tv Robert Mueller Testifies Before House Judiciary Committee CSPAN July 24, 2019 11:50pm-3:22am EDT
>> testifying on capitol hill about the russian investigation into the published report released by his office. the house judiciary hearing was the first of two hearings that focus on the reports findings relating to the trump administration and allegations of obstruction of justice. >> [inaudible conversations]
hearing on oversight of the report and the investigation into the russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. i will now recognize myself for a brief opening statement. thank you for being here. i want to say just a few words about the themes today. responsible for the coming integrity and accountability. your career for example is a model of responsibility. you are a decorated marine officer. awarded a purple heart and bronze star for valor. he usurped in the department of justice and immediate aftermath of 9/11 is the director of the fbi. two years ago you returned to public service to lead the investigation into russian interference for the 2016 elections. you conducted the investigation was remarkable integrity. for 22 months, you never commented in public about your work even when you were
subjected to repeated and grossly unfair personal attacks. instead of having your indictments spoke for you and an astonishing detail. over the course of your investigation, you've obtained criminal indictments against 37 people identities. you've secured the conviction of president trump's campaign chairman, the deputy campaign manager, the national security adviser in his personal lawyer among others. in the poll manafort case alone you recovered as much as with the $2 million through the course of the investigation to the taxpayers pushing zero. and in the report, you offered the country accountability as well. in volume one you find the russian government attacks our 2016 elections in a sweeping and a systematic fashion and that they were designed to benefit the campaign. volume two through the separate
incidences of obstruction of justice where in your words president trump attempted to exert influence over your investigation. the president's behavior included, as i quote from your report, public attacks on the investigation, no public efforts to control it and efforts in both public and private to encourage witnesses not to cooperate. among the most shocking of these incidences, president trump ordered his counsel to have you fired and then to lie and deny that it happened. you ordered the former campaign manager to convince the attorney general to step in and limit your work and attempted to prevent witnesses from cooperating with your investigation. although the department policy you made clear that he is not exonerated.
any other person that acted in this way would have been charged with crimes. and in this nation not even the president is above the law which brings me to this committee's work, responsibility, integrity and accountability. these are the marks by which we serve on this committee and will be measured as well. we have the response ability to address the evidence you've uncovered and we recognize as much when you said the constitution requires the process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing. that begins with the work of this committee. we will do this work because
there must be accountability for the conduct described in your report especially as it relates to the president. thank you again and we look forward to your testimony. it is now my pleasure to welcome the gentleman from georgia mr. collins for his opening statement. >> thank you mr. chairman. for two years leading up to the release of the report and three months since americans were first told what to expect and then what to believe. it was in plain sight even if the special counsel didn't find it. when it's provided no one was conspired with learning the depth of the malice towards america we are here to ask serious questions about the work, and we will do that after an extended investigation marking the end of the involvement in the investigation to close in april.
the burden of proof for the accusations are extremely high and especially of the special counsel's service. we are told this began as an inquiry into whether russia meddled in our election. you concluded that they did. they tricked campaign financiers and releasing information and also reviewed if the president sought assistance from the candidacy. he concluded that he did not. in fact the report concludes no one collaborate or conspired with the russians. the president watched the investigation of this in his guilt while he knew the extent of his innocence. volume two, the report details the president's reaction to the frustrating investigations business and was established early on.
the president's attitude towards the investigation was understandably negative, yet the president abused his authority to close the investigation. he asked his lawyer to disqualify mr. mueller from the job, but he did not shut down the investigation. the president knew he was innocent. those are the facts of the mueller report. russia meddled in the election, the president did not conspire, and nothing that we here today will change those facts. one element of the story remains. at the beginning of the fbi investigation into president. i look forward to the testimony about what he found during his review of the origins of the investigation and in addition, the inspector general continues to review how the baseless gossip can be used to launch an fbi investigation against a citizen. individually, a president. those results will be released coming and we need to learn from them to ensure that government intelligence and law enforcement power is never used again and turn on a private citizen or a potential candidate as a result of the leanings of a handful of
fbi agents. the origins and conclusions of the investigation are the same, what it means to be american. every american has a voice in the democracy we must protect the sanctity of their voice by combating the election interference. every american enjoys the presumption of innocence, and guaranteeing the due process. if we carry nothing of anything away today, it must be that we increase our vigilance against before an election interference while we ensure they do not organize their power against the constitutional rights guaranteed to every u.s. citizen. ... >> on a bipartisan basis with
many of my friends sitting on the dais with me today. however this year because of the majority of the dislike of this president and his investigation causes us to accomplish nothing except talking about the problems of the country but the border is on fire and everything else has stopped for go this hearing is long overdue for go we need to let the truth bring us confidence and i hope mister chairman this brings closure and i yelled back. >> i will now introduce today's witness. robert mueller served as the director of the fbi from 2001 to 2013 most recently served as special counsel department of justice overseeing of russian involvement in the
investigation of elections. is 80 from the university of virginia serving as deputy special counsel on the investigation we welcome our distinguished witness thank you for participating in today's hearing. so please rise i will spare you in. major right hand. do you swear and affirm under penalty of perjury the testimony will give is the best to your beliefs so help you god? the witness answer the affirmative and please be seated. please note your written statement will be entered into the record in its entirety please summarize your testimony for five minutes you may begin. >> good morning chairman nadler.
ranking member collins and the members of the committee. as you know may 2017 the attorney general asked me to serve as special counsel i undertook that role because i believed it was apparent tantamount interest to the nation to see if there is an adversary interfering in the presidential election. as the acting attorney general said at the time the appointment was necessary in order for the american people to the full confidence in the outcome. my staff and i carry out this assignment with that critical objective in mind with integrity so that the public would have full confidence in the outcome. the order above appointing me to investigate russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
this included investigating any links or coordination between the russian government and individuals associated it also included investigating efforts if they would appear to obstruct the investigation. throughout the investigation i continually address the teams we had assembled. first we needed to do our work as thoroughly as possible and expeditiously as possible. within the public interest for our investigation to complete and not last one day longer than necessary. second, the investigation needed to be conducted securely and with absolute integrity. our team would not leak or take other actions to compromise the integrity of the workforce. all work was based on facts and the law.
during the course of our investigation we charge more than 30 defendants with federal crimes including 12 officers of the russian military. seven defendants convicted or pled guilty. with those charges that we brought some are pending today the indictments contain allegations and they are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. in addition to the criminal charges we brought come as required by the justice department regulations, we submitted a confidential report to the attorney general at the conclusion of our investigation. the results of our work and the reasons for charging and declaration of decisions. the attorney general later made the report largely public. as you know i made a few
limited remarks about the report with a special counsel's office may of this year and they bear emphasis and first the investigation found the russian government interfered in our election in a systematic fashion. and second investigation did not establish members of the trump campaign conspired with the russian government and the election interference activities. if you want to address collusion which is not a legal term focusing on whether the evidence was sufficient to charge anyone on the campaign to take part in a criminal conspiracy and it has not. third, the investigation of efforts to obstruct the investigation and life
investigation - - investigators was critical. obstruction of justice strikes at the core of the government's effort to find the truth and hold others accountable. finally it was described in volume two of our report we investigated a series of actions by the president toward the investigation. based on justice department policy and principles of fairness, we decided we would not make a determination whether to the president committed a crime. that was our decision and it remains our decision today. let me say a further word about my appearance today. it is unusual for a prosecutor to testify about a criminal investigation. given my role as a prosecutor there are reasons why my testimony will necessarily be limited. first, public testimony has several ongoing matters. some of these matters are
judicial orders of limited disclosure of information to protect the fairness of the proceedings. and consistent with long-standing justice department policy it would be inappropriate for me to comment in any way to affect the ongoing matter. with those deliberations at the office and these are those that i respect the department head discuss the restrictions on my testimony. and therefore cannot answer questions about certain areas that i know are of public interest. for example i am unable to address questions of the initial opening of the fbi russia investigation which what took place months before my appointment or matters
related to the dossier these are subject of review by the department any questions on these topics should be directed to the fbi or justice department. as i explained when we close the special counsel's office today with findings and analysis through those decisions that we made to conduct an extensive investigation for two years and then to scrutinize it we do not intend to summarize the results and as a set on may 29 the report is my testimony and i will stick with that. as stated in may will not
commit the actions of the attorney general or of congress to be appointed as a prosecutor and i intend to adhere to that role into the department standards. am joined today by the chip deputy special counsel who has extensive experience as a prosecutor and the fbi where he served as my chief of staff. he was responsible for the day-to-day oversight of the investigation conducted by our office. i also want to again say thank you to the attorneys and fbi agents and analysts and professional staff who helped us conduct this investigation in a fair and independent manner. individuals to spend two years working on this matter with
the highest integrity. let me say one more thing. over the course of my career i have seen a number of challenges in our democracy. with the effort to interfere in our election is among the most serious. and as i said on may 29, this deserves the attention of every american. thank you mister chairman. >> thank you know we will proceed under the five minute rule with questions i begin by recognizing myself for five minutes. mister mueller, the president has repeatedly claimed your report found there was no obstruction that is completely and totally exonerating him. that is not what your report said is it. >> correct it is not. >> on page two of your report you wrote if we had confidence after a thorough investigation of facts that the president clearly did not commit
obstruction of justice we would so state -based on the facts and the legal standards however we are unable to reach that judgment. does that say there was no obstruction quick. >> know. >> you were unable to conclude the president did not commit obstruction of justice. >> no. at the outset we had determined that when it came to the president's culpability we needed to go forward only after taking into account the opinions that a seated president cannot be indicted. >>. >> what about total exoneration cracks did you
totally exonerate the president quick. >> no. >> so in fact you did not exonerate the president. >> the investigation actually found multiple acts by the president capable of exerting undue influence over law enforcement investigations including russian interference. is that correct. >> correct. >> so now can you explain what that finding means so the american people can understand it quick. >> the finding indicates that the president was not exculpated for the axial edge of the committed. >> in fact you were talking about the incidents in which the president sought to use outside of usual channels to exert undue influence. is that right quick.
>> correct. >> in my correct on page 70 wrote "the president became aware they were investigated in the obstruction of justice inquiry. at that point he engaged in the second page of condit nonpublic efforts to control efforts in public and private to encourage witnesses not to cooperate with the investigation". so president trump exerts undue influence on your investigation and testified after he became aware after he personally was investigated. >> i stick with the language in front of you. >> from page seven volume two. >> is it correct that if the president committed the crime of obstruction you could not publicly state that?
>> repeat the question. >> if it is correct that you had concluded the president committed the crime of obstruction you could not publicly state that. >> the statement that you would not indict under the oc opinion a sitting president cannot be indicted. >>. >> under department of justice policy the president could be prosecuted for obstruction of justice after he leaves office. >> correct sue mckenney's senior white house official refused to be interviewed. >> i don't believe so. >> let me take that back perk i would have to look but i am not certain that is the case directed the president refuse quick. >> yes civic is it true you
tried for more than a year to secure an interview with the president. >> yes. >> that you advise the team it is vital to the investigation? >> yes. >> is it true you also stated it is in the interest of the presidency and the public for an interview to take place quick. >> yes. >> that he still refused to sit for an interview by your team? >> true. >> did you ask him to provide written answers under those obstruction of justice claim. >> yes. >> did he provide any answers to a single question if he engaged in obstruction of justice. >> i have to check on that i am not certain. >> we are grateful you're here and having reviewed your work that that conduct would be prosecuted and to the american
people in this committee because nobody is above the law. i now recognize the gentleman from georgia. >> i know many of questions which you just answered so i will go through these fairly quickly and i know that i talk fast. you said any testimony from your office does not go beyond the report so you said the word speaks for itself i would not provide information beyond that before congress do stand by that statement. >> yes. >> in may 2019 did you conduct any additional information in your role as special counsel quick. >> in the wake of the report quick. >> since the closing of the office. >> did you do any new interviews or appointments
quick. >> you can confirm your no longer special counsel. >> correct. >> at any time under investigation was it curtailed or stopped quick. >> no. >> you won't provide any questions by anybody here today quick. >> no. >> investigative team with the numbers are those accurate quick. >> 40 fbi agents 19 lawyers and forensic accountants. >> generally yes. >> is it also true you issued 228 search warrants and those order for communication records. >> that was a little fast for m me. >> in your report a lot of subpoenas. [laughter] will. >> a lot of search warrants. [laughter]
so you were very thorough. >> yes. thank you. >> is it true the information gathered the evidence gathered did not establish the president was involved in the underlying crime with russian interference as stated in volume one. >> we found insufficient evidence of the president's culpability. >> that is a yes. >> yes. >> isn't it true the president was not established that active measure with that unlawful relationship with any russian official volume to page 66. >> i will give you the answer of the report.
>> that is a yes. >> so to be conspire orni coordinated with volume one page two and page 173. >> yes thank you. although the report states the terms of the conspiracy is in the coquille context are collusion and conspiracy synonymous terms quick. >> collusion is not a specific offense in the federal criminal law. but conspiracy is. in the colloquial context collusion and conspiracy are essentially synonymous terms. correct? page number 180 you said it is synonymous as set forth in the statute 371 and here today you
choose your words carefully are you testifying something different than your reportus quick. >> i'm asking if you can give me the citations so i can look at that and evaluate whether it is. >> you stated i.c.e. gave it back to you you say collusion and conspiracy were not synonymousta terms but on page 180 of volume one it says collusion is synonymous with the crime as set a forth in the us statute. you chose your words carefully are you contradicting your report right now? >> not when i read itou. >> if you look at. the languag. >> i am reading your report it is a yes or no answer.
page 180 quick. >> it is from your report. >> the court says yes so now we can put to bed the collusion and conspiracy so did you ever look into those that were investigative or other countries investigated quick. otherill not discuss matters. >> i yield back. >> the gentle lady from california. >> director mueller as you have heard we are mostly talking about obstruction of justice today but the investigation of russia's attack which started your movestigation is quitere evidence a it is serious. to what extent did the russian government interfere in the 2016 presidential election?
>> coming to computer crimes and the like. >> so you wrote in volume one the russian government it is sweeping and systematic that paul manafort shared with the russian operative with internal polling data is that correct? >> correct. >> also discussing the status of the trump campaign in the manafort strategy months before that meeting manafort caused internal data to be shared and that continued after some period of time after the august meetin
meeting. >> that's accurate. >> your investigationon found that with manafort's plan to win the election with the campaign's messaging and internal polling data and also a discussion about the battleground states which was identified as michigan and wisconsin. >> did your investigation determine who should be shared quick. >> i would direct you to the report. >> we don't have that redacted version and why we should get that for volume one based on how does thetion russian government use this to further it sweeping a systematic interference in the election? >>. >> did your investigation find
you would benefit from one of the candidates running quick. >> yes. >> which candidate? >> it would be trump. >> correct. w the trump campaign is not exactly reluctant but it expected it would benefit electorally from the information stolen through those russian efforts. >> correct. >> the r investigation determination regarding its frequency with which the trump campaign made contact with the russian governmentg. >> i would have to refer you. >> 126 contacts between russians and the trump campaigngn officials or their
associates. >> iff cannot say. i understand that statistic. >> i appreciate your being here and your report that with your testimony and the report the american people have learned several things. first, the russians wanted trump to win. second, russians went on the sweeping cybercampaign they hacked the dnc and got the democratic game plan for the election. the russian campaign chairman met with russian agents repeatedly giving them internal data, polling and messaging in the battleground states. so while the russians wereng buying ads permitting propaganda to influence the outcome of the election, they were supplied with insider information that they stole
from hacking through the dnc and by the trump campaign chairman mister manafort. my colleagues with those efforts undertaken to keep this information from becoming public but it's important for the american people to understand the gravity of the underlying problem that you have uncovered and with that i yield back. >> the gentle lady you said on volume number one on the issue of conspiracy the special counsel determined that members of the trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the russian government and in volume two that to claim the special counsel did not make a determination with a crime committed is that they are
quick. >> yes sir. >> so to not make a traditional declaration co report agreesl as follows the evidence we have obtained present day difficult issue preventing us from determining no criminal conduct occurs. it does mean they commit the crime it does not mean they exonerate him. at all times what they operated under was department of justice policies so wished that set forward that legal standard and then that is not conclusivelyed determined. >> repeat the last part. >> which policy has the legal standard if the person is not exonerated but criminal
conductce is not determined? where does that doj policy that says that? i will maker? it easier. can you give me an example other than donald trump that the investigative person was not exoneratedmp and innocence was not conclusively determined quick. >> i cannotd but. >> time is short i have five minutes let's leave that you can't find it because it doesn't exist. the special counsel's job nowhere does it say you are to conclusivelyly determine that trump was in the center of the special counsel report it's not in any of the documents or in your appointment order or your regulation or the manual or as a federal prosecution nowhere do those words appear together because respectfully, respectfully it tonot your job
obstruction of justice under the special counsel made neither a prosecution decision or a declaration decision. you made no decision you told us this morning and in the report. so a you didn't follow the specl council regulation. itat clearly says write a confidential report of the decisions reached. nowhere here does that say write a report about decisions that were not reached. you wrote 180 pages about decisions that were not reached, about potential crimes that were not charged and were decided and respectfully by doing that, you managed to violate every principle and the most sacred of traditions about prosecutors not offering extra prosecutorial and analysis of potential crimes that are charged.
they do dramatic readings from this report and volume two of the report wasn't authorized under the law. it doesn't exist at the justice department into was written in every principle aboutep extra prosecutorial commentary. i agree with veteran and when he said donald trump is not above the law. he shouldn't be below the law which is where volume two of the report can. >> thank you mr. chairman. your exchange with the gentle lady from california demonstrates what is at stake.
there is a sufficient statue and legal basis to further investigate potential obstruction of justice issues involving the president. is that correct? we determined there was a sufficient basis to investigate the potential obstruction of justice issues involving the president, is that correct? they were investigated by the team is that correct?
ucpage 157 of volume to describe those and they range from the president's effort to curtail the special counsel's investigation into the further efforts to have the attorney general take over the investigation, the president's orders to deny to fire the special counsel and many others. is that correct?
>> that would include the possible acts of obstruction that he'd investigated. >> i directed to report how it is characterized. but he go to the screen again. for each of those ten potential instances of obstruction of justice, you analyze three elements of the obstruction of justice, and act, nexus between the proceedings and corrupt intent. on page 178 volume two of the report you wrote about the intent actions by the president to end a criminal investigation for the legal liability to constitute a core example of corruptly motivated conduct is that correct? >> yes. even with the evidence you did find is that true as you note on page 76, volume two, the evidence does indicate that a thorough fbi investigation would uncover facts about the campaign
and the president i personally s that relevant to the obstruction of justice obstruction of justice can be motivated by the noncriminal to protect against investigations to the gray area or to avoid personal embarrassment is that correct? can you repeat the question now that i have language on the screen? te underlining the criminal liability falls into a gray area and is it true that was the
languageas on the screen. does the conviction of obstruction of justice that results potentially enable the fears of time? >> yes. can you repeat the question to make sure that i have it accurate? does it allow a lifetime in jail if convicted? >> thank you very much mr. chairman. let me begin by reading the special counsel regulations by which you were appointed. it reads at the conclusion of the special counsel's work, he
or she shall provide the attorneattorney general with a confidential report explaining the prosecution or the disposition decisions reached by the special counsel, is that correct? okay. when the regulation uses the word shall provide, does that mean that the individual is in fact obligated to provide what's being demanded by the regulation or statute meaning you don't have any wiggle room? >> i had to look more closely at the statute. >> i just read it to you. volume two, page one your report states we determined not to make the traditional prosecutorial judgment, correct? >> i'm trying to find a citation.to >> can you speak more directly into the microphone? volume two, page one it says we
determined not to make additional prosecutorial judgment right from the beginning. since you decided you couldn't prosecute a sitting president naming president trump, why do we have all of this investigation that the other side is talking about when you know that you were not going to prosecute him? >> we don't know where the investigation is going to a line in the opinion itself. it says that you can continue the investigation even though you are not going to invite the president. >> okay. well, if you've are not going to invite the president, then you just continue fishing. that is my observation. i'm sure you can invite other people that' but not the sitting president. right?
>> that's true. there are 182 pages in rall evidentiary area material including hundreds of references by the fbi for individuals that have never been cross-examined or with the special counsel's governing regulation w to explan the prosecution or the decisions reached, correct? >> i'm reading from my question. >> if you have 182 pages of evidentiary area material, hundreds of references to the 302 that have never been cross-examined in which didn't comply with the governing ngulation to explain the prosecution or declaration decisions reached. >> this is one of those areas which i declined to discuss. >> okay. >> i would direct you to the
report itself. >> 182 pages of it. let l me switch gears. mr. shadeggit and i are on this committee during the clinton impeachment and while i wreck it is that the independent counsel statute under which kenneth starr operated as different from the special counsel statute, he and on a number of occasions in his report stated that presiden clinton's actions may have risen to impeachable conduct recognizing it's up to the house of representatives to determine what conduct is impeachable. you never use the term raising impeachable conduct for the instances the gentleman from texas brought in. is it true that there is nothing in volume two of the report that saysbr the president may have engaged in impeachable conduct?
>> we have studiously kept in the center of our investigation our mandate goes to developing the report. >> there's a couple of statements that you've made that says that this is not for me to decide if the implication is that if thisha committee to decide. there was no statute to prevent you from using the word inac impeachable conduct, and i go back to what mr. radcliffe said, and that is innocent until proven guilty. is up. >> the time is expired. the gentleman from tennessee. >> thank you, mr. chair.
first, i would like to do a brief statement about your career. it's aus model of rectitude andi think you. based upon your investigation, how did the president trump react to your appointment as the u.special counsel? >> i will send you the report where that is stated. >> page 78, volume two, which reads sessions told the president of the special counsel has been appointed to. the president slumped back in his chair and said, quote, oh my god this is terrible. this is the end of my presiden presidency. did they tell you about that talk? please speak into the microphone. e> sure. my apologies. i am not certain that the person who originally copied that
quote. >> okay concessions apparently said it and it was in the notes that hetl wasn't pleased with te special counsel and particularly you because of your outstanding reputation. the attorney general recused himself because of his role in the 2016 campaign. is that not correct? recusal means they cannot be involved inn the investigation. is that correct? >> that is the effect of the recusal. >> anothersa appointee, as you know mr. sessions plus, mr. rosenstein became in charge of. wasn't attorney general sessions following the advice of the department of justice ethics folks when he recused himself from the investigation? >> yes. >> and the president immediately expressed their displeasure to follow the rules to recuse himself from the oversight of the investigation is that not correct? >> that is accurate based on what is written in the report.
>> the action to the recusal as it is noted in the report, the presidenten was mad as he had er seen him and he'd scream that began about how the concessions was. >> that is in the report, yes. >> despite knowing that t sessis was supposed to come i to, not e study involved in the investigation the president still tried to get the attorney general to enriquez himself after you were appointed special counsel. is that correct? >> yes. >> your investigation found sometime after your appointment, the president called sessions at his home and asked if he would enriquez himselfand is that not true? >> that's true. >> it's not the first time that he asked him to hungry queues debate unrecuse himself? he suggested that he should do this act.
and then when michael flynn a few days after flynn entered a guilty plea for lying to federal agency indicated his intent to cooperate in the investigation, trump asked to speak to sessions alone again in the oval office and again asked to sessions to unrecuse himself, true? >> i would have to refer to the report for that. >> do you know of any point in thwhenthe president personally s anger or frustration at sessions? >> i would have to pass on that. >> page 78, volume two the president told sessions you were supposed to protect the. you were supposed to protect me, or words to that effect. >> correct. >> is the attorney general supposed to be the attorney general of the united states of america, or for the president? >> the united states of america. >> thank you, sir. you wrot wrote that protected te president repeatedly wanted to
unrecuse himself for the investigation is that correct? >> i would rely on the report. >> i'm not going to speculate. he would have greater latitude that would enable hi them to do other things. >> usyou said the president believes in the protective role from the ongoing investigation. regardless of all that i want to thank you for your rectitude and service to the country. it's clear from your report and the evidence the president wanted the general to violate the justice department by taking over your investigation and improperly interfering in its ticket debate could protect himselfus and his campaign. your findings are so important because nobody is above the law.
i yield back the balance of my time. >> director mueller, my democratic colleagues were very disappointed in yourio report ad expecting you to say something along the lines of cheers by president trump deserves to be impeached that strategy had to change and now they allege there's plenty of evidence in the report to impeach the president of the american people just didn't read it and this hearing today is their last best hope to build up some sort of groundswell. that's really what it's all about today. on page 103, volume two of the report when discussing the june, 2016 trump tower meeting, you referenced the firm that produced a steel reporting was
fusion gps is that correct? >> and you are on page 103. >> that's correct, volume two. when you talk about the firm that produced the steel reporting in the name of the firm that produced that was fusion gps. >> i'm not familiar with that. >> it's not a trick question. fusion gps produced the opposition research document widely known as the steel dossier and the owner was someone named glenn simpson. >> this is outside of my purview. >> he was never mentioned in the 448 page report, was he? >> at south side of m southsidew and handled by others. >> he was not.
448 pages o and the owner of i e fusion gps but did the steel dossier that started all of this, he's not mentioned in there. at the same time, they were working to collect opposition research on donald trump from foreign sources on behalf of the clinton campaign and the democraticre national committeet also was representing a russian-based company which had been sanctioned by the u.s. government. are you aware of that? one of the key players in the june, 2016 trump tower meeting was that who you describe as a russiais arussian attorney thatd for the repeal of the act. they were working with none other than glenn simpson and fusion gps since early 2014.
are you aware of that? you didn't mention the connections. let me move on. nbc news has reported the following, russian lawyer says she first received a supposedly incriminating information she brought to trump tower alleging for none other than glenn simpson. you didn't include that inti the report. >> your report spends 14 pages discussing theof june 9, 2016 trump tower meeting. it would be fair to say that not that you spend significant resources investigating that
meeting? >> i would refer you to the report. >> okay. president trump was not at the meeting. >> in stark contrast to the actions of the trump campaign, we know that the clinton campaign didn't pay together from the persons associated with foreign governments. your report doesn't mention anything and you didn't investigate the connections so let me just ask you this. can you see that from neglecting to mention fusion gps involvement in the campaign to focusing on a brief meeting at thofthe trump tower that producd nothing, to ignore the clinton campaign's own ties to fusion gps by some view your report as a pretty one-sided attack on the president?
>> this is still outside my purview. >> it is by coincidence the things outside of the reports tended to be favorable.ci >> my time is expired. >> i would like to get us back on track. your investigation found president trump directed white housee counsel began to fire you is that correct? >> true. >> and he claimed he wanted to fire you because i suppose it conflicts up in rest. you have no conflict of interest that required your removal isn't the exact? >> and in fact, he advised the president that the asserted conflicts were silly and not real isn't that true? >> i would refer to the report on that. >> pjb five volume two speaks to that.
and also the ethics officials confirmed you had no conflict that would prevent you from serving as the special counsel is that o correct? but despite the department of justice guidance around may 23, 2017, the president, quote, prodded him to complain to the deputy attorney general about these supposed at conflicts of interest. and he declined to call rosenstein telling the president that it would look like it's still trying to meddle in the investigation and knocking out mueller would be another fact used to claim obstruction of justice isn't that correct? >> generally so, yes. >> and in other words, the white house counsel told the president that if he tried to remove you
thatt could be another basis to allege the president was obstructing justice, correct? >> that is generally correct. >> i would like to review what happened on tuesday -- >> do you have a citation? >> yes. volume two, page 81. i would like to review what happened after the president was warned about obstructing justice.e. it's true tuesday june 13, 2017, the president dictated a press statement stating he had no intention of firing you, correct? at the following day, june 14, the media reported for the first time you were investigating the president's obstruction of justice.
nd then after learning foror te first time that he was under investigation the very next day the president issued a series acknowledging the existence of the obstruction investigation and criticizing it isn't that correct? >> generally so.ve >> then on saturday, june 17, 2 days later, the president called him at home from camp david on a saturday to talk about you. isn't that correct? what was the significance about that first weekend phone call that he took from presidentt trump? >> i was going to ask you to rely on what he wrote about. >> page 85, volume two, saturday june 2017, the president called him at home to have special counsel removed.
now, did thehe president called him more than once that they? you've got to do this. correct? >> your investigation and report found that he was perturbed by the presidents request to call to fire him is that correct? >> it was a continuous colloquy. >> team did not want to put himself in the middle of the. he didn't want to have a role in asking the attorney general to
answer the special counsel. >> again i would refer you to the report in the way that it's characterized. >> thank you. volume two, page 85 states that he didn't want to have the attorney general, he didn't want the role trying to acquire the attorney general, so at thisol point i would yield back. >> thank you, mr. chairman. first, let me ask unanimous consent to submit this article for the record. >> without objection. >> who wrote the comments you tt you read through this conference? >> i'm not going to get into that. >> a piece in the washingtonian about comey said basically what he called, you would drop everything you're doing and gave
examples having dinner with your wife they call you an did they u drop everything and go.av if you train or coming down the tracks at least he would be standing on the a tracks with m. you've beenan good friends or we good friend for many years. >> we were business associates. we started at the justice department. >> can work together and not be friends. >> thank you for getting to the answer. before you were appointed as the special counsel, and you talked to him in the preceding six months? >> no. when you were appointed as a special counsel, was president trump's firing something that you anticipated? the internal deliberations.
>> you did not know before he was hired for your team quick. >> know what quick. >> that he hated trump you did not know that peter did not like him before he was part of your team quick. >> i did not know that the one i did find out i acted swiftly. >> there is some discussion how swift that was when did you learn of the ongoing affair with lisa page. >> at the same time. >> did you ever order anybody to investigate the deletion of all their text off of their
government phones quick. >> to be authorized. >> you are not answering my question for go did you order an investigation er into the deletion and reformatting of government phones quick. >> no. there was the ig on one - - investigation ongoing. >> regarding collusion and conspiracy you did not find out if there is any agreement of the trump campaign officials to interfere with us election. >> correct. >> you also note in the report to the element of any of those obstructions that you referenced requires a corrupt state of min mind. >> or intent. >> and if somebody knows they did not conspire with anybody with a russia toeb affect the
election then they seek the justice department and that person comes at them with a special counsel appointed who hires one dozen or more people that hate that person and he knows he is innocent, he is not corruptly acting in order to see that justice is done. what he is doing is not obstructing justice he is pursuing justice that means that you perpetuated that. >> i yield back. >> i take your question. >> mister mueller i would like to get back to your findings d of 2017 there was a bombshell
article that reported the president of the united states personally under investigation for obstruction of justice and you said in your report on page 98 new to r the obstruction the president seeks to have the special counsel removed. then you report you wrote about the white house counsel dodd began regarding the second call you wrote magan recall that the president was direct saying something like tell rod mueller has conflicts and cannot be this special counsel. to say that mueller has to go and call me back when you do it. did magan understand what the president was ordering him to doel quick. >> what we have wrote in the report with characterization. >> it says he understood the president to be saying that the president said the special
counsel has to be removed also that he considered the president's question the inflection point he decided he had to resign. he took action to. is that correct quick. >> and in fact the white house including your reportt? you said he then drove to the office to pack his t belongings and submit his resignation letter. >> that is correct from the report. >> before he resigned however he called the presidents chief of staff and senior advisor steve brannon do you recall what magan told them whatever he said is in the report. >> it is perk on page 87 he recalled that magan said the president asked him to do
crazy expletive crazy stuff. the white house counsel thought the president's request was completely out of bounds. the president asked him to do something crazy and it was wrong and he was prepared to resign overy. it. these are extraordinarily troubling events that you found the white house counsel to be a credible witness. >> correct. >> director mueller the most important question i have for you today is why? why did the president of the united states want you fired? >> i cannot answer that question. >> on page 89 in there report volume to you said pullback substantial evidence indicates
that the presidents attempts to remove the special counsel were linked to the special counsel ofem investigation that involved the president's conduct and most immediately the report that the president was being investigated for potential obstruction of justice". you found evidence as you laid out in your report that the president wanted to fire you because you were investigating him for obstruction of justice. >> that's what it says in the report. >> yes i know. i haveve it. that should not happen in america. no president should be able to escape investigation by abusing his power. but that's what you testified to in your report. the president ordered you
fired the white house counsel knew it was wrong the president knew it was wrong and the report says the president should not have made those calls but he did it anyway. anyone else who blatantly interfered with the criminal investigation like yours would be arrested and indicted of charges of obstruction of justice. director mueller you determined you were barred from indicting a sitting president. we already talked about that today that is exactly why this committee must hold the president accountable i yield back. >> the gentle lady from alabama. >> you just said in response to do to two different lines of questioning that i would
refer you to the report that the president never said in the investigation if one necessitates the other but on march 24th with the special counsel report that the attorney general release the report to congress when you submitted your report to the attorney general was there an active version to be released without delay with his intention with the confirmation hearing quick. >> i will not engage in discussion what happened in the production after the report. >> did the attorney general ask you to provide a redacted version quick. >> we worked on that together. >> did he ask for any
material. >> i can't get into those details. >> is the unredacted version released to congress or to the public quick. >> not within my purview. >> why did you not take a similar action we had a process we were operating on with the attorney general's office. >> could any attorney general bring that permission quick. >> i am not aware of that has minimal reductions to the public could you write the report with the expectation publicly back. >> no. weeded not have that expectation understanding it
was demanded by the statute. >> and pursuant to the special counsel regulations with that charging decision with the councils investigation crack. >> with the president or generally crack. >> generally. attorney general. >> attorney general hearing you made it clear he will really show report to the republic how much had been written at that point quick. >> no. >> any significant changes of toner substance after it was confirmed it would be made public. >> i cannot get into that. >> senator harris asked if you look at all the underlying evidence and he stated he had not did you personally review
all the underlying evidence gathered in the investigation crack. >> as it came to the special counsel's office, yes. >> did any member of your team look at the evidence. >> a substantial amount of that was done. >> is there one member of the team that looked at everything. >> it's fair to say yes. >> it is normal if different members would have different sets of documents if not likely anybody would have reviewed everything. >> yes. >> so talk about a conference you attend personally quick. >> on march 27 he wrote a letter to the attorney general complaining about media coverage that the summary sent to congress did not fully
capture the context nature and substance in conclusion we communicated that to the department on the morning of march 23rd there is public confusion of critical aspects of the result of a investigations who read that i cannot get into who wrote it but the letter speaks for itself. >> why did you write a formal better security called the attorney general. >> i cannot get into that. >> did you release that to the media or was it leaked quick. >> i have no knowledge on either. >> you went two years without a leak. >> i cannot get into that. >> was it leaked for the express purpose to change the narrative of the conclusions of your report anything
referred to. >> the time of the ajanta lady is expired. >> any answer the question please the attorney general's letter dated march 24th accurate. >> i will not get into that. >> your time is expired. >> director mueller on five obstruction episodes today i would like to ask about the second of thoseor episodes the section of your report beginning page 113 entitled the president orders magan to deny the president tried to fire. on january 25th, 2018 new york times reported the president had ordered magan to have the department of justice fire you.
>> correct. >> and that is what you already testified about today with the calls to have you removed. >> correct. >> after the news broke did they deny the story. >> no. >> fake news a typical new york times fake story. >> correct. >> your investigation found substantial evidence that magan was order by the president to firet? you and i did the old boy or do something the following day inrr response. >> referring to the coverage. >> on page 114 the president's personal counsel called and said the president wanted mcgann to put out aou statement that he was asked to fire the special counsel. did he do it thet president aske asked.
>> communicating through his personal attorney he refused because he said "the story was accurate in reporting the president wanted the special counsel removed. isn't that right quick. >> i refer you to theto report. i believe so. >> so mcgann told the president he was not going to lie. >> yes. >> to the president drop the issue crack. >> i refer you to thee write up. >> the president told the white house staff secretary to try to pressure mcgann to make a false denial. >> that is correct. >> what did he director porter to do. >> i said you back to the report. >> page 113 the president then directed porter to tell mcgann to create a record to make it clear the president never directed mcgann to fire you is
that correct quick. >> it is as stated in the report. >> you found the president said he wanted mcgann to write a letter for our records. >> correct. >> to be clear he is asking his white house counsel mcgann to create a record that mcgann believes to be untrue in the midst of the investing the president for obstruction of justice. >> correct. >> and mcgann was an important witness in that investigation. >> yes suspected the president tell porter to threaten mcgann if he didn't quick. >> i refer you to the write up. >> in fact it and the president say if he doesn't write a letter that maybe i
will have to get rid of him. >> yes. >> did porter deliver the threat quick. >> i refer you to the discussion on foundndidr page 1. >> the president still did not give up. he told mcgann directly to deny that the president told you to have him fired. >> it is in the report. >> page 116 says the president met him in the oval office. the president began the oval office meeting by telling mcgann the new york times story did not look good and mcgann needed to correct it. >> correct as it is in the report, yes. >> the president asked mcgann if he would do a correction and mcgann said no. >> that is accurate. >> thank you for your investigation to uncover this very disturbing evidence i
will have additional questions however it is clear to me that if anyone else had ordered a witness to create a false record and cover-up acts that are subject of a law enforcement investigation that person would be facing criminal charges. i yelled back. >> the gentle man from ohio. >> interviewing february 10th 2017 and that interviewed on page 193vi volume one also falsely stated in addition he also omitted three times lied to the fbi but you did not charge him with a crime. >> 193. >> he lied three times why didn't you charge him with a crime. >> i cannot get into internal deliberations. >> so remember this.
in 2016 the fbi did something that probably has not done before, they spied on two american citizens associated with the presidential campaign. george papadopoulos and carter page. they went to the fisa court to use the now famous dossier as part of the reason to get the warrants with carter page for better part of a year and mister papadopoulos to use human sources from the moment papadopoulos joined the trump campaign all these people all over the world the fbi even sent a lady posing as somebody else even dispatched her to london to spy on mister papadopoulos. in one of the meetings he's talking to a foreign diplomat
and said the russians have dirt on clinton. so then contacts the fbi in the open an investigation based on this fact and this is pointed out in the report. , 2016 opening of the investigation based on that piece of information. doesn't that tell my thong - - excuse me so what i am wondering how did papadopoulos find out. >> i cannot get into that. >> issue can you gave the answer page 192. you tell us who told. joseph the guy who told papadopoulos the professor who lives in london rome this is the guy who told papadopoulos he is the guy who starts it all and when the fbi n interviews he lies three times
but yet you don't charge him with a crime. he tries to change the false statements you charge michaelha coleman and michael flynn with false statements but the guy who puts the country through the whole saga and starts it off for three years now he lies and you don't charge him and i'm curious as to why. it and wet get into cannot get into charging decision. >> fbi interviews in february with the special counsel did he lie tovi you guys. >> i cannot get into that. >> was at western intelligence. >> i cannot get intoo? that. >> a lot of things you cannot get into but you can charge 13 russians nobody has ever heard of or seen a nobody will ever hear from them or see from them you can charge them and
those people around the president with falses statements but the guy who watches everything and puts the whole story into motion you cannotem charge him. >> i'm not certain i agree. >> according to your report he told papadopoulos and the diplomat tells the fbi on july t 2016 and here we are three years later july 2019 put through as a central figure he lies and you don't hunt him down but charge him with a crime and he is guilty. the president was falsely accused of conspiracy they do a two-month investigation james comey told us at that point you do a 22 month investigation you find no conspiracy and the democrats they want to keep investigating andnd keep going.
may be a better course of action is to figure out how the false accusations started. to figure out why joseph was lying to the fbi and here's the good news. that is exactly what attorney general is doing they will find out why we went through this through three years. >> your time is expired. >> we will take a very brief first please remain seated and quiet while the witness exits the room for class want toea announce you may not be guaranteed your seat if you leave the hearing room at inthis time. [inaudible conversations]
fire you and the president's request of him to deny the fact that the president made the request and want to pick up where they left off in the president's personal lawyer. in fact there was evidence the president's personal lawyer was meeting with mcgann to discuss his refusal to deny the report of the president trying to fire him. >> correct in fact the presidents council was so alarmed by the prospect of the meeting with mcgann he called his counsel that he could not resign the matter what happens in the oval office that day. >> correct. >> it's accurate to say the president knew he was asking mcgann to t deny the facts that repeatedly said were accurate.
>> correct. >> your investigation also found at the time of the oval office meeting of the president that mcgann did not think the story was false or issue a statement or create a written record to deny the facts to believe to be t true the president nevertheless persisted asking mcgann to repudiate the facts he repeatedly said were accurate. >> that is true. >> page 119. >>urat the president is trying o pressure mcgann to say something he did not believe to be true. >> that is accurate. >> and want to reference you page 120 that says substantial
evidence to repeatedly urge mcgann to have the special counsel terminated the president acted for the purpose to influence the preventto deflect or further scrutiny of the conduct toward the investigation. >> can you explain what you meantin quick. >> i will leave it as it reap one - - appears in the report. >> so to protect himself to falsify records relevant to the ongoing investigation word you say the president tried to hamper>> the investigation to falsify records quick. >> i would refer you too the report for the review of that episode. >> i the president's attempt to
give mcgann a false written record to mister trump's concern of the obstruction of justiceal inquiry. >> i believe that to be true. >> in the same meeting to the present asked mcgann with a special counsel office investigators if the president told you to have him removed. >> what is the question quick. >> going to the next one the president criticized mcgann to tell your office about the jun june 172017 event. he told mcgann to have you removed. >> correct. >> in other words the president criticized the white house counsel for telling mueller enforcementr officials what he believed to be the truth. >> you have to go back to the text of thercen report.
>> i will go a little further. is it a crime if mcgann had lied about the president ordering him to fire you quick. >> i want to speculate. >> is it true you charge multiple people associated with the president for lying to you for the investigation. >> that is accurate. >> the president complained the staff were taking notes during the meeting. is that correct quick. >> that is what the report says. >> but it is completely appropriate for staffing counsel to take notes during a meeting. >> and thank you but as he
instructed the council to lie and then create a false record. if this was any other person they would be charged with the crime so we will continue our investigation holding the president accountable because no one is above the law nu. >> the gentleman from florida. >> can you state with confidence the dossier was not part of russia's disinformation campaign quick. >> as i said in my opening statement that is part of the case. >> paul manafort alleged crimes you had no problem charging him as a matter of factct this predated the attorney general he had no problem answering the question when senator cornyn asked that exact same question he said "no. i cannot say that with confidence so i am concerned and i don't think it's entirely defensible if it is speculation that there must have some factual basis be
identified no factual basis regarding the dossier or the possibilityy from the russian disinformation campaign. but still reported toph the fbi's senior ministry figures along with other russians told him there was extensive evidence of conspiracy between the trump campaign'm team so here is my question did russians really tell that to christopher steele or did he make that up and lying to the fbi. >> i would back up as a said earlier with regard that is beyond my purview. >> but it's not and here is why only one of twoon things as possible. either steele made the whole thing up and there was never anything from what you did not find or russia is lying to steal if they were lying to
steal to undermine our confidence than that is precisely your purview because you stated in your opening the organizing principle to thoroughly and fullywo with russia's interference fear are not interested if russians were interfered with but you think nothing about this in your report. you are quite informational and other topics for three phone - - 3500 words with the trump campaign and the russian lawyer and on page 103 of your report the president's legal team suggested that the meeting t might have been a set up individuals working with the firm to produce the report so i will ask a very easy question. on the week of june 9th who did russian lawyer meet with more frequently the trump campaign or simpson who was
acting as an operative for the dnc. >> what is missing that this is under investigation elsewhere and if i can finish coming consequently it is not within my purview for the fbi to be responsive to questions on this particular issue. >> it is absurd to suggest an operative for the democrats is meeting with the russian lawyer the day before and the day after the trump tower meeting but that is not something that you ageti referee to testify under oath he had dinner with him the day before the day after this meeting with trump so do you have any basis to believe that steele would like quick. >> as i said before it's not my purview. >> it is not your purview to look into if he is lying or if the anti-ng trump russians and is not your pure view to look at simpson was meeting with the russians the day before
and the day after quick so i am wondering how these thdecisions look at the inspector general's report that page stated trough will not ever be president. right. right. know he is not we will stop a. also inspector general supportad attorney number two page 419 replies held no then added resistance and attorney number two that they both worked on your team didn't they attorney number two in the attorney general's i report did he work for you? >> peter struck worked for me for a period of time. >> so did the other guys some people associate with trump why you throw the book at christopher steele nothing so
it seems to be when simpson noets with russians it is nothing and maybe the reason why there is a discrepancy. >>no time is expired. >> obstruction of justice is a serious crime with your efforts to find the truth. >> correct. >> there are three elements the first is the obstructive act. the obstructive act could include to interfere with an outgoing investigation as set forth volume two page 87 or page 88 of your report. >> please repeat the question. >> instructive packs could include taking an action to delay or interfere with the outgoing investigation. >> that is true. >> it found evidence president
trump took steps to determine the special counsel. >> correct. >> does the termination of the obstructive act? >>. >> where you conclude the attempt it was qualify as the obstructive act to naturally obstruct the r investigation. >> that second elementht is the connection with the official proceeding. >> true. >> the criminal c investigation with the attempt of ron good doing of donald trump constitute an official
proceeding? but that is an area i cannot get into the spirit president trump tweeted june 162017 i am being investigated for firing the fbi director by the man who told me to fire theve fbi director witchhunt. it was cited on page 89 volume two constitutes a public acknowledgment by president trump he was under criminal investigation. >> generally correct. >> one day laterat june 17 president trump called white house counsel at home to direct him to fire the special counsel. >> i believe that is true i may have stated in response to make he told mcgann mueller has to go. ".
>> correct. >> your report found substantial evidence indicates by june 17 the president knew the contact on - - conduct was investigation to present any crimes to a grand jury. the third element was just tsatisfied it is corrupt e intent. >> true spin that exist at the present acted the official proceeding with the purpose to protect his own interest. >> that's generally correct. the only other 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 excuse me one second. >> so learning about the
appointment of the special counsel to state oh my god this is terrible this is the end of my presidency for go i am aft. >> donald trump viewed the special investigation is adverse to his own interest. >> they found evidence that the president knew he should not have directed mcgann to fire the special counsel. >> page 90 volume two as evidencece the president knew they should not have made those calls to mcgann. accurate. >> also substantial evidence he repeatedly urged mcgann to have the special counsel terminated. o>> correct substantial evidenced. when they ordered mcgann and then lie about it
he committed the obstructive act connected to a proceeding and 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.st no one. the president must be held heaccountable one way or the othe other. >> i will just say if i might i don't subscribe necessarily to the way you analyze that i am not supportive of the danalytical charge. >> thank you mister chairman. >> thank you for your service with w the vietnam purple heart meeting the homicide unit us attorney district of
massachusetts assistant attorney general for doj criminal division so thank you i appreciate that. having reviewed your biography it puzzles me why you handled your duties the way that you di did. >> the report contradicts to ensure that every defendantur is treatedd fairly prosecutor is not the representative of an ordinary priority that those whose prosecution isn't to win a case that the prosecutor may alrike hard blows but not at liberty to strike him by listing b those situations about the merits of the case you shift the burden of proof to the president forcing him to prove his innocence while
denying him the legal form to do so. of never heard of that than holding a press conference eight times in your report to have a legal duty to prosecute or decline charges i'm also troubled with your legal analysis with those patterns involving alleged obstruction and then you fail to separately apply thear elements on behalf of those actions. i read the case law and looking at that flynn matter 15 oh three and 15 oh five when i look at those concerning the flynn matter it wasn't a grand jury impaneled and call me was not an officer of the court section 15 oh five criminalizes acts to
impede administrative proceedings before congress and the department of justice with the fbi investigation is not a pending proceeding so to talk about m intimidation threats of force to tamper with the witness general flynn is not a witness and certainly director comey is not a witness. 1512 c two talks about tamperingg with a record that the statute is debated on the senate floor to call this a statute criminalizing and there is nothing in your report that alleges the president destroyed any evidence. with that foundation with a
reasonable probability to bring a charge with that confidential report with the declaration decision and those it but the president anyone associated with the to convict for a charge of conspiracy in the 2016 election. >> was there sufficient evidence to convict president trump or anyone else. >> we cannot make that calculation. not?w could you >> the office ofou legal counsel indicates we cannot indict a sitting president so one of the tools the prosecutor would use is not they are. >> let me stop it you made the decision on the russian
interference. you could not have indicted the president on that but you made the decision on that. >> i would not agree to that characterization at all. we provided to the attorney general and a confidential memorandum and that one case where the president cannot be charged with a crime. stomach could they be charged with a crime after they left office? make you believe you could charge the president with obstruction of justice after he left? office? >> i'm not sure of those ethical standards a prosecutor cannot bring a charge against a sitting president to continue the investigation if
there are any other persons in the conspiracy. >> your timef is expired. >> we are specifically focusing on five separate obstruction episodes today program by to ask about the third episode entitled the president's efforts to curtail the investigation page 90. by curtail you mean limit. the president tried to have you fired him because mcgann refused he asked others to limit the investigation. hav >> correct was corey lewandowski another individual? >> he is the presence former chief do you have official position with the trump administration? >> i don't believe so. >> your report describes the incidence in the ovalon office
on june 19, 2017 volume two page 91 with the meeting in the oval office between the two that was just two days after he called mcgann and ordered him to fire you. >> apparently so spanky refused to follow the order then he came up with a new plan to go to the senior advisers and agents to private citizens hamper thet investigation what did he say to lewandowski and asked him to write it down to attorney general sessions. did you see this message? back i will not get into what we may or may not have included. >> the message directed session to limit public speech
he would meet with the prosecutor to move forward with the investigation that is page 91. >> i see that. >>'s in other words mister lewandowski a private citizen was instructed by the president to deliver a a message to the attorney general that directed him to limit your investigation. >>es correct. >> and he was to recuse - - he still recused and then to violate with those rules with the president's order. >> i cannot get into the subsidiary details but in two page 91 or 92. >> it would have effectively ended the investigation.
>> taken together to tell the special counsel into the president and his campaign to move forward with the investigation meddling. is that correct. >> yes sir. >> is at the unsuccessful attempt? >> that is correct. >> mister lewandowski try to meet with the attorney general in his office to make sure there is not a public log of the visi visit. >> but the president raise the issue at the time if sessions does not meet with you lewandowski should say heng was fired. >> correct.
>> then asking to deliver the message to the former chief of staff because he doesn't feel comfortable. >> yes. just so we're clear, two days after mcgann refused to carry at the president's order to fire you he directed a private citizen to tell the attorney general of the united states who was recused to limit your investigation to end your investigation in the 2016 he campaign i will not doubt your characterization but that as laid out in the report is accurate. >> on page 99 is a substantial evidence indicates thehe president's actions limit the scope of the investigation to future elections which is intended to prevent further scrutiny of his company on - - campaign conduct. so you have 1000 former who
have read the report to say anybody who conduct that is charged do you agree with those who came to that conclusion? >> mister mueller your team row in the report on page two also page 173 they have come to the conclusion investigation did not establish they conspired or coordinated with the russianou government in these election activities. that is anan accurate statement. >> it is accurate. >> so when did you personally come to that conclusion? >> which paragraph? >> page number two.
>> investigation does not establish. >> i see a that. >> when did you personally reach that conclusion? >> where it was ongoing over two years. >> but you wrote that at some point but at some point you had to come to that conclusion that i don't think that there is not a conspiracy going on between this president not the team but this president and russians. >> as you develop a criminal case you get pieces of information and witnesses. and to make the case but when you make a decision that is by a number of factors.
>> bed it was some time well before you wrote the report? that was with a whole myriad of issues but that is when you greached the decision with the president himself. >> i'm not saying i do agree with that. y>> there are various aspects. >> and that is the point. but somewhere along the pike to come to the conclusion where this has been met. but you cannot say when? fair enough. >> on may 10th approximately 7:45 a.m. mister rosenstein
called to mention to have a discussion is that true? >> i don't have any knowledge of that occurring. >> or you don't recall. >> i don't have any knowledge. are you questioning that? >> i find it intriguing but it suggests that that phone call takes place and that was what was said so then five days before the special counsel he met with mister rosenstein in person did you discuss it then? >> i cannot give you an answer to that question relating to the external discussions in terms of indicting an individual.
>> this is an indictment but would you discuss that with ul rosenstein. but then four days before you were appointed, we met with former attorney general sessions and spoke about the special counsel. do you remember that? >> and on may 16 he met with the president and rod rosenstein do you remember that meeting? >> yes. >> in the discussion with the fbi director. in yes. >> did you discuss at any time mister comey? >> know. >> at any time the potential appointment of a special counse counsel? not necessarily you but in general terms? >> i cannot get into those discussions become a times did you respect before you were appointed? how may times prior tosi that.
conduct to control and impede the investigation by leveraging the authority of othersrs is similar to conduct charged against other officials with people in powerful positions. are they wrong? >> do you want to sign that letter? >> they have a different case. >> spin because i have a seat on intelligence committee i will have a question later but i last to enter this letter under unanimous consent and i thank you for the long service to your country including as a marine earning your bronze star now we will turn to as applied to the president's attempts to curtail your
investigation. the first element requires the act and page 97 volume two such as it as instructed to end the investigation with his campaign. >> correct. >> that is the evidence of those obstructive act because that would obstruct the investigation. >> correct. >> lester now to the second element which is a nexus to the official proceeding directing you to page 97 volume two cormac two to him the meeting with the lewandowski the existence of the grand jury investigation is public knowledge. that is in the report. >> correct.
>> and what would constitute evidence of a proceeding because the grand jury investigation. >> now turning to the fellow element on the same page of 97 would you be willing to read the first sentence? >> to indicate that the president. >> i'm happy to have you read it. >>. >> i'm happy to have you read it. >> substantial evidence to limit the scope of the presidents special counsel investigation intended to prevent further scrutiny at the president and the campaign conduct that is in the report. >> it p is and liable to the report to indicate those
paragraphs we are discussing. >> what we haven heard today ordering to be fired. sessions r investigation so 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'd like to ask you the reason again that you did not indict donald trump is because of olc opinion stating that you cannot dietindict 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 a
statute itself is quite broad. it says that as long as you endeavor or attempt to obstruct justice, that would also toou a constitute a crime. >> i'm not going to get into that at this junctionture. >> thank you. and based on the evidence we have heard today, i believe a reasonable person could conclude that at least three crimes of obstruction of justice by the president occurred. we're going to hear about two additional crimes that would be the witness tamperings. >> the only thing i want to add is going through the elements with you does not mean i subscribe to the -- what you're trying to prove through those elements. >> the time of the gentleman is expired. the gentlelady from arizona -- i'm sorry. gentleman from california. >> thank you. over here. thanks for joining us today. you had three discussions with rod rosenstein about your
appointment as special counsel. may 10th, 12th, and 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. 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 consideration for appointment to special counsel? >> i did not believe i was under consideration for counsel. the -- i had served two terms as fbi director. >> the answer is no. >> the answer is no. >> greg jarrett describes your office as the team of partisans. and 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 in november 2017.
the edited version in your report makes it appear that he was improperly asking for confidential information. and that's all we'd 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 exculpatory amount of the message? >> i don't agree with we did anything to hide -- >> you omitted it. you quoted the part he said we need a heads up for the sake of protecting our interests if we can. but you omitted the part about not giving up confidential information. >> i'm not going to go further in terms of discussing -- >> let's go on. you talked about constantine's -- a russian ukrainian political consultant of paul manafort assessed by the fbi to have russian intelligence. that's all we'd know from your
report. except we've since learned from news articles that he was actually a u.s. state department intelligence source. yet nowhere in your report is he so identified. why was that not there? >> i don't necessarily credit what you're saying occurred. >> were you aware that kalemnik was not -- >> i'm not going to go into -- >> did you interviiew constant e constantine? >> i'm not going to go into our investigative moves. >> and yet that is the basis of your report. the problem we're having is we have to reflect on your report and that's finding out it's not true. for example, your report famously links internet troll farms with the russian government. yet at a hearing in the concord management ira prosecution you initiated, the judge
excorrelated for producing no evidence to support this claim. why did you say russia was responsible for the troll farms when in court you haven't had any proof. >> i'm not going to get into that further than i have. >> but you left the impression throughout the country through your report it was the russian government behind the troll farms. if you're called on to provide evidence in court, you fail 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. to public pli 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 isn't -- as i said, we got to take your word, your team faithfully accurately impartially and completely described all of the underlying evidence in the mueller report. and we're finding more and more instances where this just isn't the case. and it's starting to look like, you know, 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 it's as fair, as consistent as the report we have in front of us. >> then why is -- >> the time of the gentleman is 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. witness tampering is a felony punishable by 20 years in prison. the 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? >> on page 7 of volume 2. >> thank you. >> now, one of these witnesses was michael cohen, the president's personal lawyer who ultimately pled guilty to campaign violencations based on hush money payments and also to lying to congress about the trump tower deal. after the fbi searched cohen's home, the president called him personally and told him to,
quote, hang in there and stay strong. is that right? >> 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. another redacted friend called to say he boss loves you and the third redacted friend called to say everyone knows the boss has your back. do you remember finding that sequence of calls? >> generally, yes. >> when the news -- and in fact, cohen said that following the receipt of these messages, i'm quoting here page 147 of volume 2. he believed he had the support of the white house if he continued to toe the party line. and he determined to stay on message and be part of the team. that's page 147. do you remember generally finding that? >> generally, yes. >> well, robert costello, a
lawyer close to the president's team emailed cohen to say, quote, you are loved. they are in our corner. sleep well tonight. and you have friends in high places. and that's up on the screen, page 147. you remember -- >> i see that. >> okay. when the news first broke that cohen had arranged payoffs to stormy daniels, cohen faithfully stuck to this party line. he said that publicly 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? >> can't speak to that. >> the assumption in the context suggests it's president trump. >> i can't speak to that. >> all right.
cohen later broke and pled guilty to campaign finance violations and admitted they were made at the account of president 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 sayry lie on what's in the report. >> well, he made the suggestion that cohen family members had crimes. he repeated cohen's father and suggested he was guilty of fire. >> generally accurate. >> on page 154 you give a powerful summary of these change in dynamics. i'm happy to have you read it or i will read it. >> would you like to read it? >> i would. >> could you read it out loud to everybody? >> i would be happy to have you read it. >> all right. we'll read it at the same time. the evidence concerning this sequence of events -- the president used inducements in the form of positive messages
not to get cohen to cooperate and then turned to attacks and intimidation to deter the provision of information once cohen began cooperating. >> i believe that's accurate. >> okay. and in my view, if anyone else in america engaged in these actions, they would have been charged with witness tampering. we must enforce the principle in congress you emphasize well in the last sentence of your report which is in america no person is so high to be above the law. i yield back. >> thank you mr. chairman. mr. liu was asking you questions. quote, the reason you didn't indict the president was 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. in fact, in a joint statement that you released with doj on
may 29th after your press conference, your office issued a joint statement with the department of justice that said, the attorney general has previously stated that the special counsel repeatedly affirmed that he was not saying that but for the olc opinion, he would have found the president obstructed justice. the special counsel's report and his statement today made clear 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 you issued on may 29th as you sit here today? >> i would have to look at it more closely. >> well, so -- you know, my conclusion is that what you told mr. lieu really contradicts what
you said in the report. and specifically repeatedly to attorney general barr and then issued a joint statement on may 29th saying that the attorney general is previously stated that the special counsel repeatedly affirmed that he was not saying but for the olc report that we would have found the president obstructed justice. i say there's a conflict. i do have some more questions. mr. mueller, there's been a lot of talk today about firing the special counsel and curtailing the investigation. were you ever fired, mr. mueller? >> was i what? >> were you ever fired as special counsel, mr. moouler? >> 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 principle conclusions of your report? >> well, what you are not mentioning is the letter we sent on march 27th to mr. barr that raised some issues. and that letter speaks for itself. >> but then i don't see how you could -- that could be since a.g. barr's letter detailed the principle conclusions of your report and you have said before that that there wasn't anything inaccurate. in fact, you had this joint statement. but let me go on to another
question. mr. mueller, rather than purely relying on the evidence provided by witnesses and documents, i think you relied a lot on media. i'd like to know how many times you cited "the washington post" in your report. >> how many times i what? >> cited "the washington post" in your report. >> i did not have knowledge of that figure, but -- i don't have knowledge of that figure. >> i counted about 60 times. how many times did you cite "the new york times"? i counted -- >> again, i have no idea. >> i counted about 75 times. how many times did you cite fox news? >> as with the other two, i have no idea. >> about 25 times. i've got to say, it looks like volume 2 is mostly regurgitated press stories. honestly, there's almost nothing in volume 2 that i couldn't already hear or know simply by having a $50 cable news subscription. however, your investigation cost
the american taxpayers $25 million. mr. mueller, you cited media reports nearly 200 times in your report. then in a footnote, a small footnote, number 7 page 15 of volume 2 of your report, you wrote -- not for the truth of the information contained in the stories but rather to place candidate trump's response to those stories and context. since nobody but lawyers reads footnotes, are you concerned that the american public took the embedded news stories -- >> time of the gentlelady is expired. the gentlelady from -- >> can mr. mueller answer the question? >> no. we're running short on time. i said the gentlelady from washington. >> thank you. director mueller, let's turn to the fifth of the obstruction episodes in your report. that is the evidence whether president trump engaged in witness tampering with trump campaign chairman paul manafort
whose foreign ties were critical to your investigation into russia's interference in our election. this starts at volume 2, page 123. your office got indictments against manafort and trump deputy campaign manager rick gates in two different jurisdictions, correct? >> correct. >> and your office found that after a grand jury indicted them, manafort told gates not to plead guilty to plead guilty to any charges because, quote, he had talked to the president's personal counsel and they are going to take care of us. is that correct? >> that's accurate. >> and one day after manafort's conviction on eight felony charges, quote, the president said that flipping was not fair and almost ought to be outlawed. is that correct? >> i'm aware of that. >> in this context, what does it mean to flip? >> have somebody cooperate in a credible investigation. >> and how essential is that cooperation to any efforts to combat crime? >> i'm not going to go beyond
that characterizing that effort. >> thank you. in your report, you concluded that president trump and his counsel rudy giuliani made repeated statements that a pardon was a possibility for manafort while also making it clear that the president did not want manafort to flip and cooperate with the government. end quote. is that correct? >> correct. >> and witness tampering can be shown where someone with an improper motive encourages another person not to cooperate with law enforcement, is that correct? >> correct. >> now, on page 123 of volume 2, you also discussed the president's motive. and you say that as court proceedings move forward against manafort, president trump, quote, discussed with aides whether and in what way manafort might be cooperating and whether manafort knew any information that would be harmful to the president, end quote. is that correct? >> that was a quote from -- >> from page 123, volume 2. >> yes. >> when someone tries to stop
another person from working with law enforcement and they do it because they're worried what that person will say, it seems clear from what you wrote that this is a classic definition of witness tampering. now, mr. manafort did eventually decide to cooperate with your office and he entered into a plea agreement. but then he broke that agreement. can you describe what he did that caused you to tell the court that the agreement was off? >> i refer you to the court proceedings on that issue. >> so on page 127 of volume 2, you told the court that mr. manafort lied about a number of matters that were material to the investigation. and you said that manafort's lawyers also, quote, regularly briefed the president's lawyers on topics discussed and the information that manafort had provided in interviews with the special counsel's office. does that sound right? >> and the source of that is? >> that's page 127, volume 2. >> if it's from the report, i support it. >> thank you. two days after you told the court that manafort broke his plea agreement by lying
repeatedly, did mr. trump tell the press that mr. manafort was, quote, very brave because he did not flip. >> if it's in the report, i support it as it is set forth. >> thank you. director mueller, in your report you make a very serious conclusion about the evidence rathering the president's involvement with the manafort proceedings. let me read to you from your report. evidence concerning the president's conduct toward manafort indicates the president intended to encourage manafort to not cooperate with the government. it is clear that the president both publicly and privately discouraged mr. manafort's cooperation or flipping while also dangling the promise of a pardon if he stayed loyal and did not share what he knew about the president. anyone else who did these things would be prosecuted for them. we must ensure that no one is above the law. i thank you for being here. yield back. >> gentleman from pennsylvania. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
mr. mueller. i'm over here. sorry. are you familiar with the now-expired independent counsel statute? it's the statute under which ken starr was appointed. >> that ken starr did what? i'm sorry. >> are you familiar with the independent counsel statute? >> are you talking about the one we're operating under now or previous? >> no, under which ken starr was appointed. >> i'm not but i'd be happy to take your question. >> well, it was allowed to expire after ken starr's investigation. the final report requirement was a major reason why the statute was allowed to expire. even president clinton's a.g. janet reno expressed concerns about the final report requirement. and i'll quote a.g. reno. she said, on one hand the american people have an interest in knowing the outcome of an investigation of their highest officials. on the other hand, the report requirement cuts against many of the most basic traditions and
practices of american law enforcement. under our system, we presume innocence and we value privacy. we believe that information should in most cases be made public if there's an indictment or prosecution, not any lengthy and detailed report filed after a decision has been made not to prosecute. the final report provides a forum for unfairly airing a target's dirty laundry. it also creates another incentive for an independent counsel to over-investigate in order to justify his or her tenure and to avoid criticism that the independent counsel may have left a stone unturned. those are a.g. reno's words. didn't you do exactly what she feared? didn't you publish a lengthy report unfairly airs the dirty laundry without recommending charges? >> i disagree with that.
>> did any of your witnesses have the chance to be cross examined? >> can i just finish my answer on that? >> quickly. >> i operate under the current schoout. not the original statute. so i am most familiar with the current statute. >> did any of the witnesses have a chance to be cross examined? >> did any of the witnesses in our investigation? >> yes. >> i'm not going to answer that. >> did you allow the people mentioned in your report to challenge how they were characterized? >> i'm not going to get into that. >> given that a.g. barr stated multiple times during his confirmation hearing that he would make as much of your report public as possible, did you write your report knowing it would likely be shared with the public? >> no. >> did knowing the report could and likely would be made public, did that alter the contents which you included? >> i can't speak to that. >> despite the expectations that your report would be released to the public, you left out significant exculpatory evidence. evidence favorable to the
president, correct? >> actually, i would disagree with you. i think we strove to put into the report exculpatory -- >> where you said -- you said there was evidence you left out. >> you make a choice as to what goes into an indictment. >> isn't it true that on page one of volume two, you state when you're quoting the statute, the obligation to either prosecute or not prosecute. >> generally that is the case. although most cases are not done in the context of the president. >> and in this case you made a decision not to prosecute, correct? >> no, we made a decision not to decide whether to prosecute or not. >> so essentially what your report did was everything that a.g. reno warned against. >> i can't agree with that characterization. >> well, what you did is compiled a nearly 450 -- you
compiled nearly 450 pages of the worst evidence you gathered against the target of your investigation who happens to be the president of the united states and you did this knowing you were not going to recommend charges and the report would be made public. >> not true. >> mr. mueller, as a former officer in the united states j.a.g. corps, i prosecuted in a baghdad courtroom and for our navy s.e.a.l.s. so i'm very well versed in the american legal system. the drafting in the publication of some of the information in this report without an indictment, without prosecution, frankly flies in the face of american justice. and i find those facts of this entire process un-american. i yield the remainder of my time to jim jordan. >> director mueller, the third renewal happens a month after you're named special counsel.
did that deal with -- >> i'm not going to answer that. >> time has expired. >> director mueller, a couple of my colleagues right here wanted to talk to you or ask you about lies. so let's talk about lies. according to your report page 9 volume 1, witnesses lied to your office and to congress. those lies materially impaired the investigation of russia interference according to your report. other than the individuals who pled guilty to crimes based on their lying to you and your team, did other witnesses lie to you? >> i think there probably are a specter of witnesses in terms of those who are not telling the full truth. and those are outright liars. >> thank you. outright liars. it is fair to say then that there were limits on what evidence was available to your investigation of both russian election interference and obstruction of justice. >> that's true and usually the case. >> and that lies by trump campaign officials and
administration officials impeded your investigation. >> i would generally agree with that. >> thank you so much, director mueller. you will be hearing more from me in the next hearing so i yield the balance of my time to mr. korea. thank you. >> mr. mueller, first of all let me welcome you. thank you for your service to our country. you're a hero. vietnam war vet. wounded war vet. we won't forget your service to our country. >> thank you, sir. >> i may begin because of time limits we've gone in depth only on five possible episodes of obstruction. there's so much more. and i want the focus on another section of obstruction which is the president's conduct concerning michael flynn. the president's national security adviser. in early 27, the informed that mr. flynn had lied to government authorities about his communications with the russian
ambassador during the trump campaign in transition. is this correct? >> correct. >> if a hostile nation knows that a u.s. official has lied publicly, that can be used to blackmail that government official, correct? >> i'm not going to speak to that. i don't agree necessarily but i'm not going to speak any more to that issue. >> thank you. flynn resigned in 2016. the very next day when the president was having lunch with new jersey governor chris christie, did the president say, open quotes, now that we fired flynn the russia thing is over, closed quote? is that correct? >> correct. >> and is it true that christie responded by saying, open quotes, no way. this russia thing is far from over, closed quote. >> that's the way we have it in the report. >> thank you. and after the president met with
christie, later that same day the president arranged to meet with then-fbi director james comey. alone in the oval office, correct? >> correct. particularly at the -- you have the citation to the page? >> according to comey, the president told him, open quote, i hope you can see your way to clear to letting this thing go, to letting flynn go. he's a good guy and i hope you can let it go. closed quote. page 40, volume 2. >> accurate. >> what did comey understand the president to be asking? >> i'm not going to get into what was in mr. comey's mind. >> comey understood this to be a direction because of the president's position and the circumstances of the one-to-one meeting page 40 volume 2. >> i understand it's in the report. and i support it as being in the
report. >> thank you, sir. even though the president publicly denied telling comey to drop the investigation, you found, open quote, substantial evidence corroborating comey's account over the president's. is this correct? >> that's correct. >> the president fired comey on may 9th, is that correct, sir? >> i believe that's the accurate date. >> that's page 77, volume 2. you found substantial evidence that the catalyst for the president's firing of comey was comey's, open quote, unwillingness to publicly state that the president was not personally under investigation. >> i'm not going to delve more into the details of what happened. if it's in the report, then i support it because it's already been reviewed appropriately appears in the report. >> and that's page 75, volume 2. >> thank you. >> thank you. in fact, the next day, the president told the russian foreign minister, open quote, i
just fired the head of the fbi. it was crazy, a real nutjob. i face great pressure because of russia. that's taken off. i'm not under investigation, closed quote. is that correct? >> that's what was written in the report, yes. >> time of the gentleman has expired. >> thank you, sir. >> gentleman from virginia. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. mueller, we've heard a lot about what you're not going to talk about today. so let's talk about something that you should be able to talk about. the law itself. the underlying obstruction statute and your creative legal analysis of the statutes in volume two. particularly your interpretation of 1512-c. section 15-12-c is a statute created as part of auditing financial regulations for public companies. as you write on page 164 of volume 2, this was provided as a floor amendment and closed a
loophole with document sledding. also alters, drois a document or other to impair the object's integrity or availability for a official proceeding. other than if strzok's attempts to do so shall be fined not more than 20 years or both. the analysis and application of the statute proposes to give clause two a much border interpretation than commonly used. first proposed to read it as a free standing provision prohibiting any act influencing a proceeding if done with an improper motive. and the analysis of the statute. taken by public officials exercising their discretionary powers. if those acts influence a proceeding. so mr. mueller, i'd ask you in
analyzing the obstruction, you state that you recognize that the department of justice and the courts have not resolved these issues, correct? >> correct. >> you'd agree not everyone in the justice department agreed with your legal opinion, correct? >> i'm not going to be involved in a discussion on that at this juncture. >> in fact, the attorney general himself disagrees with your interpretation of the law, correct? >> i leave that to the attorney general to identify. >> you would agree that prosecutors sometimes improperly adhere to the law. >> i would have to agree with that one. >> they were based on an incorrect legal thatter are i. >> we've all spent time in the trenches trying casing. not won every one of those cases. >> one of your top prosecutors against arthur anderson lower court which was subsequently overturned and a unanimous purchase. >> i'm not going to get into
that -- may i just finish? may i just finish my answer? >> yes. >> i'm not going to get involved in a discussion on that. i will refer you to that citation that you gave me at the outset for the lengthy discussion on just what you're talking about and to the extent i have anything to say about it, it is what we've already put into the report on that. >> i am reading from your report when discussing this section. i'll read from the decision of the supreme court unanimously reversing mr.wise man when he said it's striking how little it's required. even a -- instructions also diluted the meaning of skruptly such that it covered innocent conduct. >> let me just say -- >> let me move on. i have limited time. you take the broadest possible provision and applied it. i'm concerned about your over criminalizing conduct by officials and private citizens
alike. to emphasize how broad it is, i want to ask a few examples. in 2015 during the investigation into the hillary clinton use of a private email server, president trump said i don't think it created a national security problem. couldn't president obama be charged for obstruction of justice? >> i refer again to the report. but with andrew weisman, he's one of the more talented attorneys we've had over a period of time. he has run a number of units -- >> i have very limited time. in august 2015, a very senior doj official called fbi director andrew mccabe introducing concern they areare -- are you telling me to shut down an
investigation to which the official replied of course not. this seems to be somebody within the executive branch to interfere with this. couldn't that person have been charged with. obstruction. >> i refer to you to our lengthy dissertation on exactly those issues that appears at the ond the report. >> it says above the -- >> time of the gentleman has expired. our intent was to conclude this hearing in three hours. given the break that would bring us to approximately 11:40. we will ask our remaining democratic members to voluntarily limit their time below the five minutes so we can complete our work as close to that time frame as possible. i recognize the gentlelady from pennsylvania. >> thank you. i want to ask you some questions about the president's statements regarding advanced knowledge of the wikileaks dumps. so the president refused to sit
down with your investigators for an in-person interview, correct? >> correct. >> so the only questions we have from the president are contained in appendix c to your report. >> that's correct. >> so looking at appendix c on page five, you asked the president over a dozen questions about whether he had knowledge that wikileaks possessed or might possess the emails that were stolen by the russians. >> i apologize kpp you start it again? >> okay. sure. so we're looking at appendix c. >> right. >> and appendix c, page 5 you asked the president about a dozen questions about whether he had knowledge that wikileaks possessed the stolen emails that might be released in a way helpful to his campaign or harmful to the clinton campaign. is that correct, you asked those questions? >> yes. >> okay. in february of this year, mr. trump's personal attorney michael cohen testified to
congress, quote, mr. trump knew from roger stone in advance about the wikileaks dump. end quote. that's a matter of public record. >> are you referring to the report or some other record? >> this is testimony to congress. >> i'm not specifically familiar with what he testified to before congress. >> okay. let's look at an event described on page 18 of volume 2 of your report. and we're going to put it up in a slide, i think. according to deputy campaign manager rick gates in the summer of 2016 he and candidate trump were on the way to the airport and gates told your investigators that candidate trump was on a phone call and when the call ended, trump told gates that more releases of damaging information would be coming, end quote. do you recall that from the
report? >> if it's in the report, i support it. >> okay. and that's on page 18 of volume 2. now, on page 77 of volume 2, your report also stated, quote, in addition to some kwnss said that trump privately sought wikileaks pieces is that correct? >> correct. >> in appendix c, he said, quote, i do not recall discussing wikileaks with him m. doesing with individuals associated with mu campaign. >> if it's from the report, it is correct. >> is it fair to deny being aware that anyone associated with the campaign discussed with stone. >> could you repeat that one? >> is it fair that the president denied knowledge of himself or anyone else discussing wikileaks
dumps with mr. stone? >> yep. >> and with that i yield back. >> thank you, ma'am. >> thank you, mr. chair. mr. mueller, did you apply for the job a day before you were appointed. zblifs not applying for the job. i was asked to give my input on what it would take to do the job which triggered the interview you're talking about. >> so you don't recall on may 16th, 2017, that you interviewed with the president regarding the fbi director job. >> i interviewed with the president. not about me applying if they are job. >> so your statement here today is you didn't interview to apply for the fbi director job? >> that's correct. >> so did you tell the fbi director position would be the one job you would come back for? >> i don't recall that one.
>> you don't recall that, okay. given your 22 months of investigation, tens of millions of dollars spent, and millions of documents, did you say russians changed voters. >> i can't speak to that. >> there's no voter change changed because of their interference. i'm asked based on the documents you had. >> that was outside our purview. the bakt of that meddling was undertaken by other agencies. >> okay. you stated in your opening statement that you would not get into the details of the steele dossier, however, many sometimes on page 23, 27, and 28 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 that. >> it's actually in your report multiple times that it's unverified and you're telling me you're not willing to tell us to
how you came to say it was unverified. ? >> true. >> when did you decide it was unverified to spy on carter page? >> i'm sorry. what was the question? >> when did you become aware that the unverified steele dossier was included in the fisa application to spy on carter page. >> i'm not going to speak to that. >> your team interviewed christopher sale, is that correct? >> i'm not going to get into that. >> you can't tell this committee whether you interviewed him? >> at the outset, i said this is one of the investigations that is being handled by others in the department of justice. >> but you're here testifying about this today and i'm asking you directly did any member of your team or did you interview christopher seal? >> and i'm not going to answer that question, sir. >> you had two years to investigate. not once to investigate how
unverified document that was paid for by a political opponent was used to obtain a warrant to spy on the opposition political come pain. did you do any investigation on that? >> i do not accept your characterization of what occurred. >> what would be your characterization? >> i'm not going to speak any more to it. >> so you're not going to speak any more to it but don't agree with my characterization. is that correct? >> yes. >> the fisa application makes reference to source one who is christopher steele. the fisa application says conducting the research into candidate ties to russia based on sources reporting history with fbi whereby source one provided reliable information to the fbi. they believe it to be credible. do you think the representation that it 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 them? >> as i said at the outset this
morning, that was one of the investigations that i could not speak to. >> well, i don't understand how if you interviewed an individual on the purview of this investigation that you're testifying to us today that you've closed that investigation, how that's not within your purview to tell us about your investigation and how you interviewed. >> i have nothing to add. >> okay. well, i can guarantee you the american people want to know. and i'm very hopeful and glad that a.g. barr is looking into this and the inspector general is looking into this because you're unwilling to answer the questions of the american people as it relates to the basis of this investigation into the president. and the very basis of this individual who you did interview. you're just refusing to answer those questions. can't the president fire the fbi director at any time without reason under article one of the constitution? >> yes. >> article two. >> yes. >> that's correct. can't he fire you without any reason? >> i believe that to be the case. >> we >> without any reason.
>> well, hold on. you said without any reason. i know special counsel can be fired but i'm not sure it extends to whatever reason. >> you've testified you weren't fired. you were able to complete your investigation in full, is that correct? >> i'm not going to add to what i've stated before. >> my time's expired. >> the gentlelady from pennsylvania. from texas. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and thank you, mr. mueller for being with us close to the afternoon now. director mooul we are i would like to ask you about the president's answers relating to roger stone. roger stone was indicted for multiple several crimes alleged that future releases with the trump campaign. understanding there's a gas order on the stone case, i will keep my questions limited. >> let me just say at the outset, i don't mean to disrupt
you, but i'm not -- i would like the demarcation of that which is applicable to this but also in such a way it does hinder the other prosecution taking place. >> i understand that. i'm only going to be talking about the questions that you asked in writing to the president that relate to mr. stone. >> thank you, ma'am. >> mr. stone's indictment states among other things the following. stone was contacted by senior trump officials, the about future releases of organization one. organization one being wikileaks. the indictment continues, quote, stone told the campaign about releases of damaging material by wikileaks. so in short, the indictment alleges that stone was asked by the trump campaign to get information about more wikileaks releases and that stone, in fact, did tell the trump
campaign about potential future releases. correct? >> yes, ma'am. but i see according to from the indictment and even though the indictment is a public document, i feel uncomfortable discussing anything having to do with the stone prosecution. >> right. the indictment is of record and we pulled it off of the -- i'm reading straight from it. well, turning back to the president's answers to your questions then. on this very subject, the president ever discussing releases with stone. and denied whether anyone on his campaign had those conversations with stone. if you had learned that other witnesses putting aside the president, if other witnesses had lied to your investigators in response to specific questions. whether in writing or in an interview. would they be charged with false statement crimes? >> well, i'm not going to speculate. i think you're asking for me to speculate given a set of circumstances.
>> let's go more specific. could guy to jail for up to five years? >> yes. although it's congress, so. >> well, that's the point, though, isn't it? that no one is above the law. >> that's true. >> not you. not the congress. and certainly not the president. and i think it's just troubling to have to hear some of these things and that's why the american people deserve to learn the full facts of the misconduct described in your report for which any other person would have been charged with crimes. so thank you for being here and again, the point has been underscored many times but i'll repeat it, no one is above the law. thank you. >> thank you, ma'am. >> the gentleman from north carolina is recognized. >> mr. mueller, how many people on your staff did you fire during the course of the investigation? >> how many people -- >> did you fire? >> i'm not going to discuss
that. >> you fired -- according to inspector general's report, attorney number two was let go and we know peter strzok was let go, correct? >> and there may have been other persons on other issues either transferred or fired. >> peter strzok testified before this committee in 2018 that he was fired because you were concerned about preserving the appearance of independence. do you agree? >> say that again? >> he said he was fired at least partially because you were concerned about preserving the appearance of independence with the special counsel investigation. do you agree with that statement? >> the statement was by whom? >> peter strzok at this hearing. >> i'm not familiar with that. >> did you fire him because you were worried about the appearance of independence? >> no. he was transferred as a result of instances involving texts. >> do you agree that your office did not only have an obligation to operate within the appearance
of independence swell? >> yes. we struggled to do that over the two years. part of doing that was -- >> andrew weisman is one of your top attorneys? >> yes. >> did he have a role for selecting other attorneys? >> he had some roll. >> don't know when i found that out. >> on january 30th, 2017, weisman wrote an email to deputy attorney general yates stating i am so proud and in awe with her disobeying a direct order from the president. did he disclose that email to you. >> 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 miss jeanne ree represented hillary clinton during the time of the emails during her time -- >> yes. >> aaron seb zebley destroyed
one of clinton's mobile devices and you must be aware by now that six of your lawyers donated $12,000 directly to hillary clinton. i'm not even talking about the $49,000 they donated to other democrats. just the donations to the opponent who was the target of your investigation? >> can i speak for a moment to the hiring practices? >> sluure. >> we strove to hire individuals who could do the joj. i've been in this business for almost 25 years. in those 25 years i've not had occasion once to ask about somebody's political affiliation. it is not done. what i care about is the cape nlt of the individual to do the job and do the job seriously and quickly and with integrity. >> that's what i'm saying. this isn't just about you being able to vouch for your team. that this is about no matter what this report concluded, half are going to be skeptical. that's why we have recusal laws.
specifically list ts not just political conflict of interest but the appearance of political conflicts of interest. it's just simply not enough you vouch for your team. demands that no perceived bias exists. i can't imagine a single prosecutor or judge that i've appeared in front of would be comfortable with these circumstances where half of the prosecutorial team had a direct relationship to the opponent of the person being investigated. >> we hired 19 lawyers over the period of time. of those, 14 of them were transferred from elsewhere in the department of justice. only five came from outside. we -- >> and had not had a direct relationship with the opponent of the person you were investigating. that's my point. i wonder if not a single word in this entire report was changed but rather the only difference was we switched hillary clinton and president trump. if peter strzok had tweeted those things about hillary
clinton instead of president trump. if they went to trump's -- my colleagues would have spent the last four months accusing your team of being bought and paid for by the trump campaign and we couldn't trust a single word of this report. they would still be accusing the president of conspiracy with russia. and with that i yield back. >> the gentleman from colorado. >> director mueller, thank you for your service to our country. i'd like to talk to you about the evidence in your report showing the president directing his son and communications director to issue a false public statement in june of 2017 about a meeting between his campaign and russian individuals at trump tower in june of 2016. according to your report, mr. trump jr. was the only trump associate who participated in that meeting and who declined to be voluntarily interviewed by your office. is that correct?
>> yes. >> did mr. trump jr. or his counsel ever communicate to your office any intent to invoke his fifth amendment right against self-incrimination? >> i'm not going to answer that. >> you did pose written questions to the president about his knowledge of the trump tower meeting. you included -- also asked him about whether or not he had directed a false statement. >> i don't have it in front of me. i take your word. >> i can represent to you that c-13 states as much. according to page 100 of volume 2, your investigation found hope hicks in june of 2017 was shown emails that set up the trump tower meeting. and she told your office that she was, quote, shocked by them details. >> you have the citation? >> sure. page 100 of volume 2. while you're flipping to that
page, i will also tell you orgt page 99 of volume 2, those emails in question stated according to your report that russia had offered to incriminate hillary in her dealings with russia as part of russia and the government's support for mr. trump. trump jr. responded if it's what you say, i love it. and he kushner and month fort met with the m -- on june 9th, 2016. correct? >> generally accurate. isn't it true thaw miss hicks told your office that he went mull pl times to the president to, quote, urge him that they should be fully transparent about the june 9th meeting, end quote. but the president each time said no. correct? >> accurate. >> and the reason was because of those emails which the president, quote, believed would not leak. correct? >> well, i'm not certain how it's characterized, but
generally correct. >> did the president direct miss hicks to say, quote, only trump jr. because his at the same time cru crushed. >> let me just check one thing. yes. >> and according to miss hicks, the president still directed her to say the meeting was only about russian adoption, correct? >> yes. >> despite knowing that to be untrue. thank you. i yield back the amount of my time. >> mr. mueller, you've been asked -- over here on the far right, sir. you've been asked a lot of questions here today. to be frank, you've performed as most of us expected. you've stuck closely to your report and you have declined to answer many of our questions on both sides. as the closer for the republican
side -- i know you're glad to get to the close -- i want to summarize what we have heard and what we know. you spent two years and nearly $30 million in taxpayer dollars to prepare a nearly 450 page report. millions of americans today maintain genuine concerns about your work because of the emphasis of bias between your members. campaign finance reports later showed that -- excuse me. it's my time. that team of democrat investigators you hired donated $60,000 to the hillary clinton campaign and other candidates. your team included peter styrk and lisa page to confirm they openly mocked an hated donald trump and they vowed to take him out. mr. radcliff asked can you give an an example where the justice department determined where an
investigative person was not kp exonerated. you answered i request ncannot. that is unprecedented. the president believed you and your special counsel team had conflicts. yet, president trump cooperated fully with the investigation. he knew he had done nothing wrong and he encouraged all witnesses to cooperate and produced more than 1.4 million pages of information and allowed over 40 witnesses affiliated with the white house or his campaign. your report acknowledges on page 61 that a volume of evidence exists of the president telling me people privately, quote, the president was concerned about the impact of the russian investigation on his abilities to govern and to address important foreign relations and matters of national security. on page 174 your report acknowledges that the supreme court has held quote, the president's removal powers are at their zenith with respect to
principal officers. that is officers who must be appointed by the president and report to him directly. that would even include the attorney general. in spite of all of that, nothing ever happened to stop or impede your special counsel's investigation. nobody was fired by the president. nothing was curtailed and the investigation continued for 22 long months. the evidence did not establish the president was involved in an underlying crime relating to russian interference and the evidence, quote, did not establish that the president or those close to him were involved in any russian conspiracies or had an unlawful relationship with any russian official. unquote. over those 22 months the president became frustrated as many of the american people did. he vented to his lawyer and
close associates and shared his frustrations on twitter. while the president social media accounts might have influenced some in the media or the opinion of some of the american people, none of those audiences were targets or witnesses in your investigation. the president never affected anybody's testimony. he never demanded to end the investigation or demand you be terminate and never misled congress, the doj or the special counsel. those are undisputed facts. there will be a lot of discuss today and great frustration throughout the can untcountry t you couldn't answer any questions about the origins of this cherade. as our hearing is concludesing we will get no comment on that from you. mr. mueller there's one primary reason why you were called here today and by the democrat majority. our colleagues on the other side of the aisle just want political cover. they wanted you o tell them they should impeach the president.
the one thing you have said clearly is your report is complete and thorough and you agree with and stand by its recommendations and all of its content. is that right? >> true. >> your report does not recommend impeachment, does it? >> i'm not going to talk about recommendations. >> it does not concludes that impeachment would be appropriate here? >> i'm not going to talk about that issue. >> that's one of the many things you won't talk about today. i think we can all draw our own conclusions opini conclusions. i do thank you for your service. i'm glad we can get back to our business. with that i yield back. >> our intent was to conclude this hearing at around 11:45. all the republican members have asked their questions but we have a few remaining democratic members. they will be limiting their questions so with director
mueller's we will finish within 15 minutes. >> your investigations of the russian attack on our democracy and the obstruction of justice were extraordinarily productive. under two years your charged 37 people with crimed. you convicted five individuals. five of whom were top trump aides. charges remain pending against more than two dozen russian persons or entitieentities. let me start with the trump aides. would you agree they are paul manafort, president trump's campaign manager, rick gates, michael flynn, former national security adviser, michael cohen p, t p, the person's personal attorney. george papadopoulos, correct. >> correct. >> the sixth trump associate will face trial later this year, correct? that person would be roger
stone, correct in. >> correct. >>. >> i'm not certain what you said by stone he is in another court system as i indicated before. >> exactly. thank you. i want to thank you for work that you did. in less than two years, your team was able to uncover an incredible amount of information related to russia's attack on our elections and to obstruction of justice. there is still more that we have to learn. destate facing unfair takes and even here today, your work has been substantive and fair. the work has laid the critical foundation for our investigation and for that i thank you. i thank you. with that i yield back the balance of my time. >> the gentleman from arizona.
>> thank you. i'm disappointed that some have questioned your motives. i want to remind the american people of who you are and your exemplary service our country. you're a marine. you served in vietnam and earned a bronze star and a purple heart, correct? >> correct. >> which president appointed you to become the united states attorney for massachusetts? >> which senator? >> which president? >> i think that was president bush. >> according to my notes it was president ronald reagan. >> my mistake. >> under whose administration did you serve as the assistant attorney general in charge of the doj's criminal division? >> which president? >> yeah. >> that would be george bush one. >> that is correct. >> president george h.w. bush. after that you took a job at a prestigious law firm and after a
couple of yeerars you re-entere public service prosecutor homicides here in washington, d.c. is that correct? >> correct. >> when you were named director of the fbi, which president first appointed you? >> bush. >> the senate confirmed you with a vote of 98-0, correct? >> surprising. >> you were sworn in as director just one week before the september 11th attacks. >> true. >> you helped to protect this nation against another attack. you did such an outstanding job that when your ten year term expired the senate unanimously voted to extend your term for two years. >> true. >> when you were asked in 2017 to take the job as special counsel the president had skrus fired james comey. the justice department and the fbi were in turmoil. you must have known there would be an extraordinary dhchallenge. why did you accept? >> that's a bit off track.
it's a challenge. >> some people have attacked the political motivations of your team. even suggested your investigation was a witch hunt. when you consider people to join your team, did you ever even once ask about their political affiliation? >> never once. >> in your entire career as a law enforcement official have you made a hiring decision based upon a person's political affiliation? >> no. if i might interject. the capabilities that we have shown in the report was a result of a team of agents and lawyers who were absolutely exemplary and were hired because of it will value to get the job done. >> you're a patriot. you acted fairly and with restrai restraint. there were circumstances you could have filed charges but you
declined. not every prosecutor done that and certainly one on a witch hunt. the takes intensified because your report is damming. i believe you did uncover substantial evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors. let me say something else that you were right about. the only remedy for this situation is for congress to take action. i yield back. >> gentleman yields back. the jengentle lady from pennsylvania. >> good morning. >> got you. sorry. >> thank you. i wanted to ask you about public confusion connected with attorney general barr's release of your report. i will be quoting your march 27th letter. in that letter and at several other times did you convey the introduction and executive summaries summarizes this office's work and conclusions, end quote. >> i have to say the letter
itself speaks for itself. >> those were your words in that letter. you wrote to the attorney general that quote, the summary letter, the letter that the department sent to congress and released to the public late in the afternoon of march 24th did not fully capture the context, nature and substance of this office's work and conclusions, end quote. is that correct? >> i rely on the letter itself for its terms. >> thank you. what was it about the report's context nature, substance the the attorney's general did not capture? >> i think we captured that in the march 27th responsive letter. >> this is from the 27th letter. what were some of the specifics that you thought -- >> directed you to that letter itself. >> okay. you finish that letter by saying there is now public confusion about critical aspects as a result of our investigation. could you tell us specifically
some of the public confusion you identified? >> i go back to the letter and the letter speaks for itself. >> could attorney general barr have avoided public confusion if he released your summaries? >> i don't feel comfortable speculating on that. >> shifting to may 30th an attorney said you could have reached a decision as to whether it was criminal activity end quote, on the part of the president. did the attorney general or his staff tell you 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 was thinking or saying. >> if the attorney general had 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 in the vacuum. >> director mueller, i thank you for being here. i agree with your march 27th
letter. there was public confusion and the president took full vau advantage by falsely claiming your report found no obstruction. let us be clear, your report did not exonerate the president. it provided substantial evidence of obstruction of justice leaving congress to do its duty. we shall not shrink from that duty. i yield back. >> the gentle lady yields back. >> i have a point of inquiry over on your left. >> gentleman will state his point of inquiry. >> was the point of this hearing to get mr. mueller to recommend impeachment? >> that's not a fair point of inquiry. the gentle lady from florida is recognized. >> director mueller i'm to your -- >> the gentle lady from florida is recognized. >> i thank you for coming here. you're a patriot. i want to refer you to volume 2, page 58. you wrote that quote, the president's efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful but that is largely because the persons who
surrounded the president declined to carry out orders or exceed to his request? is that right. >> that is accurate. that is what we found. >> you're referring to senior add vierzs who disobeyed the president's orders like don mcgahn, cory lewandowski. >> we have not specified the persons. >> don mcgahn did not tell the basicing attorney general that the special counsel must be removed but was prepared to resign over the president's orders. you also explain an attempt to obstruct justice does not have to succeed to be a crime, right in. >> 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 obstruction of justice by this president, is it? >> i'm not going to speculate. >> to reiterate, trying to obstruct justice ks can be a cr, correct? >> yes. >> you say the president's efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful and that's because not all of his efforts were unsuccessful, right? >> you're reading into what we have written in the report. >> i was going to ask you if you could just tell me which ones you had in mind successful when you wrote that sentence. >> i'm going to pass on that. >> director mueller, today we have talked a lot about the separate acts by this president but you also wrote in your report that quote, the overall pattern of the president's conduct towards the investigations can shed light on the nature of the president's acts and the inferences can be
drawn about his intent. >> accurate from the report. >> on page 158, again, i think it's important for every one to note that the president's conduct had a significant change when he realized that it was the investigations were conducted to investigate his obstruction acts. 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? >> i don't disagree. >> thank you. >> director mueller, i have certainly made up my mind about what we have reviewed meets the elements of obstruction including whether there was corrupt intent and what is clear is that anyone else, including some members of congress, would
have been charged with crimes for these acts. we would not have allowed this behavior from any other previous 44 presidents. we should not allow it now or for the future to protect our democracy and yes, we will continue to investigate because as you clearly state at the end of your report, no one is above the law. i yield back my time. >> gentle lady yields back. the gentle lady from texas. >> director mueller, you wrote in your report that you quote, determined not to make a traditional prosecutorial judgment, end quote. was that in part because of an opinion by the department of justice, office of legal counsel that a sitting president can't be charged with a crime? >> yes. >> director mueller at your may 29th, 2019 press conference you explained that the opinion says that the constitution requires a
process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a kiti ingsitting presid wrong doing, end quote. that proscess other than the criminal justice system, is that impeachment? >> i'm not going to comment on that. >> in your report, you also wrote that you did not want to quote, potentially preempt constitutional processes for addressing presidential misconduct, end quote. for the non-lawyers in the room, what did you mean by potentially preempt constitutional processes? >> i'm not going to try to explain that. >> that actually is coming from page 1 of volume 2 in the footnote is the reference to this. what are those constitutional processes? >> i think i heard you mention at least one. >> impeachment, correct? >> i'm not going to comment.
>> okay. that is one of the constitutional processes listed in the report in the footnote in volume two. your report documents the many ways the president sought to interfere with your investigation and you state in your report on page 10, volume 2 that with an interfering with a congressional inquiry or investigation with corrupt incident can also constitute obstruction of justice. >> true. >> well, the president has told us that he intends the fight all the subpoenas. his continued efforts to interfere with investigations of his potential misconduct reinforce the process the constitution requires to formally accuse a sitting president of wrong doing as you cited in the report. this hearing has been very helpful to this committee as it exercises its constitutional duty to determine whether to
recommend articles of impeachment against the president. i agree with you director mueller that we all have a vital role in holding this president accountable for his actions. more than that, i believe we in congress have a duty to demand accountability and safeguard one of our nation's highest principles that no one is above the law. from everything that i have heard you say here today its clear that anyone else would have been prosecuted based on the evidence available in your report. it now falls on us to hold president trump accountable. thank you for being here. chairman, i yield back. >> mr. chairman. >> gentle lady yields back. >>. >> personal privilege. >> our side got our five minutes in also. mr. mueller, thank you for being here. i join the chairman in thank you for being here. >> thank you. >> director mueller, we thank you for attending today's