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tv   Robert Mueller Testifies Before House Judiciary Committee  CSPAN  July 25, 2019 5:05am-8:37am EDT

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captioning performed by vitac >> although your report states collusion is not a specific offense and you have said this this morning, or a term of art in federal criminal law, conspiracy is in the colloquial context are collusion and conspiracy essentially synonymous terms? >> you are going to have to rethat for me. >> collusion is not a specific
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offense or a term of art in the federal criminal law, conspiracy is. >> yes. >> in the colloquial context no public context -- collusion and conspiracy are essentially synonymous terms, correct? >> no. >> if not on page 180 of volume 1 of your report you wrote in as defined in legal dictionaries collusion is largely synonymous with conspiracy 18 usc -- you said at your may 29 press conference and here today you choose your words carefully. are you testifying something different from what your report states. >> what i'm asking is if you can give me the citation i can look at the citation and evaluate whether it is accurate. >> let me just clarify. you stated that you had stayed within the report, i just stated your report back to you and you said that collusion -- collusion and conspiracy were not synonymous terms. that was your answer was no. >> that's correct. >> in that page 180 of volume 1
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of your report it says as defined in legal dictionaries collusion is largely synonymous with conspiracy as that crime is set forth in 18 usc 371. you said you chose your words carefully. are you contradicting your report right now? >> not when i read it. >> so you would change your answer so yes then. >> no. no. if you look at the language -- >> i'm reading your report, sir. it's a yes or no answer. >> page 180. >> page 180, volume 1. this is from your report. >> correct. and i leave it with the report. >> so the report says yes they are synonymous. >> yes. >> hopefully finally out of your report we can put to bed the collusion and conspiracy. one last question as we're going through, did you ever look into other countries investigated in the russian interference into our election, were other countries investigated or found knowledge that they had interference in our election? >> i'm not going to discuss
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other matters. >> then i yield back. >> gentleman yields back. the gentlelady from california. >> director mueller, as you're heard from the chairman we're mostly going to talk about obstruction of justice today, but the investigation of russia's attack that started your investigation is why evidence of possible obstruction is serious. to what extent did the russian government interfere in the 2016 presidential election? >> could you repeat that, ma'am? >> to what extent did the russian government interfere in 2016 presidential election? >> well, particularly when it came to computer crimes and the like, the government was implicated. >> so you wrote in volume 1 that the russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion. you also described in your report that the then trump campaign chairman paul manafort shared with a russian operative
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kilimnick the campaign strategy for winning democratic votes in midwestern states and internal polling data of the campaign, isn't that correct? >> correct. >> they also discussed the status of the trump campaign and manafort's strategy for winning democratic votes in midwestern states months before that meeting manafort had caused internal data to be shared with kilimnick and the sharing continued for some period of time after their august meeting, isn't that correct? >> accurate. >> in fact, your investigation found that manafort briefed kilimnick on the state of the trump campaign and manafort's plan to win the election and that briefing encompassed the campaign's messaging, it's internal polling data, it also included discussion of battle ground states which manafort identified as michigan, wisconsin, pennsylvania and minnesota. isn't that correct? >> that's correct. >> did your investigation determine who requested the polling data to be shared with kilimnick? >> i would direct you to the
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report and adopt what we have in the report with regard to that particular issue. >> we don't have the redacted version, that's maybe another reason why we should get that for volume 1. based on your investigation how could the russian government have used this campaign polling data to further its sweeping and systematic interference in the 2016 presidential election? >> that's a little bit out of our path. >> fair enough. did your investigation find that the russian government perceived it would benefit from one of the candidates winning? >> yes. >> and which candidate would that be? >> well, it would be trump. >> correct. >> the president. >> now, the trump campaign wasn't exactly reluctant to take russian help. you wrote, it expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through russian efforts, isn't that correct? >> that's correct. >> now, was the investigation's
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determination -- what was the investigation's determination regarding the frequency with which the trump campaign made contact with the russian government? >> i would have to refer you to the report on that. >> well, we went through and we counted 126 contacts between russians or their agents and the trump campaign officials or their associates. so would that sound about right? >> i can't say. i understand the statistic and i believe it -- i understand the statistic. >> well, mr. mueller, i appreciate your being here and your report. from your testimony and the report i think the american people have learned several things. first, the russians wanted trump to win. second, the russians went on a sweeping cyber influence campaign. the russians hacked the dnc and
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they got the democratic game plan for the election. the russian campaign chairman met with russian agents and repeatedly gave them internal data, polling and messaging in the battle ground states. so while the russians were buying ads and creating propaganda to influence the outcome of the election, they were armed with inside information that they had stolen through hacking from the dnc and that they had been given by the trump campaign chairman, mr. manafort. my colleagues will probe the efforts undertaken to keep this information from becoming public, but i think it's important for the american people to understand the gravity of the underlying problem that your report uncovered. with that, mr. chairman, i would yield back. >> gentle lady yields back. >> good morning, director. if you will let me quickly
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summarize your opening statement this morning, you said in volume 1 on the issue of conspiracy the special counsel determined that the investigation did not establish that members of the trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the russian government in its election interference activities and then in volume 2 for reasons that you explained the special counsel did not make a determination on whether there was an obstruction of justice crime committed by the president. is that fair? >> yes, sir. >> all right. now, in explaining the special counsel did not make what you called a traditional prosecution or declination decision, the report on the bottom of page 2 of volume 2 reads as follows: the evidence we obtained about the president's actions and intent presents difficult issues that prevent us from conclusively determining that no criminal conduct occurred. accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him. now, i read that correctly? >> yes. >> all right. now, your report and today you said that at all times the special counsel team operated
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under was guided by and followed justice department policies and principles. so which doj policy or principle sets forth a legal standard that an investigated person is not exonerated if their innocence from criminal conduct is not conclusively determined? >> can you repeat the last part of that question? >> yeah. which doj policy or principle sets forth a legal standard that an investigated person is not exonerated in their innocence from criminal conduct is not conclusively determined? where does that language come from, director? where is the doj policy that says that? let me make it easier -- >> can i answer? i'm sorry, go ahead. >> can you give me an example other than donald trump where the justice department determined that an investigated person was not exonerated because their innocence was not conclusively determined? >> i cannot, but this is a unique situation. >> you can't. time is short, i have five minutes, let's just leave it at you can't find it because i will
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tell you why, it doesn't exist. the special counsel's job nowhere does it say that you were to conclusively determine donald trump's innocence or that the special counsel report should determine whether or not to exonerate him. it's not in any of the documents, it's not in your appointment order, it's not in the special counsel regulations, it's not in the aol conditions, not in the justice manual. nowhere do those words appear together because respectfully -- respectfully, director, it was not the special counsel's job to conclusively determine donald trump's innocence or to exonerate him because the bedroom principle of our justice system is a presumption of innocence. it exists for everyone. everyone is entitled to it including sitting presidents. and because there is a presumption of innocence prosecutors never ever need to conclusively determine it. now, director, the special counsel applied this inverted burden of proof that i can't find and you said doesn't exist
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anywhere in the department policies and you used it to write a report and the very first line of your report, the very first line of your report says -- as you read this morning, this authorizes the special counsel to provide the attorney general with a confidential report explaining the prosecution or declination decisions reached by the special counsel. that's the very first word of your report, right? >> that's correct. >> here is the problem, director, the special counsel didn't do that. on volume 1 you did, on volume 2 with respect to potential obstruction of justice the special counsel made neither a prosecution decision or a declination decision. you made no decision. you told us this morning and in your report that you made no determination so respectfully, director, you didn't follow the special counsel regulations. it clearly says write a confidential report about decisions reached. nowhere in here does it say write a report about decisions
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that weren't reached. you wrote 180 pages, 180 pages about decisions that weren't reached, about potential crimes that weren't charged or decided and respectfully -- respectfully, by doing that you managed to violate every principle in the most sacred of traditions about prosecutors not offering extra prosecutorial analysis about potential crimes that aren't charged. so americans need to know this as they listen to the democrats and socialists on the other side of the aisle as they do dramatic readings from this report, that volume 2 of this report was not authorized under the law to be written, it was written to a legal standard that does not exist at the justice department and it was written in violation of every doj principle about extra prosecutorial commentary. i agree with the chairman this morning when he said donald trump is not above the law. he's not. but he damn sure shouldn't be
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below the law which is where volume 2 of this report puts hi him. >> thank you, mr. chairman. director mueller, good morning. your exchange with the gentle lady from california demonstrates what is at stake. the trump campaign chair paul manafort was passing sensitive voter information and poll data to a russian operative and there were so many other ways that russia subverted our democracy. together with the evidence in volume 1 i cannot think of a more serious need to investigate. so now i'm going to ask you some questions about obstruction of justice as it relates to volume 2. on page 12 of volume 2 you state: we determined that there were it says sufficient factual and legal basis to further investigate potential obstruction of justice issues involving the president. is that correct? >> do you have the citation, ma'am? >> page 12, volume 2.
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>> and which portion of that page? >> that is "we determined that there was a sufficient factual and legal basis to further investigate potential obstruction of justice issues involving the president." is that correct? >> yes. >> your report also describes at least ten separate instances of possible obstruction of justice that were investigated by you and your team, is that correct? >> yes. >> in fact, the table of contents serves as a very good guide of some of the acts of that obstruction of justice that you investigated and i put it up on the screen. on page 157 of volume 2 you describe those acts and they range from the president's effort to curtail the special counsel's investigation, the president's further efforts to have the attorney general take over the investigation, the president's orders don mcgahn to deny that the president tried to fire the special counsel and many others. is that correct? >> yes. >> i direct you now to what you
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wrote, director mueller. the president's pattern of conduct as a whole sheds light on the nature of the president's acts and the inferences that can be drawn about his intent. does that mean you have to investigate all of his conduct to ascertain true motive? >> no. >> and when you talk about the president's pattern of conduct that would include the ten possible acts of obstruction that you investigated, is that correct, when you talk about the president's pattern of conduct, that would include the ten possible acts of obstruction that you investigated, correct? >> i direct you to the report for how that is characterized. >> thank you. let me go to the screen again. for each of those ten potential instances of obstruction of justice, you analyzed three elements of the crime of obstruction of justice and obstructive acts, a nexus between the act and official proceeding and corrupt intent. is that correct? >> yes. >> you wrote on page 178, volume 2 in your report about corrupt
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intent. actions by the president to end a criminal investigation into his own conduct to protect against personal embarrassment or legal liability would constitute a core example of corruptly motivated conduct. is that correct? >> yes. >> to the screen again. even with the evidence you did find, is it true as you note on page 76 of volume 2 that the evidence does indicate that a thorough fbi investigation would uncover facts about the campaign and the president personally that the president could have understood to be crimes or that would give rise to legal, personal and political concerns? >> i rely on the language of the report. >> is that relevant to potential obstruction of justice? is that relevant to potential obstruction of justice? >> yes. >> you further elaborate on page 157, obstruction of justice can be motivated by desire to protect noncriminal personal interests, to protect against investigations where underlying criminal liability falls into a
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gray area or to avoid personal embarrassment. is that correct? >> i have on the screen -- >> is that correct on the screen? >> can you repeat the question now that i have the language on the screen? >> is it correct as you further elaborate obstruction of justice can be motivated by direct desire to protect noncriminal personal interests, to protect against investigations where underlying criminal liability falls into a gray area. >> yes. >> or to avoid. is that true. >> yes. >> and is it true flat impact -- pardon. >> can you read the last question? >> the last question -- >> i want to be certain i got it accurate. >> the last question was the language on the screen asking you if that's correct. >> yes. >> okay. does the conviction of obstruction of justice result potentially in a lot of years of -- a lot of years of time in jail? >> yes.
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well, again, can you repeat the question just to make certain i have it accurate? >> does obstruction of justice warrant a lot of time in jail. >> yes. >> if you were convicted? >> yes. >> time of the gentle lady has expired. gentleman from wisconsin. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. let me begin by reading the special counsel regulations by which you were appointed. it reads, quote, at the conclusion of the special counsel's work he or she shall provide the attorney general with a confidential report explaining the prosecution or declination decisions reached by the special counsel. is that correct? >> yes. >> okay. now, when a regulation uses the word "shall provide" does it 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, right? >> i would have to look more closely at the statute. >> i just read it to you.
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okay. now, volume 2, page 1, your report boldly states we determined not to make a traditional prosecutorial judgment. is that correct? >> i'm trying to find that citation, congressman. >> director, could you speak more directly into the microphone, please? >> yes. >> thank you. >> it's volume 2 -- >> mr. chairman -- i'm sorry. >> volume 2, page 1, it said we determined not to make a traditional prosecutorial judgment. >> yes. >> that's right at the beginning. >> that's true. >> now, since you decided under the olc opinion that you couldn't prosecute a sitting president, meaning president trump, why did we have all of this investigation of president trump that the other side is talking about when you knew that you weren't going to prosecute him?
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>> well, you don't know where the investigation is going to lie and olc opinion itself says that you can continue the investigation even though you are not going to indict the president. >> okay. well, if you are not going to indict the president, then you just continue fishing and that's -- you know, that's my observation. my time is limited. sure you can indict other people but you can't indict the sitting president, right? >> that's true. >> okay. now, there are 182 pages in raw evidentiary material including hundreds of references to 302, which are interviews by the fbi for individuals who have never been cross-examined and which did not comply with the special counsel's governing regulation to explain the prosecution or declination decisions reached. correct? >> where are you reading from on that? >> i'm reading from my question.
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>> then could you repeat it? >> okay. we have 182 pages of raw evidentiary material with hundreds of references to 302s who have never been cross-examined and which didn't comply with the governing regulation to explain the prosecution or declination decisions reached. >> this is one of those areas which i decline to discuss. >> okay. >> and would direct you to the report itself. >> okay. well, i looked at 182 pages of it. you know, let me switch gears. mr. chabot and i were on this committee during the clinton impeachment. now, while i recognize that the independent counsel statute under which kenneth starr operated is different from the special counsel statute, he and a number of occasions in his report stated that the president clinton's actions may have risen to impeachable conduct,
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recognizing that it is up to the house of representatives to determine what conduct is impeachable. you never used the term raising to impeachable conduct for any of the ten instances that the gentlewoman from texas brought -- is it true that there's nothing in volume 2 of the report that says that the president may have engaged in impeachable conduct? >> well, we have studiously kept in the center of our investigation our mandate and our mandate does not go to other ways of addressing conduct, our mandate goes to what -- developing the report and turning the report into the attorney general. >> with due respect, you know, it seems to me, you know, that there are a couple statements that you made, you know, that said that this is not for me to
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decide and the implication is that this is for this committee to decide. now, you did use the word impeachable conduct like starr did, there was no statute to prevent you from using the word impeachable conduct and i go back to what mr. radcliffe said and that is that even the president is innocent until proven guilty. my time is up. >> gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from tennessee. >> thank you, mr. chair. first i'd just like to restate that what mr. nadler said about your career. it's a model of rectitude and i thank you. >> yes, sir. >> based upon your investigation how did president trump react to your appointment as special counsel? >> again, i send you the report for where that is stated. >> well, there is a quote from page 78 of your report, volume 2, which reads: when sessions told the president that a special counsel had been appointed, the president slumped
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back in his chair and said quote, oh, my god, this is terrible. this is the end of my presidency. i'm f'd, unquote. did attorney general sessions tell you about that little talk? >> director, please speak into the microphone. >> surely. my apologies. i am not certain of the person who originally copied that quote. >> okay. well, sessions apparently said it and one of his aides had it in his notes, too, which i believe you had. that has become record. he wasn't pleased, he probably wasn't pleased with the special counsel and specifically you because of your outstanding reputation. >> correct. >> the attorney general recused himself from the investigation because of his role in the 2016 campaign, is that not correct? >> that's correct. >> recusal means the attorney general could not be involved in the investigation, is that correct? >> that's the effect of recusal, yes. >> and so instead another trump
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appointee, as you know, mr. sessions was, mr. rosenstein became in charge of it, is that correct? >> yes. >> wasn't attorney general sessions following the rules and professional advice of the department of justice ethics folks when he recused himself from the investigation? >> yes. >> and yet the president repeatedly expressed his displeasure at sessions' decision to follow those ethics rules to recuse himself from recusal of that investigation. >> that's accurate based on what is written in the report. >> and the president's reaction to the recusal as noted in the report, mr. bannon recalled that the president was mad, as mad as bannon had ever seen him, and he screamed at mcgahn about how weak sessions was. do you recall that from the report? >> that's until the report, why he. >> despite knowing that attorney general sessions was not supposed to be involved in the investigation, the president still tried to get the attorney general to unrecuse himself after you were appointed special counsel. is that correct? >> yes. >> in fact, your investigation found that at some point after
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your appointment, quote, the president called sessions at his home and asked if he would unrecuse himself. is that not true? >> that's true. >> now, that wasn't the first time the president asked sessions to unrecuse himself, was it? >> i know there were at least two occasiones. >> and one of them was with flynn and one of them was when sessions and mcgahn flew to mar-a-lago to meet with the president, sessions recalled the president pulled him aside and suggested that he should do this unrecusal act, correct? >> correct. >> and then when michael flynn a few days after flynn entered a guilty plea for lying to federal agents and indicated his intent to cooperate with the investigation, trump asked to speak to sessions alone again in the oval office and again asked sessions to unrecuse himself, true? >> i refer you to the report for that. >> page 109, volume 2. thank you, sir. do you know of any point when the president personally expressed anger or frustrations at sessions? >> i would have to pass on that.
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>> do you recall -- and i think it's at page 78 of volume 2, the president told sessions you were supposed to protect me. you were supposed to protect me or words to that effect? >> correct. >> and is the attorney general supposed to be the attorney general of the united states of america or the consigliere for the president? >> united states of america. >> thank you, sir. in fact, you wrote in your report that the president repeatedly sought to convince sessions to unrecuse himself so sessions could super vice the investigation in a way that would restrict its scope, is that correct? >> i rely on the report. >> how could sessions have restricted the scope of your investigation? >> well, i'm not going to speculate. if he -- obviously if he took over as attorney general he would have greater latitude in his actions that would enable him to do things that otherwise he could not. >> on page 113 you said the president believed that an
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unrecused attorney general would play a protective role and could shield the president from the ongoing investigation. regardless of all that i want to thank you, director mueller for your life of rectitude and service to our country. it's clear that the president wanted former attorney general sessions to violate the justice department ethics rules by taking over your investigation and improperly interfering with it to protect himself and his campaign. your findings are so important because in america nobody is above the law. i yield back the balance of my time. >> thank the gentleman for eld. ing back. the gentleman from ohio. >> thank you. director mueller, my democratic colleagues were very disappointed in your report. they were expecting you to say something along the lines of here is why president trump deserves to be impeached, as much as ken starr did relative to president clinton back about 20 years ago. well, you didn't. so their strategy had to change. now they allege that there's plenty of evidence in your report to impeach the president, but the american people just
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didn't read it. and this hearing today is their last best hope to build up some sort of ground swell across america to impeach president trump. that's what this is really all about today. now, a few questions. on page 103 of volume 2 of your report when discussing the june 2016 trump tower meeting you reference, quote, the firm that produced the steele reporting, unquote, the name of that firm was fusion gps. is that correct? >> and you are on page 103? >> 103, that's correct, volume 2. when you talk about the firm that produced the steele reporting, the name of the firm that produced that was fusion gps, is that correct? >> i'm not familiar with that. >> it's not a trick question. it was fusion gps.
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now, fusion gps produced the opposition research document widely known as the steele dossier and the owner of fusion gpa was someone named glen simpson. are you familiar with -- >> this is outside my purview. >> okay. glen simpson was never mentioned in the 448-page mueller report? >> as i said i say, it's outside my purview and being handled in the about i others. >> he was not. 448 pages, the owner of fusion gps that did the steele dossier that started all this, he's not mentioned in there. let me move on. at the same time fusion gps was working to collect opposition research on donald trump from foreign sources on behalf of the clinton campaign and the democratic national committee, it also was representing a russian-based company prevason which had been sanctioned by the
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u.s. government. are you aware of that? >> that's outside my purview. >> thank you. one of the key players in -- i will go to something different -- one of the key players in the june 2016 trump tower meeting was in a tall la vicinity yet ask a who you described in your report as a russian attorney who -- for the -- she had been working with done other than glen simpson and fusion gps since at least early 2014. are you aware of that? >> outside my purview. >> thank you. you didn't mention ma or her connections to glen simpson at fusion gps in your report at all. let me move on. now, nbc news has reported the following, quote, russian lawyer in a tala vicinity yet ski i can't says she first received a supposedly incriminating information she brought to trump
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tower describing alleged tax evasion and information from democrats from none other than glen simpson the fusion gps owner. you didn't include that in the report and i assume -- >> that's a matter being handled by others at the department of justice. >> thank you. now, your report spends 14 pages discussing the june 9th, 2016, trump tower meeting. it would be fair to say, would it not, that you spent significant resources investigating that meeting. >> i refer you to the report. >> okay. and president trump wasn't at the meeting. >> no. >> thank you. now, in stark contrast to the actions of the trump campaign, we know that the clinton campaign did pay fusion gps to gather dirt on the trump campaign from persons associated with foreign governments, but your report doesn't mention a thing about fusion gps in it and you didn't investigate fusion gps's connections to russia. so let me just ask you this, can
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you see that from neglecting to mention glen simpson and fusion gps's involvement with the clinton campaign to focusing on a brief meeting at the trump tower that produced nothing, to ignoring the clinton campaign's own ties to fusion gps, why some view your report as a pretty one-sided attack on the president? >> well, i tell you this is still outside my purview. >> all right. i would just note finally that i guess it is by chance, by coincidence that the things left out of the report tended to be favorable to the president. my time is expired. >> thank you. director mueller, i'd like to get us back on track here. your investigation found that president trump directed white house counsel don mcgahn to fire you, isn't that correct? >> true. >> and the president claimed that he wanted to fire you
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because you had supposed conflicts of interest, isn't that correct? >> true. >> now, you had no conflicts of interest that required your removal, isn't that a fact? >> so correct. >> and, in fact, don mcgahn advised the president that the asserted conflicts were in his words silly and not real conflicts, isn't that true? >> i refer to the report on that episode. >> well, page 85 of volume 2 speaks to that. also, director mueller, doj ethics officials confirmed that you had no conflicts that would prevent you from serving as special counsel, isn't that correct? >> that's correct. >> but despite don mcgahn and the department of justice guidance, around may 23rd, 2017, the president, quote, prodded mcgahn to complain to deputy attorney general rosenstein about these supposed conflicts of interest. correct? >> correct.
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>> and mcgahn declined to call rosenstein -- or rosenstein, i'm sorry, telling the president that it would look like still trying to meddle in the investigation and knocking out mueller would be another fact used to claim obstruction of justice. isn't that correct? >> generally so, why he. >> and, in other words, director mueller, the white house counsel told the president that if he tried to remove you that that could be another basis to allege that the president was obstructing justice. correct? >> that is generally correct, yes. >> now, i'd like to review what happened after the president was warned about obstructing justice. on tuesday -- >> i'm sorry, congressman, do you have a citation? >> yes, volume 2 page 81. >> thank you. >> and 82. i'd like to review what happened after the president was warned about obstructing justice.
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it's true that on tuesday, june 13th, 2017, the president dictated a press statement stating he had, quote, no intention of firing you, correct? >> correct. >> but the following day, june 14th, the media reported for the first time that you were investigating the president for obstructing of justice, correct? >> correct. >> and then after learning for the first time that he was under investigation the very next day the president, quote, issued a series of tweets acknowledging the existence of the obstruction investigation and criticizing it. isn't that correct? >> generally so. >> and then on saturday, june 17th, two days later, the president called don mcgahn at home from camp david on a saturday to talk about you. isn't that correct? >> correct.
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>> what was the significant -- what was significant about that first weekend phone call that don mcgahn took from president trump? >> i'm going to ask you to rely on what we wrote about those incidents. >> well, you wrote in your report that on -- at page 85, volume 2, that on saturday, june 17th, 2017, the president called mcgahn at home to have the special counsel removed. now, did the president call don mcgahn more than once that day? >> well -- >> i think it was two calls. >> sorry about that. >> on page 85 of your report you wrote, quote, on the first call mcgahn recalled that the president said something like, quote, you've got to do this. you've got to call rudd, correct? >> correct. >> and your investigation an report found that don mcgahn was perturbed, to use your words, by
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the president's request to call rod rosenstein to fire him, isn't that correct? >> well, there was a continuous colloquy. it was a continuous involvement of don mcgahn responding to the president's -- >> and he did not want to put himself in the middle of that. he did not want to have a role in asking the attorney general to fire the special counsel, correct? >> well, i would, again, refer you to the report and the way it is characterized in the report. >> thank you. at volume 2 page 85 it states that he didn't want to have the attorney general -- he didn't want to have a role in trying to fire the attorney general. so at this point i will yield back. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. mueller -- well, first, let me ask unanimous consent, mr.
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chairman, to submit this article robert mueller unmasked for the record. >> without objection. >> now, mr. mueller, who wrote the nine-minute comments you read at your may 29th press conference? >> i'm not going to get into that. >> okay. so that's what i thought. you didn't write it. a 2013 puff piece in the washingtonian about comey said basically when comey called you would drop everything you were doing, gave examples you having winner with your wife and daughter, comey calls you drop everything and go. the article quoted comey as saying if a train were coming down the tracks and i quote at least bob mueller will be standing on the tracks with me. you and james comey had been good friends, were good friends for many years, correct? >> we were business associates. we both started off in the justice department about the same time. >> you were good friends. you can work together and not be friends.
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>> we were friends. >> you and comey were friends. >> we were friends. >> that's my question. thank you for getting to the answer. now, before you were appointed as special counsel had you talked to james comey in the preceding six months? >> no. >> when you were appointed as special counsel was president trump's firing of comey something you anticipated investigating, potential obstruction of justice? >> i'm not going to get into that. internal deliberations in the justice department. >> actually, it goes to your credibility and maybe you've been away from the courtroom for a while. credibility is always relevant, it's always material and that goes for you, too, you are a witness before us. let me ask you when you talked to president trump the day before you were appointed as special counsel you were talking to him about fbi director position again. did he mention the firing of james comey. >> not as a candidate. >> did he mention the firing of
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james comey in your discussion with him? >> i cannot remember. >> pardon? >> i cannot remember. i don't believe so, but -- >> you don't remember. but if he did you could have been a fact witness as to the president's comments and state of mind on firing james comey. >> i suppose that's possible. >> yeah. so most prosecutors would want to make sure there is no appearance of impropriety, but in your case you hired a bunch of people that did not like the president. let me ask you when did you first learn of peter strzok's anonymous toward donald trump? >> in the summer of 2017. >> you didn't know before he was hired? >> i'm sorry? >> you didn't know before he was hired for your team? >> know what? >> peter strzok hated trump. >> okay. >> you didn't know that before he was made part of your team,
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is that what you're saying? >> i did not know that. >> all right. >> and actually when i did find out i acted swiftly to have him reassigned elsewhere in the fbi. >> well, there is some discussion about how swift that was, but when did you learn of the ongoing affair he was having with lisa page. >> about the same time i learned from strzok. >> did you ever order anybody to investigate the deletion of all of their texts off of their government phones? >> once we found that peter strzok was author of -- >> did you ever -- >> may i finish? >> you are not answering my question. did you order an investigation into deletion and reformatting of their government phones? >> no, there was an ig investigation ongoing. >> listen, regarding collusion or conspiracy, you didn't find evidence of any agreement, and i'm quoting you, among the trump campaign officials and any
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russian-linked individuals to interfere with our u.s. election. correct? >> correct. >> so you also note in the report that an element of any of those obstructions you referenced requires a corrupt state of mind, correct? >> corrupt intent, correct. >> right. and if somebody knows they did not conspire with anybody from russia to effect the election and they see the big justice department with people that hate that person coming after them and then a special counsel appointed who hires dozen or more people that hate that person, and he knows he's innocent, he's not corruptly acting in order to see that justice is done. what he's doing is not obstructing justice, he is pursuing justice and the fact
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that you ran it out two years means you perpetuated injustice. i yield back. >> i take your question. >> the gentleman's time has expired. the witness may answer the question. >> i take your question. >> the gentleman from florida. >> director mueller -- director mueller, i'd like to get back to your findings covering june of 2017. there was a bombshell article that reported that the president of the united states was personally under investigation for obstruction of justice, and you said in your report on page 90 volume 2 and i quote news of the obstruction questions prompted the president to call mcgahn and seek to have the special counsel removed, closed quote. then in your report you wrote about multiple calls from the president to white house counsel don mcgahn and regarding the second call you wrote, and i quote, mcgahn recalled that the president with as more direct, saying something like call rod. tell rod that mueller was
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conflicts and can't be -- can't be the special counsel. mcgahn recalled the president telling him mueller has to go, and, call me back when you do it. director mueller, did mcgahn understand what the president was ordering him to do? >> i direct you to what we have written in the report in terms of characterizing his feelings. >> and in the report it says, quote, mcgahn understood the president to be saying that the special counsel had to be removed. you also said on page 86 that, quote, mcgahn considered the president's request to be an inflection point and he wanted to hit the brakes and he felt trapped and mcgahn decided he had to resign. mcgahn took action to prepare to resign, isn't that correct? >> i would direct you again to the report. >> and, in fact, that very day he went to the white house and quoting your report you said, quote, he then drove to the office to pack his belongings and submit his resignation
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letter, closed quote. >> that is exactly from the report. >> it is. and before he resigned, however, he called the president's chief of staff, reince priebus, and he called the president's senior advisor, steve bannon. do you recall what mcgahn told them? >> whatever was said will appear in the report. >> it is. it is. and it says on page 87, quote, priebus recalled that mcgahn said that the president asked him to do crazy expletive. in other words, crazy stuff. the white house counsel thought that the president's request was completely out of bounds. he said the president asked him to do something crazy. it was wrong. and he was prepared to resign over it. now, these are extraordinarily troubling events, but you found white house counsel mcgahn to be a credible witness, isn't that
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correct? >> correct. >> director mueller, the most important question i have for you today is why? director mueller, why did the president of the united states want you fired? >> i can't answer that question. >> well, on page 89 in your report in volume 2 you said, and i quote, substantial evidence indicates that the president's -- that the president's attempts to remove the special counsel were linked to the special counsel's oversight of investigations that involved the president's conduct, and most immediately, to reports that the president was being investigated for potential obstruction of justice. closed quote. director mueller, you found evidence, as you lay out in your report, that the president
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wanted to fire you because you were investigating him for obstruction of justice, isn't that correct? >> that's what it says in the report, yes, and i go -- i stand by the report. >> director mueller, that doesn't 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. in your report it says there's also evidence the president knew he should not have made those calls to mcgahn, but the president did it anyway. he did it anyway. anyone else who blatantly interfered with a criminal investigation like yours would be arrested and indicted on charges of obstruction of justice. director mueller, you determined
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that you were barred from indicting a sitting president. we have already talked about that today. that is exactly why was anythin
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general barr's letter referred to as the principle conclusions letter dated march 24th inaccurate? >> well, i'm not going to get into that. >> the time of the gentlelady is expired. the gentlelady from california. >> thank you, mr. chair. director mueller, as you know we are focusing on five obstruction episodes today. i would like to ask you about
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the second of those five obstruction episodes. it is in the section of your report beginning on page 113 of volume 2, entitled, quote, the president orders mcgahn to deny that the president tried to fire the special counsel, end quote. on january 25th, 2018, "the new york times" reported that, quote, the president had ordered mcgahn to have the department of justice fire you. is that correct? >> correct. >> and that story related to the events you already testified about here today. the president's calls to mcgahn to have you removed. correct? >> correct. >> after the news broke, did the president go on tv and deny the story? >> i do not know. >> in fact, the president said, quote, fake news, folks, fake news. a typical "new york times" fake story, end quote. correct? >> correct. >> but your investigation actually found substantial evidence that mcgahn was ordered by the president to fire you. correct? >> yes. >> did the president's personal
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lawyer do something the following day in responses to that news report? >> i would refer you to the coverage of this in the report. >> on page 114, quote, on january 26th, 2018, the president's personal counsel called mcgahn's attorney and said that the president wanted mcgahn to put out a statement denying that he had been asked to fire the special counsel, end quote. did mcgahn do what the president asked? >> i refer you to the report. >> communicating through his personal attorney, mcgahn refused, because he said, quote, that the times story was accurate in reporting that the president wanted the special counsel removed. isn't that right? >> i believe it is, but i refer you again to the report. >> so mr. mcgahn, through his personal attorney, told the president that he was not going to lie. is that right? >> true. >> did the president drop the issue? >> i refer to the write-up of
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this in the report. >> next, the president told the white house staff secretary, rob porter, to try to pressure mcgahn to make a false denial. is that correct? >> that's correct. >> what did he actually direct porter to do? >> i send you back to the report. >> on page 113 it says, quote, the president then directed porter to tell mcgahn to create a record, to make it clear that the president never directed mcgahn to fire you, end quote. is that correct? >> that is as it's stated in the report. >> and you found, quote, the president said he wanted mcgahn to write a letter to the file for our records. correct? >> correct. >> and to be clear, the president is asking his white house counsel, don mcgahn, to create a record that mcgahn believed to be untrue while you were in the midst of investigating the president for obstruction of justice.
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correct? >> generally correct. >> and mr. mcgahn was an important witness in that investigation, wasn't he? >> i would have to say yes. >> did the president tell porter to threaten mcgahn if he didn't create the written denial? >> i would refer you to the write-up of it in the report. >> in fact, didn't the president say, quote, and this is on page 116, if he doesn't write a letter, then maybe i'll have to get rid of him, end quote? >> yes. >> did porter deliver that threat? >> i again refer you to the discussion that's found on page 115. >> okay. but the president still didn't give up, did he? so the president told mcgahn directly to deny that the president told him to have you fired. can you tell me exactly what happened? >> i can't beyond what's in the report. >> well, on page 116, it says the president met him in the oval office, quote, the
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president began the oval office meeting by telling mcgahn that the "new york times" story didn't look good and mcgahn needed to correct it. is that correct? >> as it's written in the report, yes. >> the president asked mcgahn whether he would do a correction and mcgahn said no. correct? >> that's accurate. >> well, mr. mueller, thank you for your investigation uncovering this very disturbing evidence. my friend, mr. richmond will have additional questions on the subject. however, it is clear to me, if anyone else had ordered a witness to create a false record and cover up acts that are subject of a law enforcement investigation, that person would be facing criminal charges. i yield back my time. >> gentlelady yields back. the gentlemen from ohio. >> the fbi interviewed on february 10th, 2017. in that interview mr. mifs had
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lied. you point this out that mif son denied and also falsely stated. in addition, he o mitd. three times he lied to the fbi, yet you didn't charge him with a crime. >> i'm sorry, did you say 193? >> volume 1, 193. why didn't you charge him with a crime? >> i can't get into internal deliberations with regard to who or who would not be charged. >> let's remember this. in 2016 the fbi did something they probably haven't done before. they spied on two american citizens associated with a presidential campaign. george papadopoulos and carter page. they went to the fiza court and used the now famous dossier as part of the reason they were able to get the warrant and spy on parter page for more than a year. with mr. papadopoulos they didn't go to the court.
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they used human sources. from the moment papadopoulos joins the campaign you've got all these people around the world starting to swirl around him. names like halpel, downer, meeting in rome and london, all kinds of places. the fbi even spent a lady posing as somebody else who and dispatched her to london to spy on mr. papadopoulos. in one of these meetings mr. papadopoulos is talking to a foreign diplomat and he tells the diplomat russians have dirt on clinton. that diplomat then contacts the fbi and the fbi opens an investigation based on that fact. you point this out on page 1 of the report, july 31st, 2016, they open the investigation based on that piece of information. diplomat tells papadopoulos the russians have dirt -- excuse me, papadopoulos tells the diplomat the russians have dirt on clinton, they tell the fbi.
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what i'm wondering is who told papadopoulos? how did he find out. >> i can't get into the -- >> yes, you can. you wrote about it. you gave us the answer on page 192 of the report, you tell us who told him. joseph nipson is the guy who told papadopoulos. he lives in lond ns and teaches at two universities. this is the guy who told papadopoulos. he's the guy who starts it all. and when the fbi interviews him, he lies three times and yet you don't charge him with a crime. you charge rick gates for false statements and paul manafort for false statements, michael cohen for false statements, you charge michael flynn, a three-star general with false statements. but the guy who puts the country through this whole saga starts it off, for three years we've lived this now. he lies, and you guys don't charge him. i'm curious as to why. >> well, i can't get into it and it's obvious that we can't get
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into charging decisions. >> when the fbi interviewed him in february, when the special counsel's office interviewed mifson, did he lie to you guys, too? >> i can't get into that. >> did you interview mifson? >> i can't get into that. >> is he western intelligence or russian intelligence? >> i can't get into that. >> you can charge 13 russians no one has ever heard of, no one has ever seen, no one is ever going to hear of them or see them. you can charge them and all kinds of people who are around the president with false statements. but the guy who launches everything, the guy who puts this whole story in motion, you can't charge him. i think that's amazing. >> i'm not certain i agree with your characterizations. >> well, i'm reading from your report. mifson told papadopoulos, papadopoulos tells the diplomat who tells the fbi, the fbi opens the investigation july 31st, 2016, and here we are three years later, july of 2019. the country has been put through
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this and the central figure who launches it all lies to us and you guys don't hunt him down and interview him again, and you don't charge him with a crime. now, here's the good news. here's the good news. the president was falsely accused of conspiracy, the fbi does a ten-month investigation and james comey when we deposed him a year ago told us at that point they had nothing. you do a 22-month investigation. at the end of that 22 months, you find no conspiracy. and what do the democrats want to do? they want to keep investigating. they want to keep going. maybe a better course of action, maybe a better course of action is to figure out how the false accusations started. maybe it's to go back and actually figure out why joseph mifson was lying to the fbi. and here's the good news. here's the good news. that's exactly what bill barr is doing. and thank goodness for that. that's exactly what the attorney general is doing. they're going to find out why we went through this three-year saga and get to the bottom of it. >> the time of the gentlemen is
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expired. in a moment, we will take a very brief five-minute break. first, i ask everyone in the room to please remain seated and quiet while the witness exits the room. i also want to announce to those in the audience that you may not be guaranteed your seat if you leave the hearing room at this time. a very short recess.
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the gentlemen from louisiana, mr. richmond. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. mueller, congressman deutch addressed trump's request to mcgahn to fire you. representative bass talked about the president's request of mcgahn to deny the fact that the president made that request. i want to pick up where they left off and i want to pick up with the president's personal lawyer. in fact, there was evidence that the president's personal lawyer was alarmed at the prospect of the president meeting with mr. mcgahn to discuss mr. mcgahn's refusal to deny "the new york times" report about the president trying to
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fire you. correct? >> correct. >> in fact, the president's counsel was so alarmed by the prospect of the president's meeting with mcgahn, that he called mr. mcgahn's counsel and said that mcgahn could not resign, no matter what happened in the oval office that day. correct? >> correct. >> so it's accurate to say that the president knew that he was asking mcgahn to deny facts that mcgahn, quote, had repeatedly said were accurate, unquote. isn't that right? >> correct. >> your investigation also found, quote, by the time of the oval office meeting with the president, the president was aware, one, that mcgahn did not think the story was false, two, did not want to issue a statement or create a written record denying facts that mcgahn believed to be true. the president, nevertheless, persisted and asked mcgahn to
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repudiate facts that mcgahn had repeatedly said were accurate. isn't that correct? >> generally true. >> i believe that's on page 119. thank you. in other words, the president was trying to force mcgahn to say something that mcgahn did not believe to be true? >> that's accurate. >> i want to reference you to a slide and it's on page 120. and it says, substantial evidence indicates that in repeatedly urging mcgahn to dispute that he was ordered to have the special counsel terminated, the president acted for the purpose of influencing mcgahn's account in order to deflect or prevent further scrutiny of the president's conduct towards the investigation. >> that's accurate. >> can you explain what you meant there? >> i'm just going to leave it as it appears in the report. >> so it's fair to say the president tried to protect
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himself by asking staff to falsify records relevant to an ongoing investigation? >> i would say that's generally a summary. >> would you say that that action, the president trying to hamper the investigation by asking staff to falsify records, relevant to your investigation? >> i'm going to refer you to the report, if i could, for review of that episode. >> thank you. also, the president's attempt to get mcgahn to create a false written record were related to mr. trump's concerns about your obstruction of justice inquiry. correct? >> i believe that to be true. >> in fact, at the same oval office meeting, did the president also ask mcgahn quote, why he had told special counsel's office investigators that the president told him to have you removed, unquote? >> and what was the question, sir, if i might? >> let me go to the next one. the president, quote, criticized
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mcgahn for telling your office about the june 17th, 2017 events when he told mcgahn to have you removed. correct? >> correct. >> in other words, the president was criticizing his white house counsel for telling law enforcement officials what he believed to be the truth? >> i again go back to the text of the report. >> well, let me go a little bit further. would it have been a crime if mr. mcgahn had lied to you about the president ordering him to fire you? >> i don't want to speculate. >> okay. is it true that you charged multiple people associated with the president for lying to you during your investigation? >> that is accurate. >> the president also complained that his staff were taking notes during the meeting about firing mcgahn. is that correct? >> that's what the report says. you have the report.
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>> but, in fact, it's completely appropriate for the president's staff, especially his counsels, to take notes during a meeting. correct? >> i rely on the wording of the report. >> well, thank you, director mueller, for your investigation into whether the president attempted to obstruct justice by ordering his white house counsel don mcgahn to lie to protect the president and then to create a false record about it. it is clear that any other person who engaged in such conduct would be charged with a crime. we will continue our investigation and we will hold the president accountable, because no one is above the law. >> the gentlemen from florida. >> can you state with confidence that the steele dossier was not part of russia's disinformation campaign? >> i said in my open statement that part of the building of the case pre-dated me by at least ten months. >> paul manafort's alleged
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crimes regarding tax evasion pre-dated you. you had no problem charging him. as a matter of fact, this steele dossier pre-dated the attorney general and he didn't have any problem answering the question when senator cornyn asked him the exact same question. the attorney general said, and i'm quoting, no, i can't state that with confidence. that's one of the areas i'm reviewing. i'm koernd about it and i don't think it's entirely speculative. if something is not entirely speculative then it must have some factual basis. but you identify no factual basis regarding the dossier or the possibility that it was part of the russia disinformation campaign. now, christopher steele's reporting is referenced in your report. steele reported to the fbi that senior russian foreign ministry figures, along with other russians, told him that there was -- and i'm quoting from the steele dossier, extensive evidence of conspiracy between the trump campaign team and the kremlin. so here's my question. did russians really tell that to
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christopher steele or did he just make it all up and was he lying to the fbi? >> let me back up a second, if i could. i'll say as i've said earlier, with regard to the steele, that that's beyond my purview. >> no, it is exactly your purview, director mueller. and here's why. only one of two things is possible. either steele made this whole thing up and there were never any russians telling him of this vast criminal conspiracy that you didn't find. or russians lied to steele. now, if russians were lie to go steele to undermine our confidence in our duly elected president, that would seem to be precisely your purview because you stated in your opening that the organizing principle was to fully and thoroughly investigate russia's interference. but you weren't interested in whether russians were interfering through christopher steele. and if steele was lying, then you should have charged him with lying. but you say nothing about this in your report. meanwhile, director, on other topics you write 3,500 words
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about the june meeting and the russian lawyer veselnitskaya. you write on page 10 # of your report that the president's legal team suggested, and i'm quoting from your report, that the meeting might have been a setup by individuals working with the firm that produced the steele reporting. so i'm going to ask you a very easy question. on the week of june 9, who did russia lawyer veselnitskaya meet with more frequently, the trump campaign or glen simpson who was functionally acting as an operative for the democratic national committee? >> this is under investigation elsewhere in the justice department. >> i just -- >> and if i can finish, and consequently it's not within my purview. the department of justice and the fbi should be responsive to questions on this particular issue. >> it is absurd to suggest that an operative for the democrats was meeting with this russian lawyer the day before and the day after the trump tower
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meeting and yet that's not something you reference. glen simpson testified under oath he had dinner with veselnitskaya the day before and the day after this meeting with the trump team. do you have any basis as you sit here today to believe that steele was lying? >> as i said before and i'll say again, it's not my purview. others are investigating what you addressed. >> so it's not your purview to look into whether or not steele is lying. it's not your purview to look into whether anti-trump russians are looking into steele. and whether simpson was meeting with russians the day before and after the trump campaign meeting. i'm wondering how these decisions are guided. i look at the inspector general's report and i'm citing from 404 of the inspect general's report, it said page stated president trump is not ever going to be president, right. strzok replied no, he's not. we'll stop it. there's someone identified as attorney number two. this is page 419. attorney number two replied held, no, and then added viva
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resistance: they both worked on your team, didn't they? >> i heard strzok. who else from you talking about? >> attorney number two identified in the inspector general's report. >> and the question was? >> did he work for you? >> peter strzok worked for me for a period of time, yes. >> but so did the other guy that said viva resistance. here's what i'm interesting. when people associated with trump lied, you threw the book at them. when christopher steele lied, nothing. it seems to be that when glen simpson met with russians, nothing. when the trump campaign met with russians, 3,500 words. the team was so biased -- >> mr. jeffries of new york is recognized. >> obstruction of justice is a serious crime that strikes at the core of an investigator's effort to find the truth. correct? >> correct. >> the crime of obstruction of justice has three elements.
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true? >> true. >> the first element is an obstructive act, correct? >> correct. >> an obstructive act could include taking an action that would delay or interfere with an ongoing investigation as set forth in volume 2, page 87 and 88 of your report, true? >> i'm sorry. could you again repeat the question? >> an obstructive act could include taking an action that would delay or interfere with an ongoing investigation? >> that's true. >> your investigation found evidence that president trump took steps to terminate the special counsel, correct? >> correct. >> mr. mueller, does ordering the termination of the head of a criminal investigation constitute an obstructive act? >> that would be -- >> let me refer you -- >> i'll refer you to the report on that. >> let me refer you to page 87 and 88 of volume 2 where you conclude the attempt to remove the special counsel would qualify as an obstructive act if
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it would naturally obstruct the investigation and any grand jury proceedings that might flow from the inquiry. correct? >> yes. i've got that now. thank you. >> the second element of obstruction of justice is the presence of an obstructive act in connection with an official proceeding. true? >> true. >> does the special counsel's criminal investigation into the potential wrongdoing of donald trump constitute an official proceeding? >> and that's an area which i can not get into. >> okay. president trump tweeted on june 16th, 2017, quote, i am being investigated for firing the fbi director by the man who told me to fire the fbi director. witch hunt. the june 16th tweet just read was cited on page 89 in volume 2, constitutes a public acknowledgment by president trump that he was under criminal
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investigation, correct? >> i think generally correct. >> one day later, on saturday, june 17th, president trump called white house counsel don mcgahn at home and directed him to fire the special counsel, true? >> i believe it to be true. i think i may have stated in responses to questions somewhere. >> that is correct. president trump told don mcgahn, quote, mueller has to go, closed quote. correct? >> correct. >> your report found on page 89, volume 2 that substantial evidence indicates that by june 17th the president knew his conduct was under investigation by a federal prosecutor who would present any evidence of federal crimes to a grand jury, true? >> true. >> the third element -- second element having just been satisfied. the third element of the crime of obstruction of justice is corrupt intent. true? >> true. >> corrupt intent exists if the president acted to obstruct an official proceeding for the
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improper purpose of protecting his own interest, correct? >> that's generally correct. >> thank you. >> the only thing i would say is we are going through the three elements of proof of the obstruction of justice charges, when the fact of the matter is we got -- excuse me just one second. >> thank you, mr. mueller. let me move on in the interest of time. upon learning about the appointment of the special counsel, the president stated to the special counsel, oh my god, this is terrible, this is the end of my presidency. correct. >> correct. >> is it fair to say the president viewed the special counsel's investigation as adverse to his own interest in. >> i think that generally is true. >> the investigation found evidence, quote, that the president knew that he should not have direct don mcgahn to fire the special counsel.
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correct? >> where do you have that quote? >> page 90, volume 2. there's evidence that the president knew he should not have made those calls to mcgahn, closed quote. >> i see that. yes, that's accurate. >> the investigation also found substantial evidence that president trump repeatedly urged mcgahn to dispute that he was ordered to have the special counsel terminated. correct? >> correct. >> the investigation found substantial evidence that when the president ordered don mcgahn to fire the special counsel and then lie about it, donald trump, one, committed an obstructive act, two, connected to an official proceeding, three, did so with corrupt intent. those are the elements of obstruction of justice. this is the united states of america. no one is above the law. no one. the president must be held accountable one way or the other. >> let me just say, if i might, i don't subscribe necessarily to
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your -- the way you analyzed that. i'm not saying it's out of the ballpark but i'm not supportive of that analytical charge. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. mueller, over here. >> hi. >> i want to start by thanking you for your service. you joined the marines and went to vietnam where you earned a bronze star, purple heart. you served as assistant noimds attorney leading the homicide department here in dc, in massachusetts and district of california. assistant attorney general for doj's criminal division and the fbi director. thank you. i appreciate yat that. having reviewed your biography, it puzzles me why you handled your duties in this case the way you did. the report contradicts what you taught young attorney general at the department of justice, including to ensure that every defendant is treated fairly. the prosecutor is not the representative of an ordinary
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party but of a sovereignty, whose interest is not that it shall win a case but that justice shall be done and the prosecutor shall strike hard blows but not foul ones. by listing the ten factual situations and not reaching a conclusion about the merits of the case, you unfairly shifted the burden of proof to the president, forcing him to prove his innocence, while denying him a legal forum to do so. and i've never heard of a prosecutor declining a case and then holding a press conference to talk about the defendant. you noted eight times in your report that you had a legal duty under the regulations to prosecutor or decline charges. despite this, you disregarded that duty. as a former prosecutor, i'm also troubled with your legal analysis. you discuss ten separate factual patterns involving alleged obstruction, and then you failed to separately apply the elements of the applicable statutes. i looked at the ten factual situations and i read the case
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law. and i have to tell you, just looking at the flynn matter, for example, the four statutes that you cited for possible obstruction, 1503, 1505 and 1512 c 2, when i look at those concerning the flynn matter, 1503 isn't applicable because there wasn't a grand jury and director comey was not an officer of the court as defined by the statute. section 1505 criminal lies acts that would obstruct or impede proceedings before congress. the department of justice criminal manual states that the fbi investigation is not a pending proceeding. 1512 b 3 talks about intimidation, threats or force to tamper with a witness. general flynn was not a witness and certainly director comey was not a witness. and it also talks about
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tampering with a record and as joe biden described the statue being debated on the senate floor, he called this a statute criminalizing document shredding and there's nothing in what i have to ask you and what people are working around in this hearing, let me lay a little foundation, a prosecutor have a reasonable probability of conviction to bring a charge. is that correct? >> generally accurate. >> the regulations concerning your job is special counsel state your job is to provide a confidential report explaining the prosecution or declination decisions released by your office. he recommended declining donald trump and anyone associated, there is insufficient evidence, in the 2016 election.
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was there sufficient evidence to convict donald trump or anyone else with obstruction of justice? >> we did not make the calculation. >> how could you not have made the calculation. >> the office of legal counsel indicates we cannot indict a sitting president. one tool a prosecutor would use is not there. >> you made the decision on russian interference. you couldn't have indicted the president on that but when it came to obstruction you throw bunch of stuff against the wall to see what would stick. >> i do not agree with that characterization at all. we provided to the attorney general in the form of a confidential memorandum our understanding of the case, cases that were brought or declined and that one case where the president cannot be charged with a crime.
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>> could you charge the president with a crime after he left office? >> yes. >> you believe you could charge the president of the united states with obstruction of justice after he left office? >> yes. >> under the ethical standards. >> not sure about ethical standards but the prosecutor cannot bring a charge against a sitting president, nonetheless continue the investigation to continue with other persons who might be drawing into the conspiracy. >> the time of the gentleman is expired. the gentleman from rhode island. >> we are focusing on 5 separate episodes today. i would like to ask about the third episode, a section of your report entitled the president's efforts to curtail special counsel investigation beginning on page 90 and by curtail you mean limit. the president tried to have you fired as white house counsel
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and mister mcgann refused the order to ask others to limit the investigation. what corey lewandowski wants such individuals? >> remind me -- >> corey lewandowski is the former campaign manager. did have an official position of the trump administration? >> i don't believe so. >> an incident in the oval office on june 19, 2017, volume 2, page 91. >> what is the citation? >> page 91. >> the second volume? >> a meeting in the oval office with corey lewandowski and the president. that was two days after the president called don mcgann and ordered him to fire you. is that correct? >> apparently so. >> after white house counsel refused to follow the president's order to fire you the president came up with a new plan to go around all his senior advisers and government aids, have a private citizen try to limit your
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investigation. what did the president tell mister lewandowski to do? he dictated a message from attorney general sessions and asked him to write it down and did you and your team see this handwritten message? >> i won't get into what we may or may not have included. >> the message directed sessions to give a public speech saying he plans to meet with a special prosecutor to say this is very unfair and that the special prosecutor move forward investigating election meddling for future elections on page 91. correct? >> yes it is. >> mister lewandowski, private citizen was instructed by the president of the united states to deliver a message from the president to the attorney general that directed him to limit your investigation, correct? >> correct. >> and was to recuse from oversight, correct? >> could you restate?
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>> the attorney general was greek used, would have been defying his only permit's rules to comply with the authority. >> i can't get into the subsidiary details and i refer you to page 91, 92 of the report. >> if the attorney general follow through, it would have effectively ended your investigation into the president and his campaign on page 97, correct? on page 97 you write, quote, taken together the president's directive indicates sessions was instructed to tell special counsel to end the investigation into the president and his campaign with special counsel being permitted to move forward with investigating election meddling for future elections a, is that correct? >> yes. >> an unsuccessful attempt to obstruct justice is still a crime. correct? >> yes.
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>> mister lewandowski tried to meet with the attorney general, is that right? >> true. >> tried to meet with him in his office so there wasn't a public log of this. >> according to what we gathered from the report. >> the president raised this issue again with mister lewandowski and he said of sessions is not meet with you lewandowski should help sessions he was fired, correct? >> correct. >> immediately following the meeting with the president lewandowski asked to deliver the message with the former chief of staff to mister sessions and mister dearborn refuses to deliver it because he doesn't feel comfortable. >> correct. >> just so we're clear, two days after the white house counsel don mcgann refused to carry out the president's order to fire you the president directed a private citizen to tell the attorney general of the united states who was recused at the time to limit your investigation to future
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elections ending your investigation into the 2016 trump campaign. is that correct? >> i'm not going to adopt your characterization but the actions laid out in the report are accurate. >> you write a page 99, substantial evidence indicates the president's effort to have sessions limit the scope of the special counsel investigation to future elections interference was intended to prevent further investigative scrutiny of the president and his campaign conduct. is that correct? >> generally. >> you have seen a letter where thousand republican and democratic federal prosecutors read the report and said anyone but the president committed those actss would be charged with instruction of justice, do you agree with his former colleagues thousand prosecutors who came to that conclusion? >> those prosecutors -- >> thank you, mister chairman, mister mueller, your team wrote in the report at the top of page 2, on page 173 you said
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you had come to the conclusion that, quote, the investigation did not establish never trump campaign conspired to coordinate with the russian government in election interference elected -- activities. that is an accurate statement? >> that is accurate. >> when did you personally come to that conclusion? >> can you remind me which paragraph you're referring to? >> page 2, item 1. >> okay. >> which paragraph are you looking at? >> investigation did not establish -- >> i see. was the question? >> when did you personally reach that conclusion? >> we were ongoing for two years. >> you wrote at some point during that period that at some point you had to come to a conclusion that there is not a
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conspiracy going on between this president, not talking about the rest of the team but this president and the russians. >> as you understand developing a criminal case, you get a piece of information, witnesses and the like as you make your case. when you make a decision on that case depends on a number of factors. i did not say we reached the decision on a particular defendant at a particular time. >> it was before you wrote the report, fair enough? you wrote the report dealing with a myriad of issues. sometime prior to that report is when you reached the decision with regard to the president i don't find anything here? fair enough? >> not certain i agree with that. >> you wait until the last minute? >> there are various aspects of the development -- >> that my point. there are various aspects that have been but somewhere you
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came to a conclusion there is no there there for this defendant, isn't that right? you can't say when. fair enough. i am asking the sworn witness. mister mueller, evidence just on may 10, 2017, approximately 7:45 7:405 am, 6 days before the attorney general appointed special counsel mister rosenstein called you and mentioned appointment of a special counsel. not that you would be appointed but you had a discussion of that. is that true? may 10, 2017. >> i don't -- i don't have any knowledge of that. >> you don't have any knowledge or you don't recall? >> i don't have any knowledge. >> evidence he just -- >> >> are you questioning that? >> i find it intriguing, let me tell you there is evidence that suggests that phone call took
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place. evidence exists on may 12, 20175 days before it the special counsel, you met with mister rosenstein in person to discuss the appointment of special counsel not necessarily you but there would be a special counsel? >> don't allow me to give you an answer to that particular question as relates to the internal discussion to see that in terms of indicting an individual. >> this indictment has to do with special counsel and whether you discuss that with mister rosenstein. evidence also suggests on may 13, 4 days before you appointed special counsel you met with former attorney general sessions and rosenstein and you spoke about special counsel. do you remember that? >> know. >> on may 16th the day before you were appointed special counsel you met with the president and rod rosenstein. do your member that meeting? discussion of the position of fbi director took place, do you
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remember that? >> yes. >> did you discuss mister comey's termination? >> know. >> did you discuss the potential appointment of a special counsel in general terms? >> i can't get into discussions on that. >> how many times did you speak to mister rosenstein before may 17th when you got appointed regarding appointment of special counsel, how many times did you discuss that? you don't recall or you just -- >> i do not recall. >> thank you. how many times did you speak with mister comey? >> none at all. >> my time is expired. >> time of the gentleman has expired, gentleman from california. >> director mueller, going back to the president's obstruction
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via corey lewandowski, 1000 former prosecutors who served under republican and democratic administrations with 12,000 years of federal service wrote a letter regarding the president's conduct. are you familiar with that letter? >> yes. >> some of the individuals who signed the letter, a statement of former prosecutors are people you worked with, is that right? >> probably, yes. >> people you respect. >> probably, yes. >> all of this conduct, trying to control and impede the investigation against the president by leveraging his authority over others is the more to conduct charged against other public officials, people in powerful positions. are they wrong? >> they have a different case. >> do you want to sign that letter? >> they have a different case. >> thank you for your service owing back to the 60s when you courageously served in vietnam. because i have a seat on the intelligence can you have questions later but because our
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limited time i will ask to enter this letter into the record under unanimous consent. >> thank you, director mueller, for your long history of service to our country including your service as a marine. i would like to turn to developed of associate justice have applied to the president's attempts to curtail your investigation. first element of instruction of justice requires obstructive net. i would like to direct you to page 97 volume 2 of your report. you wrote on page 97, quote, sessions was instructed to tell special counsel to end the investigation into the president and his campaign. that is in the report, correct? >> correct. >> that would be evidence of an obstructive act because it would actually obstruct an investigation, correct? >> correct. >> let's turn to the second
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element of the crime which requires a nexus to an official proceeding, i will direct you to page 97. you wrote, quote, by the time the president's initial meeting on june 19th the existence of a grand jury investigation was public knowledge. that is in the report, correct? >> that would constitute evidence of a nexus during an official proceeding because a grand jury investigation is an official proceeding, correct? >> i would like to turn to the final moment of the crime. on the same page page 97 you see the intent section on that page? would you be willing to read the first sentence? >> starting with substantial evidence. indicates the president --
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>> read that first sentence. >> i will happy to have you read it. >> you wrote, quote, substantial evidence indicates the president's ever to limit scope of the investigation was intended to prevent further investigative scrutiny of the campaign conduct and that is in the report. >> that is in the report and i rely on the report to indicate what has happened in paragraph we were discussing. >> a recap, the president ordered former white house counsel don began to fire you. the president ordered on began to cover that up and create a false paper trail and now we heard the president ordered corey lewandowski to tell jeff sessions to limit your investigations so you stop investigating the president. any reasonable person looking at these facts could conclude
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all 3 elements, of crime of obstruction of justice have been met. the reason you did not indict donald trump was because of the opinion stating you cannot indict a sitting president, correct? >> that is correct. >> the fact that orders by the president were not carried out is not a defense because the statute itself is quite broad. it says as long as you endeavor or attempt to obstruct justice that would also constitute a crime. >> i don't get into that at this juncture. >> based on the evidence we have heard today any reasonable person would conclude these 3 crimes, by the president occurred, we will be about 2 additional crimes, the temperance of michael cohen and paul manafort. >> the only thing i want to add is going to the elements with you does not mean i subscribe
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to what you are trying to prove through those elements. >> the time of the gentleman is expired. the gentle lady from arizona. i'm sorry, gentleman from california. >> thank you, mister chairman. over here. thanks for joining us today. you had three discussions with rod rosenstein about your appointment a special counsel on may 12th and may 13th, correct? >> if you say so. >> you met with the president on the 16th with rod rosenstein present and on the 17th you were formally appointed special counsel. were you meeting with the president on the 16th with an appointment a special counsel? >> i do not believe i was under consideration for counsel. i served two terms as fbi director. >> the answer is no. >> greg jarrett describes your
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office as parts and additional information is coming to light, there's a growing concern political bias cost important facts to be admitted to your report to cast the president unfairly in a negative light. the president's lawyer left a message with michael finance lawyer on november 17th, november 2017. the edited version of your report makes it appear he was improperly asking for confidential information and that is how we know from your report except the judge ordered the entire transcript released, makes it crystal clear that is not what was suggested. why did you edit the transcript to hide the exculpatory part of the message? >> i agree with your characterization the we did have anything to hide. >> you quote a part where he says some sort of heads-up protecting our interests if we can but admitted the portion where without giving up any
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confidential information. >> i'm not going to go further in terms of discussing -- >> you extensively discuss these activities with paul manafort and describe a russian ukrainian political consultant and longtime employee of paul manafort assist to have ties to russian intelligence, that is all we know from your report except we have since learned from news articles that this was a state department intelligence source yet nowhere in your report is he so identified. why is that? >> i don't credit what you are saying. >> were you aware of that? >> i'm not going to go into what we had. >> >> did you interview constantine? >> i can't go into the discussion of our investigative moves. >> and yet that is the basis of
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your report. the problem is we have to rely on your report for an accurate reflection of the evidence and we are finding out that is not true. your report famously linked russian internet troll farms with the russian government yet at a hearing on may 28th in the ira prosecution you initiated the judge excoriated both you and mister barr from producing no evidence to support this claim. why did you suggest russia was responsible for that when in court you have been unable to prove any evidence to support it? >> i'm not going to get into that more than i arty have. >> you left the clear impression throughout the country through your report that the russian government -- when called upon to provide actual evidence in court you failed to do so. >> i dispute your characterization of what occurred.
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>> the judge considered holding prosecutors in criminal content, backed off only after your hastily called press conference in which you retroactively made the distinction between the russian government and russian troll farms. did your press conference may 29th have anything to do with your decision to hold prosecutors in contempt the previous day publicly misrepresenting the evidence? >> what was the question? >> the question, 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? >> now. >> the fundamental problem, we've got to take your word as faithfully, accurately, impartially, and completely describe all the underlying evidence in the mueller report and we are finding instances where this is the case. it is starting to look like having just we tried and failed
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to make a legal case against the president you made a political case instead, you put it on fire, dropped it on our porch, rang the doorbell and ran. >> i don't think you reviewed a report that is as thorough, ask your, as consistent as the report we had in front of us. >> the time of the gentleman is expired, 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 the more intimidating them, tampering of felony punishable by 20 years in prison. you found evidence the president engaged in efforts, quote, to encourage witnesses not to cooperate with the investigation. >> you have citation? >> page 7 on volume 2.
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one of these witnesses was michael cohen, the president's personal lawyer who pled guilty to campaign violations based on secret hush money payments to women the president new and to lie in congress on the hope for a trump tower deal. after the fbi searched cohen's home the president called him a personally and said to check him and tell him to, quote, hang in there and stay strong. is that right? >> it is in the reporter stated. >> also a series of calls made by other friends of the president, one reached out to say he was with the boss in mara lago and the president said he loves you. his name is redacted. another called to say the boss loves you and the third redacted friend said everyone knows the boss has your back. remember finding that? >> generally yes. >> when the news -- cohen said following the receipt of these
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messages, page 147 volume 2, he believed he had the support of the white house if he continued to toe the party line. and determined to stay on message and be part of the team. do you remember that? >> yes. >> robert costello. a lawyer close to the present that legal team emailed cohen to say you are loved, they are in our corner, sleep well tonight and you have friends in high places and that is on the screen. you remember that. when the news first broke that cohen had arranged pays off to stormy daniels cohen stuck to this party line, said that publicly neither the trump organization nor the trump campaign was part of the transaction and neither reimbursed him. trump's personal attorney
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texted cohen to say, quote, client says thank you for what you do. mister mueller, who is the client thinking cohen for what he does? >> can't speak to that. >> the assumption in the context is donald trump. >> can't speak to that. >> cohen pled guilty to campaign-finance offenses and admitted they were made at the direction of candidate donald trump. the rubber that? >> yes. >> the president suddenly changed his tune towards mister cohen, didn't he? >> i would say rely on what is in the report. >> he made the suggestion:family members had committed crimes and targeted his father-in-law and suggested he was guilty of crimes. >> generally accurate. >> on page 154 you give a summary of these changing dynamics and use that i'm happy
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to do it. would you like to read it? >> i would. >> read it out loud to everybody. >> i'm happy to have you read it. >> the sequence of eventss could support an inference the president used inducements in the form of positive messages to get cohen not to cooperate enter into attack, to deter the provision of information or undermine cohen's credibility once cohen began cooperating. >> that is accurate. >> if anyone else engaged in these actions they would have been charged with witness tampering. we must enforce the principle that you emphasized in your report, that no person is so high as to be above the law. i yield back. >> just recently, mister
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mueller, you said mister lieu asked questions, and you did not invite the president because of the olc opinion and you answered that is correct. but that is not what you said in the report and it is not what you told attorney general william barr. in a joint statement you released with doj on may 29th after your press conference your office if you joint statement with the department of justice that said the attorney general previously stated the special counsel repeatedly affirmed he was not saying but for the olc opinion he would have found the president obstructed justice. the special counsel's reporting his statement today made clear the office concluded it would not reach the determine equation one way or the weather the president committed a crime. there is no conflict between the statement so mister
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mueller, do you stand by the statement you wish it on may 29th as you do here today? >> i would have to look at it more closely before saying i agree with it. >> my conclusion is what you told mister lieu contradicts the report and what you said repeatedly to attorney general william barr and then issued a joint statement on may 29th saying the attorney general stated the special counsel repeatedly affirmed -- that we would have found the president obstructed justice. i say there's a conflict. i have more questions. there has been a lot of talk, to curtail this investigation. were you ever fired? were you ever fired in special counsel? >> know.
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>> were you allowed to complete your investigation unencumbered? >> yes. >> you reside a special counsel when you close of the office in late may 2019, correct? >> yes. >> thank you. mister mueller, on april 18th, the attorney general held a press conference in conjunction with the public release of your report. did attorney general william barr say anything inaccurate in his press conference or his march 24th letter to congress summarizing the principal conclusions of your report? >> what you are not mentioning is the letter was sent on march 2, '72 william barr that raised some issues. that letter speaks for itself.
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>> but i don't see how that could be since ag william barr's letter detail the principal conclusions of your report and you have said before that there wasn't anything inaccurate. you have this joint statement. let me go to another question. mister mueller, rather than purely relying on evidence of witnesses and documents i think you relied a lot on media. i would like to know how many times you cited the washington post your report? >> how many times i what? >> cited the washington post in your report. >> i do not have knowledge of that figure. >> i counted 60 times. how many times the new york times -- >> i have no idea. >> i counted 75 times. how many times did you cite fox news? >> is with the other 2 i have
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no idea. >> about 25 times. it looks like volume 2 is mostly regurgitated press stories. there is almost nothing in volume 2 that i can not already here or noticeably by having a $50 cable news subscription but your investigation cost american taxpayers $25 million. 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, quote, this section summarizes very snooze stories, not that the truth of the information continues the stories but to place candidate trump's response of the stories in context. since nobody but lawyers read footnotes are you concerned the public took the embedded news stories --
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>> the time of the gentleman is expired, the dental lady from washington. >> the question. >> we are running short on time. the gentle lady from washington. >> let's turn to the fifth of the section episodes in your report, the evidence of whether donald trump engaged in witness can bring with trump campaign chairman paul manafort whose ties were critical to your investigation into russian interference in the starts at volume 2, page 123. your office got indictment against manafort and trump deputy campaign manager rick gates in two jurisdictions. correct? >> yes. >> you found after grand jury indicted them manafort told gates not to plead guilty to any charges because, quote, he had talked to the president's personal counsel and they were
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going to take care of us. correct? >> correct. >> according to your report one day after manafort's conviction on eight felony charges, quote, the president said flipping was not fair and got to be outlawed. >> i'm aware of that. >> what does it mean to flip? >> have somebody cooperate in a couple investigation. >> how essential is that cooperation to any efforts to combat crime? >> i won't go beyond that characterizing that. >> in your report you concluded donald trump and his personal counsel rudy giuliani, quote, made repeated statement suggesting a pardon was a possibility for manafort while also making it clear the president did not want manafort to flip and cooperate with the government. is that correct? >> correct. >> as you stated earlier witness tampering can be shown where someone with an improper motive encourages another person not to cooperate with law enforcement, correct? >> exactly. >> on page 123 on volume 2 you
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discuss the president's motive and use as court proceedings move forward against manafort, donald trump, quote, discussed with aids whether and in what way, manafort might be cooperating and whether manafort new any information that would be harmful to the president. is that correct? >> that was a quote -- >> page 123 volume 2. >> yes. >> when someone tries to stop another person working with law enforcement and they do it because they are worried about what that person will say, it seems clear from what you wrote that this is a classic definition of witness tampering. mister manafort did eventually decide to cooperate with your office and entered into a plea agreement but then broke that agreement. can you describe what he did that caused you to tell the court the agreement was off? >> i refer you to the court proceedings on the issue. >> page 127 volume to you told the court mister manafort lied about a number of matters that were material to the
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investigation and you said manafort's lawyers, quote, regularly briefed the president's lawyers on topics discussed and information manafort provided in interviews with the special counsel's office. >> the source of that is? >> page 127 volume 2. >> if it is from the report, yes. >> two days after you told the court manafort broke his plea agreement by lying repeatedly this president, trump, tells the press, mister manafort was, quote, very brave because he did not flip, page 128. >> if it is in the report i've support it as it is set forth. >> in your report you make a serious conclusion about the evidence regarding the president's involvement with the manafort criminal proceedings was let me read from your report. evidence concerning the president's conduct toward manafort indicate the president intended to encourage manafort to not cooperate with the government. it is clear the president
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publicly and privately discouraged mister manafort's cooperation of flipping while 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. we must ensure that no one is above the law and i thank you for being here. yield back. >> the gentleman from pennsylvania. >> mister mueller i am over here, i am sorry. are you familiar with the noun expired independent counsel statute? the statute under which kenneth starr -- >> can you started what? >> are you familiar with the independent counsel statute? >> are you talking about the one we are operating under now? >> under which kenneth starr was appointed? >> i'm not a lawyer with it. >> will the clinton administration allow the independent counsel statute to expire after kenneth starr's investigation? final report requirement was a major reason why the statute was allowed to expire.
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even president clinton's ag janet reno expressed concern about the final report requirement and i will quote ag reno, she said the american people have an interest in knowing the outcome for highest officials. the report requirement cuts across the most basic traditions and practices of american law enforcement. under our system we presume innocence and we value privacy. you believe information obtained during a criminal investigation should in most cases be made public only if there is an indictment and prosecution, not a lengthy and detailed report filed after the decision was made not to prosecute? final report provides a forum for unfairly airing a target and also creates another incentive for an independent counsel to overinvestigate in
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order to justify his or her tenure to avoid criticism the independent counsel may have left stones unturned. those are ag reno's words. are you doing what ag reno feared you did you publish a lengthy report unfairly targeting dirty laundry without recommending charges? >> i disagree with that. >> any of your witnesses have a chance to be cross-examined? >> can i finish my answer? >> quickly. >> i operate under the current statute, not the original statute. i mostly with the current statute. >> any of the witnesses have a chance to be cross-examined? >> any of the witnesses in our investigation? >> yes. >> i'm not going to answer that. >> did you allow people mentioned in your report to challenge how they were characterized? >> i am not going to get into that.
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>> >> did ag by mentioned in the confirmation hearing that you would make as much of the report public as possible? did you write your report knowing it would likely be shared with the public? >> know. >> did knowing the report could and likely would be made public, did that also the contents you include? >> i can't speak to that. >> despite the expectations the report would be released to the public you left out significant exculpatory evidence favorable to the president, correct? >> i would disagree with you. i think we strove -- exculpatory -- >> you said there was evidence you left out. >> you make a choice as to what goes in to the indictment. >> is a true on page 1 volume to you state when quoting the statute you had an obligation to prosecute or not prosecute. >> generally that is the case although most cases are not
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done in the context of the president. >> you made a decision not to prosecute, correct? >> we made a decision not to decide whether to prosecute or not. >> what you did, everything ag reno warned against. >> i can't agree with that characterization. >> you compile the 450 pages of the very words -- worst information you gathered against the target of your investigation rather -- happened 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. >> as a former officer i prosecute nearly 100 terrorists in baghdad. i cross-examined the butcher of falluja in defense of our navy seals. as a civilian i was elected magisterial judge in pennsylvania. i'm very well-versed in the american legal system. the drafting and publication of some of the information in this report without an indictment,
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without prosecution flies in the face of american justice. i find those facts, this entire process in american. i yield the remainder of my time to my colleagues. >> director mueller, the third fisa renewal, what role did your office play in the third fisa renewal of carter page? >> i won't come up with that. >> the time of the gentleman is expired, the dental lady from florida. >> director mueller, a couple of my colleagues wanted to ask you about lies. let's talk about lies. according to the report, page 9 volume 1, witnesses lied to your office and to congress. those lies materially impair 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 lied to you? >> there are probably a specter
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of witnesses in terms of those not telling the full truth and those are outright liars. >> thank you very much, outright lies. it is fair to say there were limits what evidence was available to your investigation of russia election interference and obstruction of justice. >> that is true and that is usually the case. >> trump campaign officials and administration officials impeded your investigation. >> i would generally agree with that. >> thank you, director mueller, you will be hearing more from me in the next hearing. i yield the balance of my time. >> mister mueller, let me welcome you, thank you for your service to our country, you are a hero, vietnam war vet, wounded war vet, we won't forget your service to this country. if i may begin because of time limits, we have gone into 5 possible episodes of
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obstruction. there is so much more and i want to focus on another section of obstruction which is the president's conduct concerning michael flynn, the president's national security adviser. in early 237 -- 27, the white house counsel in the president were informed that mister flynn lied to government authorities about communications with the russian ambassador during the trump campaign and transition. is this correct? >> correct. >> if a hostile nation knows that a us official lied publicly against that could be used to blackmail that government official, correct? >> i'm not going to speak to that. i don't disagree with necessarily but i am not going to speak anymore to that issue. >> thank you very much. flynn result on february 13, 2016, and the next day when the president was having lunch with new jersey governor chris christie did the president say now that we fired flynn the
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russia thing is over? is that correct? >> correct. >> is a true the christie responded by saying no way, this russia thing is far from over? >> that is the way we haven't in the report. >> thank you. >> after the president met with christie later that day the president arranged to meet with james comey alone in the oval office, correct? >> correct but particularly if you have a citation -- >> page 39-40-volume 2. and according to comey the president told him, quote, i hope you can see your way clear to letting this thing -- letting flynn go. he is a good guy and i hope you can let it go.
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page 40 volume 2. what did comey understand the president be asking? >> i won't get into what was in mister comey's mind? >> a direction because the president's position in the circumstances of the 1-1 meeting in 41 volumes. >> it is in the report and i support it as being in the report. >> thank you. even though the president denied telling comey to drop the investigation you found substantial evidence corroborating comey's account. correct? >> correct. >> the president fired comey on may 9th, is that correct? >> i believe that is the accurate date. >> 77, volume 2. you can't substantial evidence that the catalyst for the president's firing of comey was
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comey's unwillingness to state the president was not personally under investigation. >> i won't get into the details of what happened. it is in the report that i supported because it has been reviewed and appears in the report. >> that is page 75 volume 2. the very next day the president told the russian foreign minister i just fired the head of the fbi. he was crazy, a real nut job. i face great pressure because of russia. i am not under investigation. is that correct? >> that is what -- >> time of the gentleman is expired. the gentleman from virginia. >> we heard a lot about what you are not going to talk about so let's talk about something you should be able to talk about, the underlying
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obstruction statute, your creative legal analysis of the statute particularly interpretation in 1512-see, obstruction of justice statute created as part of auditing financial regulations for public companies and as you write on page 164 volume 2 this provision was added as the floor and went in the senate and explained as closing certain loopholes with respect to document shredding. mister reid alters, destroys, mutilates a record document or other object or tends to do so with intent to interfere with the objectives integrity or availability for use in an official proceeding or otherwise obstructs, influences or impedes a proceeding or shall do so shall be fined under the statute. your analysis and application of the statute proposes to give policy to a broader interpretation than commonly used as the analysis proposes
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to read policy tone isolation reading, a freestanding or encompassing provision prohibiting any act influencing proceeding of them with improper motive. the analysis of the statute to apply, proposes to apply the sweeping prohibition to lawful acts taken by public officials exercising their discretionary powers if those acts influence a proceeding. i would ask in analyzing the obstruction you state you recognize the department of justice in the course of not definitively resolving issues, correct? you would agree not everyone in the justice department agreed with your legal theory of obstruction of justice. >> i'm not going to be involved in that. >> the attorney general disagrees with your interpretation of the law, correct? >> i leave it to the attorney general to identify. >> he would agree prosecutors incorrectly apply the law? >> i would have to agree with that.
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>> members of your legal team have had convictions overturned because they were based on incorrect legal theory correct? >> i don't know to what you refer. any one of those cases -- >> let me ask one of your prosecutor sandra wiseman obtained a conviction against arthur anderson in lower court which was overturned in unanimous supreme court decision that rejected the legal theory advanced by wiseman, correct? >> may i just finished? and i will refer you to that citation you gave me at the outset for lengthy discussion on what you are talking about. it is what we put into the report. >> i am reading from your report, i will read from the decision of the supreme court unanimously reversing mister wiseman. and the jury was told they were lawful.
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>> let me move on. i have limited time. the broadest possible reading, there's implication for over criminalizing conduct for private citizens to emphasize how broad your theory of liability is, on october 11, 2015, during an investigation into hillary clinton's private email server president obama said it posed a national security problem and america is national security was endangered. assuming his comments did influence the investigation couldn't president obama be charged. >> i refer you to the report. with andrew wiseman, one of the more talented attorneys we have on board. over appear go of time, brought
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a number of units. >> i have limited time. august 2015 a senior doj official called fbi deputy director andrew mccabe express and concern fbi agents were pursuing the clinton foundation probe. doj official was very pissed off and question the official action, are you telling me i need to shut down the investigation? which the official replied of course not. this seems to be clear example of somebody attempting to influence an fbi investigation. under your theory couldn't that person be charged with instruction as long as the prosecutor could come up with a potentially corrupt motive? >> i refer you to our dissertation on those issues that appears at the end of the report. >> i would argue -- >> the time evidence of it is expired. our intent was to conclude this hearing in three hours.
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this will bring us to 11:40. director mueller's indulgence, will ask remaining democratic mom is to limit their time below the five minutes to complete our work as close to that time frame as possible. i recognize the gentle lady in pennsylvania. >> thank you, director mueller. i ask for the present that statement involving knowledge of the wikileaks dumps. the president refused to sit down with your investigators for an in person interview, correct? so the only answers we have are contained in appendix c to your report. looking at appendix c on page 5, you asked the president a dozen questions whether he had knowledge that wikileaks possessed or might possess the emails stolen by the russians. >> i apologize, can you start again? >> sure. we are looking at appendix c
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page 5, you asked the president 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 helpful to the clinton campaign, correct? in february of this year, mister trump's personal attorney michael cohen testified under oath the, quote, mister trump knew from roger stone in advance about the wikileaks email, that is a matter of public record. >> are you referring to the report or another public record? >> this is testimony before congress by mister cohen. >> i'm not a lawyer with it, what he testified to before congress. >> let's look at an event described on page 18 of volume 2 of your report. we will put on a slide i think.
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according to deputy campaign manager rick gates, in the summer of 2016, he and candidate trump were on the way to the airport after wikileaks's first set of stolen emails and gates told your investigators candidate trump was on a phone call and when the call ended trump told gates more releases of damaging information was coming. the recall that from the report. on page 77 of volume to your report stated in addition some witnesses said trump privately thought information about future wikileaks, is that correct? >> yes. >> in appendix c, the president did answer written questions he said, quote, i do not recall discussing wikileaks with him nor do i recall being aware of mister stone discussing wiki leaks with individuals
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associated with my campaign. >> if it is from the report it is correct. >> is it fair to say the president denied ever discussing wikileaks with mister stone and denied being aware that anyone associated with the campaign discussed it? >> can you repeat that? >> is it fair that the president denied knowledge of himself or anyone else discussing wikileaks? >> yes. >> i would yield back. >> thank you, mister chair. mister mueller over here. did you interview for the fbi director job one day before being appointed special counsel? >> 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 are talking about. >> you don't recall on may 16, 2015, interview with the
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president regarding the fbi director job? >> i interviewed with the president and it was about the job and not about me applying for the job. >> you didn't interview to apply for the fbi director job. >> correct. >> did you tell the vice president the fbi director position would be the job you would come back to? >> i don't recall that. >> given your 22 months of investigation, tens of millions of dollars spent in millions of document review did you obtain any evidence at all that any american voter changed their vote as a result of russian election interference? >> can't speak to that. >> after 22 month investigation is no evidence in that document that any voter changed their vote because of interference? asking based on all the documents? >> that was outside our purview. >> russian meddling was outside -- >> the impact of that meddling was undertaken by other agencies.
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>> you stated in your opening statement you would not get into details of the steel dossier but multiple times in volume 2 on page 23, 27 and 28 you mention the unverified allegations was how long did it take to reach the conclusion that it was unverified? >> i'm not going to speak to that. >> it is in your but multiple times that it is and verify that you tell you are not going to tell us how you came to the conclusion that it was unverified? when did you become aware the unverified steel dossier was included in the fisa application filed by carter page? >> what was the question? >> when did you become aware that the unverified steel dossier was included in the fisa applications filed by carter page? >> i'm not going to speak to that. >> you interviewed christopher steel, correct? >> not going to get into that. >> you can't tell this committee whether or not you interviewed christopher steel in an investigation with 18 lawyers?
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>> as i said at the outset that is one of the investigations being handled by others in the apartment of justice. >> you are testifying today and i'm asking you directly if any members of your team ordered you to interview christopher steel in the course of your destination. >> i'm not going to answer that question. >> you had two years to investigate, not once did you consider worthy to investigate how an unverified document that was paid for by political opponent was used to obtain a warrant to spy on the opposition political campaign? did you do any investigation? >> i reject your characterization of what occurred. >> what the your -- you can't speak to it but you are not going to agree with my characterization. is that correct? >> yes.
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>> the fisa application refers to source one, christopher steel, author of the steel dossier, the fisa applications is nothing sources one after reason for conducting the research tying russia based on sources one previous reporting history would that be the fbi, source one provided reliable information, the fbi, do you believe this is credible to be accurate? >> i'm not going to answer 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 i have nothing toat add. >> i can guarantee the american people want to know and i'm very hopeful and glad ag barr to look into this inspector general is looking looking into this because you are unwilling to answer the question of the american people as a relates to the very basis of this investigation into the president and the very t basis of this individual who did it a few. you're just those questions.
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camp the president fired the fbi director at anytime without reason under article one of the constitution? >> this. >> article to? >> yes. >> kathy firing you without any recent. >> i believe it to bens the cas. well, hold on just a second. you said without any reason. i know special counsel can be fired but i'm not sure the extentnt whatever reason. >> you've testified you were not fired. you are able to complete your investigation in full, is that correct? >> i'm not going to add to what i stated before. >> my timeses expired. >> the gentlelady's time pennsylvania. from texas. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and thank you mr. mueller for being with us close to this afternoon now. director mueller, i would like you about the presidents answers relating to roger stone. roger stone wasn't data for multiple federal crimes, the
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indictment alleges mr. stone discussed future wikileaks e-mail releases with the trump campaign. understanding there's a a gag order on the stone case, i will keep my question is restricted to publicly available information. mr. stones indictment speedy legacy at the outset don't mean to disrupt you but i'm not, i would like some demarcation of that which is applicable to this but also in such a way that it doeses not hinder the of the prosecution that is take place in d.c. >> i understand that. i'll will be talking about the questions that you asked inviting to the president that relate to mr. stone. >> thank you, ma'am. >> mr. stones indictment states among other things the following,in quote, stone was contacted by seem to trump officials to inquire about future releases of organization, one, organization being wikileaks. indictment continues, quote,
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stone thereafter told the trump campaign about potential future releases of damaging material b 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. i see you are quoting from the indictment even the indictment is a public document, i feel uncomfortable discussing anything having to sdi do with e stone prosecution. >> right. indictment is of record and we pulled it off of -- >> i understand. >> turning back to the president's answers to your questions then on this very subject, the president did not ever discussing future wikileaks releases with stone and denied knowing whether anyone else in his campaign had those discussions with stone. if you would learn that other
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witnesses, putting aside the president, if other witnesses had lied to investigators in response to specific questions, whether in writing or in interview, could they be charged with false statement crimes? >> i'm not going to speculate because i think asking for me to speculate, given the set of circumstances. >> let us put more specific. what if i'd made a false statement to investigate under team? could i go to jail for up to five years? >> yes. well, it's congress. [laughing] >> that's the point though,h,, isn't it, that no one is above the law, not you, , not the congress and certainlyth not the president. i think it's just troubling drafters some of these things and that's why he american people deserve to learn the full facts of thee misconduct described in your report for which any of the person would've been charged with crimes. so thank you for being here, and
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again the point has been underscored many times and i'll repeat it. no one is above the law. >> thank you, ma'am. >> the time of the gentlelady -- the jump of north carolina is recognized. >> how many people did you fired in the course of investigation? >> how many people -- >> did youdu fire? >> i'm not going to discuss that. >> you fired, , according to the inspector general support, attorney number two was let go and we know peter strzok was let go, correct? >> yes then and even other people and other issues either transferred or fired. >> peter strzok testified before this committee on july 12, 20 team he was fired because you were concerned about preserving the pennsylvania pins. do you agree with his testimony? >> say that again if you could. >> he said he was fired at least partially because you were worried about concern about preserving the appearance of independence with the special counsel's investigation. do you agree with that b statement?
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>> the statement was by who? >> peter strzok at the ceiling. >> i am not familiar with that. >> you fired because you worried about the appearance of independence of investigation? >> no. he was transferred result of incidences involving text. >> you agree that your office didn't all have an obligation to operate with independent but with the appearance of independence as will? >> absolutely, over the to your. >> did wiseman have a role in slickness of the of your team? >> several but not a major will. >> and wiseman attended hillary clinton election night party, you can that before after he came onto the team? >> i don't know when he found that. >> on gender 30 come to 17, wiseman wrote an e-mail to deputy attorney general yateses stating i'm so proud and in awe regarding for disobeying a direct order from the president. did wiseman disclose it to be 40 jointing? >> are not going to talk about that. >> is that not a conflict of
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interest? >> not going to talk about that. >> are you where is jeanie really represent hillary clinton personal e-mailsng originating from clinton's time a secretary of state? >> yes. >> did you know that before she came on? [inaudible] >> the guy sitting next to representing justin to bricklin aide who destroyed one of clinton's mobile devices and you aware by now that six of your lawyers donate $6000 directly to hillary clinton. i'm not even talk about the 49,000 the donor to other democrats, just the donations to the opponent who was a target of your investigation. >> can i speak forot a second to the hiring hiring practices? >> share. >> we strove to hide those individuals that could do the job. i've been in this business for almost 25 years, and in this 25 years i've not had a case once to ask someone about their political affiliation. it is notal done. what i care about is the capability of the individual to do the job and to the job quickly and seriously and with
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integrity. >> but that's what i'm saying. this isn't just that you been able to vouch for your team. this is not knowing the big accepted this role you entity where no matter what this report concluded, half the country is going to v be skeptical of your teams findings. and that's why we have recusal laws that define bias and perceived bias for this very reason. 28 united states code specifically this not just political conflict of interest but the appearance of political conflict of interest. it's simply not enough you vouch for your team. i can imagine a single prosecutor or judge that i've ever appeared in frontha of woud be comfortable with the circumstances were over half the prosecutor will team had a direct relationship to the opponent of the person being investigated. >> one of the fact, we hired 19 lawyers over the period of time. of those 19 lawyers, 14 of them were transferred from elsewhere in the department of justice. only five came fromm outside.
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>> and half of them hadd a diret relationship to political person with the opponent of the person you are investigating. that's my point. i wonder if not a a single worn this entire report was changed but rather the only difference was we switched hillary clinton and president trump. if peter strzok a text of those terrible things up hillary clinton instead of president trump, if a team of lawyers worked for, donated thousands of dollars to and went to trump's parties instead of clinton's, i don't think we've been trying to prop up an obstruction allegation. my colleagues would a 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. there would still be accusing the president of conspiracy with russia and itin would be accusig your team of aiding and abetting, and with a conspiracy. with that i yield back. >> gentleman just back. the gentleman from colorado. >> doctor mueller, thank you for your service to our country collected talky but with other incidents of obstruction that the evidence in the report
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showing the present trekking is sent and communications director to be sure false public statement june 2017 june 2017 a meeting between his campaign and russianhi individuals at trump tower in june of 2016. according to report mr. trump, jr. was the only trump associate to participate in that meeting and to decline to be followed or interviewed by your office can is that correct? >> yes. >> did mr. trump, jr. or his counsel ever to make it to your office>> any intent to invoke is that the memo right against self-incrimination? >> i'm not going answer that. >> you did those written questions to the president about his knowledge of the trump tower meeting. you included also asked about whether or not he had erected a false press statement that the president didn't answer at all that question, correct? >> i can have in front of me. i take your word. >> i directed to that appendix c, c13 states as much. represen c-13 states as much.
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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.
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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?
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>> 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
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$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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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,
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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
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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.
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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
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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. >> director mueller, we thank you for attending today's hearing. before we conclude i asked everyone to please remain seated and quiet while the witness exits the room. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> without objection, all members will have five
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legislative days to submit additional written questions for the witness for additional matures for the record. and without objection a hearing is now adjourned. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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