president's personal attorney for george papadopoulos, president trump's former campaign foreign policy adviser >> right. >> into the associate will face trial later this year, correct? and that person is roger stone. >> correct. >> i'm not certain what you said about stone, but he's in another court system as i indicated before. >> exactly. >> i don't want to discuss -- >> correct. and there are many other charges, correct? >> correct. >> i just want to thank you in
9:49 pm
my limited time today and your team and the work you did and your dedication. dedication. in less than two years for 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's still more that we have to learn. despite facing unfair attacks by the president, and even here today how your work has been substantive and fair. it's lat laid the critical foundation, and for that i thank you. i think you. with that, i yield back the balance of my time. hispanic the gentleman from arizona. hispanic i'm disappointed that some have questioned your motives throughout this process, and i want to take a moment to remind the american people with who you are in your exemplary service to the country. you are a marine. you served in vietnam and earned a bronze star and purple heart.
9:50 pm
>> correct. >> which president appointed you to become the attorney for massachusetts? >> putsch senator? >> which president? >> i think that was president ford. according to my notes it was president ronald reagan had the honor to do so. under his administration did you servserved as the assistant atty general in charge of the doj criminal division? >> which president? that would be george bush the first. >> george h. w. bush. you took a job at a prestigious law firm and after a couple of years, you did something extraordinary. you left a lucrative position to reenter public service, prosecuting homicide here in washington, d.c.; is that correct? >> correct. >> when you're named director of the fbi, which president first appointed you? >> blush.
9:51 pm
>> into the senate confirmed with a vote of 98-0. >> surprisingly. [laughter] >> and you were sworn in as director just one week before the september 11 attacks. you helped to protect this nation against another attack. you did such an outstanding job that when your tenure term expired, the senate unanimously voted to extend your term for another two years, correct? punic true. >> when you were asked in 2017 to take the job as the special counsel, the president had just fired fbi director james comey. the justice department and fbi were in turmoil. you must have known there would be an extraordinary challenge. why did you accept? >> i'm not going to get into that. that is off the tracks. >> is a challenge. >> some people have attacked a political motivation of your team have even suggested that your investigation was a witchhunt. would you consider people to join your team, did you ever even once asked about their political affiliation?
9:52 pm
>> 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. >> if i may interject, the capabilities that we have shown in the report that have been discussed here today was the result of a team of agents and lawyers who were absolutely exemplary and hired because of the value they could contribute to getting the job done and getting it done expeditiously. >> in reading the report and listening to someone today cominthe testimony todaycoming . there were circumstances where you could have filed charges against other people mentioned in the report but declined. not every prosecutor does that. certainly not one on a witchhunt. those in your team intensified as the report is damning. and i believe you did uncover substantial evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors. misdemeanors. let me also say something else that you were right about. the only remedy for this situation is for congress to take action. i yelle yield back.
9:53 pm
>> the gentleman yield back. the gentle lady from pennsylvania. >> good morning from director mueller. gotcha, sorry. [laughter] >> thank you. i wanted to ask you about public confusion connected with attorney general bars release of the report. i will be quoting your march 27 letter. in a letter, and several other times committed to convey to the attorney general that the, quote, introductions of executive summaries of the two volume report accurately summarized this office's work and conclusions, quote? >> i would have to say that the letter insult speaks for itself. >> and those were your words in the letter. continuing with the letter you wrote to the attorney general that the summary letter that the department sent to congress and released to the public late in the afternoon of march 24 did not fully capture the context,
9:54 pm
nature and substance of this office's work and conclusions, quote, is that correct? >> i will rely on the letter itself or its terms. >> thank you. what was it about the reports context, nature, substance of the attorney general's butter didn't capture? >> i think we captured that in the march 27 responsive whether. >> and this is from the 27th letter. what were some of the specifics that you saw -- >> i would direct you to the letter itself. >> you finished the letter by saying there is now public confusion about critical aspects as a result of the investigation. could you tell us specifically some of the confusion that you've identified? >> not generally. i go back to the letter speaks for itself. >> could he have avoided confusion if you release he hadd your summary of executive introduction and summary's? >> i don't feel comfortable speculating on that. >> shifting to may 30, the
9:55 pm
general in an interview with cbs news said that you could have reached, quote, a decision as to whether it was criminal activity, quote, on the part of the president. did the attorney general or his staff ever tell you that he thought you should make a decision on whether the president engaged in criminal activity? >> i'm not going to speak to what the attorney general is thinking or saying. >> if the attorney general has directed you or ordered you to make a decision on whether the president engaged in criminal activity, would you have so done? >> i can't answer that question >> i thank you for being here. i agree with your march 27 letter. there was public confusion and the president took full advantage of the confusion by falsely claiming your report found no obstruction. let us be clear on your report did not exonerate the president. instead, it provided substantial evidence of obstruction of justice leaving the congress to
9:56 pm
do its duty. we shall not shrink from that duty. i yield back. >> the gentle lady you expect. >> i have a point to make. over on the left. >> was the point of this hearing to get mr. mueller to recommend impeachment? >> that is not a fair point. the gentle lady from florida. >> mr. chairman, mr. chairman? >> the gentle lady is recognized. >> thank you for coming. you are a patriot. >> volume two, h. 150. well, the president's effort to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful, but that is largely because the person who surrounded the president declined to carry out orders for speech at the request, is that right? >> that is accurate. that is what we found. >> and you are basically referring to senior advisers that disobeyed the president orders like white house counsel don mcgann, the former trump
9:57 pm
campaign manager? >> [inaudible] >> page 158, white house counsel don mcgann, quote committed until the acting attorney general of the special counsel must be removed but was prepared to resign over the president orders. you also explained that an attempt to obstruct justice does not have to succeed it to be a crime, right? >> true. >> simply attempting to obstruct justice can be a crime, correct? >> yes. >> so even though the president's aides refused to carry out his orders to interfere with your investigation, that is not a defense to the obstruction of justice, isn't? >> i am not going to speculate. >> to reiterate, simply trying to obstruct justice can be a crime, correct? >> yes. >> you said the president's efforts to influence the investigations were, quote,
9:58 pm
mostly unsuccessful, and because not all of his efforts were unsuccessful, right? >> you are reading into what he had written in the report. >> i was going to ask you if you could just tell me which ones you have in mind that were successful when you wrote that? >> i'm going to pass on that. >> director mueller, today we talked a lot about the separate acts by this president, but you also wrote in the report, quote, the overall pattern of the president's conduct towards the investigations can shed light on the nature of the president acts into the inferences can be drawn about his intent, correct? >> accurate from the report. >> right. page 158, again, i think it's important for everyone to note that the presidents conduct had a significant change when he realized that it was the
9:59 pm
investigations were conducted to investigate his obstruction acts. so in other words, when the american people are deciding whether the president committed obstruction of justice, they need to look at all of the president's conduct and overall pattern of behavior, is that correct? >> [inaudible] >> director mueller and the doctor also, i will designate that -- i've certainly made up my mind about what we have reviewed today meets the elements of obstruction including whether there was corrupt intent and what is clear is anyone else including some members of congress would have been charged with crying for these acts. we wouldn't have allowed this behavior from any of the previous 44 presidents. we should not allow it now or for the future to protect our democracy, and yes, we will
10:00 pm
continue to investigate because as you clearly state the end of the report, no one is above the law. i will yield back my time. .. the opinion says that the constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accused a sitting president of wandering. that process, other than the criminal justice system are accusing him of wrongdoing is
10:01 pm
that impeachment? >> not going to come in on that. >> in your report, you wrote you did not want to potentially preempt constitutional processes for addressing presidential conduct. for the nonlawyers in the room, what did you think i potentially preempt constitutional processes? >> i'm not going to explain that. >> that is coming from page one of volume two in the footnote is the reference to this. what are those constitutional processes? >> i think you mentioned at least one. >> impeachment? >> i won't comment. >> that is one of the processes listed in the report in the footnote of 42. your document reports the president interferes with your investigation. you say in your report that with
10:02 pm
interfering with congressional investigation with corrupt intent can also constitute obstruction of justice. >> true. >> the president told us he intends to fight all subpoenas. his continued efforts to interfere for potential misconduct reinforce the importance of the process, the constitution requires two formally accused a sitting president of wrongdoing. in this, it's been very helpful to this committee, it's constitutional duty to determine whether to recommend articles of impeachment against the president. i agree with you that we all have a vital role in holding this president accountable. more than that, i believe we, in congress, have a duty to demand accountability and safeguard our
10:03 pm
issues nation's highest duty. from everything i've heard you here today say, it's clear anyone else would have been prosecuted based on evidence available in your report. it now falls on us to hold trump accountable. thank you for being here. i yield back. >> i want to think the chairman. we did both get in times. mr. mueller, thank you for being here. >> thank you. we thank you for attending today's hearing. before we conclude, i asked everyone to remain seated and quiet. while the witness exits the room.
10:04 pm
>> without objection, all numbers have five minutes, written questions for the witness. without objection, the hearing is now adjourned. [inaudible conversations] >> after three hours and about 40 minutes, he concludes his testimony before the house judiciary committee. in approximately 30 minutes, he will be back in a witness chair before the house intelligence committee. there are 22 members on that. they will get their chance to ask questions about independent.
10:05 pm
we want to take you outside of the hearing room with a oversight reform committee chairman elijah is talking to reporters. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] made a political case, put it in the paper, but it on fire ring the doorbell and ran.
10:06 pm
>> as consistent. >> watch his testimony now on c-span and c-span2. it's airing continuously. russian interference on the election on c-span. the investigation on c-span2. to watch hearings on demand. the video is searchable by speaker with key points highlighted. >> if you want more information on members of congress, order the congressional erector available online at c-span >> following robert mueller's testimony before the house judiciary committee, members shared their thoughts. >> i would like to suggest we haveel


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on