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tv   Americas Newsroom With Bill Hemmer and Sandra Smith  FOX News  July 24, 2019 6:00am-9:00am PDT

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>> collusion is not -- conspiracy is an offense in the context known collusion and conspiracy are essentially synonymous terms, correct?
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>> no. >> if no on page 180 of volume you wrote it's synonymous with conspiracy as that is set forth in usc371. you said at your press conference and here today you choose your words carefully. are you testifying something different than what your report states today? >> what i'm asking is if you can give me the citation i can look at the citation and evaluation whether it is -- >> let me clarify. you stated you've said within the report. i stated your report back do you. collusion and conspiracy were not synonymous terms. your answer was no. page 180, volume 1 of your report it says as defined in legal dictionaries collusion is with conspiracy. now you said you chose your words carefully. are you contradicting your
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report right now? >> not when i read it. >> you change your answer to 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, volume 1. from your report. >> correct. i leave it with the report. >> so the report says yes they're synonymous. we can put to bed the collusion and conspiracy. one last question as we're going through. did you look into other countries investigated in the russian interference into our election. were other countries investigated? >> i won't discuss either matters. >> i yield back. >> the general lady from california. >> director mueller, we're mostly going to talk about obstruction of justice today, but the investigation of russia's attack that started
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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 the 2016 presidential election? >> well, particularly when it came to computer crimes and the like, the government was imme indicated. >> you wrote in volume 1 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 the campaign strategy for winning democratic votes in midwestern states in internal polling data of the campaign, isn't that correct? >> correct. >> they discuss the status of the trump campaign and manafort's strategy for winning
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votes in midwestern states months before that meeting manafort had caused internal data to be shared and the sharing continued for some period of time after their august meeting, isn't that correct? >> accurate. >> your investigation found that manafort briefed the russians on the state of the trump campaign and manafort's plan to win the election and that was the campaign's message. internal polling data and discussion of battleground states which manafort identified as michigan, wisconsin, pennsylvania, and minnesota, isn't that correct? >> that's correct. >> did your investigation who requested the polling data to be shared with kol imnick? >> i would direct you to the report. that's what we have in the report. with regard to that particular incident. >> we don't have the redacted version and maybe why another reason we should get that for volume one. based on your investigation how could the russian government have used this campaign polling
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data to further its sweeping and systematic interference in the presidential election? >> that's a little bit out of our path. >> fair enough. did your investigation find 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. >> the trump campaign wasn't exactly are -- reluctant to take russian help. >> that's correct. >> was the investigation's determination -- what was the investigation's determination regarding the frequency with which the trump campaign made contact with the russian government? >> well, i would have to refer you to the report on that. >> we went through and we
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counted 126 contacts between russians or their agents and trump campaign officials or their associates. would that sound about right? >> i can't say. i understand the statistic and i believe it -- i understand the statistic. >> mr. mueller, i appreciate you 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 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
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the battleground 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 is 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. >> general lady. >> good morning, director. if you let me quickly summarize your opening statement this morning you said in volume one on the issue of conspiracy the special counsel determined the investigation did not establish that members of the trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the russian government, its election interference activities and
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volume two for reasons you explained special counsel did not make a determination whether there was an obstruction of justice crime committed by the president. is that fair? >> yes, sir. >> in explaining what special counsel didn't make a 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. while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him. now, i read that correctly? >> yes. >> now, your report and today you said that all times the special counsel team operated 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?
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>> can you repeat that? >> which doj policy or principle sets forth a legal standard sets forth a person is not exonerated if their crime noll conduct is not conclusively determined. where is the doj policy that says that? let me make it easier. is there -- 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. >> i have five minutes. let's leave it at you can't find it. 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 is not in any of the documents or appointment order or the special counsel
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regulations, not in the olc opinions and justice manuals and the -- nowhere do those words appear together because respectfully, director, it was not the special counsel's job to constitution klunsively determine donald trump's innocence or exonerate him. the bedrock principle of our justice system is a presumption of innocence and it exists for everyone. everyone is en titleed to it including sitting presidents. because there is a presumption of innocence prosecutors never, ever need to conclusively determine that. now, director, the special counsel applied this inverted burden of proof that i can't find and you said doesn't exist anywhere in the department policies and you used it to write a report. the very first line of your report the very first line of your report says as you read this morning authorizes the special counsel to provide the attorney general with a
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confidential report explaining the prosecution or decisions reached by the special counsel. that's the first word of your report, right? >> that's correct. >> here is the problem. special counsel didn't do that. on volume 1 you did, volume 2 with respect to potential obstruction of justice the special counsel made neither a prosecution decision or a deck lanation decision. he made no decision. you told us this morning and in your report you made no determination. 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 that weren't reached. you wrote 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
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violate every principle and 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 aisles 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 d.o.j. principle about extra prosecutorial commentary. i agree with the chairman this morning that donald trump is not above the law but he shouldn't be below the law where volume 2 of this report puts him. >> thank you, mr. chairman. your exchange with the lady from california demonstrates what is at stake.
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the trump campaign chair paul manafort was passing sensitive voter information polling data to a russian operative and there were so many other ways that russia subverted our democracy. together with the evidence in volume one i cannot think of a more serious need to investigate. so now i'll ask you some questions about obstruction of justice as it relates to volume two. page 12 of volume two you state we determined there were sufficient factual and legal basis to further investigate potential obstruction of justice issues involving the president. is that correct? >> do you have the citation? >> page 12, volume 2. >> 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.
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>> your report also described at least 10 separate instances of possible obstruction of just is that were investigated by your an your team, is that correct? >> yes. >> 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, volume 2 you describe the acts. 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 mcgann to deny the president tried to fire the special counsel and many others, is that correct? >> yes. >> i direct you now to what you wrote director mueller. the president's pattern of conduct as a whole sheds light on the nature of the president's acts and the inferences that can be drawn about his intent. does that mean you have to investigate all of his conduct
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to ascertain true motive? >> no. >> when you talk about the president's pattern of conduct that includes the 10 possible acts of obstruction that you investigated, is that correct, when you talk about the president's pattern of conduct, that would include the 10 possible acts of obstruction that you investigated, correct? >> i direct you to the report for how that is characterized. >> thank you. let me go through the screen again. for each of those 10 potential instances of obstruction of justice unanalyzed three elements of the crime. obstructive acts, nexus between the act and proceeding and corrupt intent, is that correct? you wrote on page 178, volume 2 about corrupt intent. actions by the president to end a criminal investigation into his own conduct to protect against personal embarrassment or legal liability would constitute an example of
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corruptly motivated conduct, is that correct? >> yes. >> even with the evidence you did find, is it try e true as you note on page 76 the evidence indicates that a thorough f.b.i. 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 say obstruction of justice can be motivated by desire to protect against investigations where underlying criminal liability falls into a gray area or avoid personal embarrass payment, 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
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elaborate -- to protect -- underlying criminal liability falls into a gray area. >> yes. >> pardon? >> read the last question. >> the last question was -- >> i make to want make certain i got it accurate. >> the last question was on the screen asking if that's correct. >> yes. >> okay. does a conviction of obstruction of justice result potentially in a lot of years of time in jail? >> yes. 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 if you were convicted? >> yes. >> and --
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>> time expired. >> 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 decisions reached by the special counsel. is that correct? >> yes. >> now when a regulation uses the words shall provide does it mean the individual is, in fact, obligated what is being -- you don't have any wiggle room, right? >> i would have to look more closely at the statute. >> i just read it to you. 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
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citation, congressman. >> director, could you speak more directly into the microphone, please? >> volume 2 page 1 we determine not to make a traditional prosecutorial judgment. right at the beginning. >> yes. >> since you decided under the olc opinion that you couldn't prosecute a sitting president, meaning president trump, why are we having 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? >> 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're not going to indict the president, then you
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just continue fishing and that's my observation. my time is limited, sure you can indict other people but you can't indict a 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 f.b.i. 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 the decisions reached, correct? >> where are you reading from on that? >> i'm reading from my question. >> then could you repeat it? >> okay. i have 182 pages of raw evidentiary material with hundreds of references to 302s who have never been cross-examined and didn't
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comply with the governing -- >> this is one of those areas which i decline to discuss. >> okay. >> and would direct you to the report itself. >> i looked at 182 pages of it. let me switch gears. we were on this committee during the clinton impeachment. while i recognize that the independent counsel statute under which kenneth starr operated is different from the special counsel statute, he on a number of occasions in his report stated that the president clinton's actions may have risen to impeachable conduct recognizing that it is up to the house of representatives to determine what conduct is impeachable. you never used the term raising to impeachable conduct for any of the 10 instances that the
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gentleman from texas did. is it true there is nothing in volume 2 of the report that says that the president may have engaged in impeachable conduct? >> well, we have seriously kept in the center of our investigation the -- our mandate. it 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. >> it seems to me that there are a couple of statements that you made that said that this is not for me to decide and the implication is this is for this committee to decide. now, you didn't use the word impeachable conduct like starr did. there was no statute to prevent you from using the word and
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what mr. ratcliffe said. even the president is innocent until proven guilty. my time is up. >> the gentleman from tennessee. >> thank you, mr. chair. first i would just like to restate that mr. nadler said about your career. it is a model of rectitude and i thank you. based upon your investigation, how did president trump react to your appointment as special counsel? >> i send you the report where that is stated. >> 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 back in his chair and said, quote, oh my god, this is terrible, this is the end of my presidency. i'm f-ed. did attorney general sessions tell you about that little talk?
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>> please speak into the microphone. >> my apologies. i'm not certain of the person who originally copied that quote. >> sessions apparently said it and one of his aides had it in his notes but that has become record. he probably wasn't pleased with the special counsel because of you because of your outstanding reputation. >> correct. >> the attorney general recused himself from the investigation because of his role in the 2016 campaign, correct >> correct? >> it means the attorney general cannot be involved in the investigation is that correct? >> that's the effect of recusal, yes. >> instead another trump 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.
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>> and yet the president repeatedly expressed his decisions of sessions to recuse himself from oversight of that investigation. >> that's accurate based on what is written in the report. >> president's reaction to the recusal as noted in the report mr. bannon recalled the president was as mad as bannon had ever seen him and he screamed as mcgahn about how weak sessions was. do you recall that from the report >> yes? >> despite knowing 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. >> your investigation found that at some time after your appointment the president called sessions at his home and asked if he would unrecuse himself, is that not true? >> true. >> now that wasn't the first time the president asked sessions to unrecuse himself, was it? >> i know there were at least
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two occasions. >> one of them was with flynn and one of them was when session and mcgahn flew to mar-a-lago. he said the president said he should do the unre cuesal act, correct? >> correct. >> a few days after flynn entered a guilty plea for lying to federal agents and cooperated with the investigation, trump asked to speak to sessions alone again in the oval office and again asked sessions to unrecuse himself true? >> i'm referring to the report for that. >> page 109, volume 2. down of any point when the president expressed anger or frustrations at sessions personally? >> i would have to pass on that. >> page 78, volume 2. the president told sessions you were supposed to protect me, you were supposed to protect me or words to that effect. >> correct. >> is the attorney general
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supposed to be the attorney general of the united states of america or the con sig larry for the president. >> united states of america. >> the president sought to convince sessions to unrecuse himself so the investigation -- >> i rely on the report. >> restricted the scope of your investigation. >> i'm not going to speculate. if he took over or was attorney general he would have greater latitude in his actions that would enable him to do things that otherwise he could not. >> page 113 you said the president believed an unrecused attorney general would play a protective role and shield the president from the ongoing investigation. i want to thank you for your life of rectitude and service to our country. clear from your report and the evidence that the president wanted former attorney general sessions to violate the justice
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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. >> the gentleman from ohio. >> 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 20 years ago. well, you didn't. so their strategy had to change. now they allege there is plenty of evidence in your report to impeach the president but the american people just 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.
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on page 103 of volume 2 of your report when discussing the june 2016 trump tower meeting you reference the firm that produced steele report, unquote. the name of that firm was fusion gps, is that correct? >> you're on page 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 or anything. it was fusion gps. fusion gps produced the opposition research document widely known as the steele dossier and the owner of fusion gps was someone named glenn simpson. >> that is outside my purchase
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view. >> glenn simson was never mentioned in the 448 page mueller report, was he? >> as i say it's outside my purview and being handled in the department by others. >> he was not, 448 pages, the owner of fusion gps, that did the steele dossier that started all this, he is not mentioned in their. 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 which had been sanctioned by the u.s. government. are you aware of that? >> that's outside my purview. >> one of the key players in the june 2016 trump tower
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meeting was a russian attorney who advocated for the repeal of the magnitsky act. she had been working with glenn simpson and fusion gps since at least early 2014, are you aware of that? >> outside my purview. >> you didn't meanings that or her connections to glenn simpson and fusion gps in your report at all. nbc news reported the following. russian lawyer says she first received a supposedly incriminating information she brought to trump tower describing alleged tax evasion and donation to democrats from none other than glenn simpson, the fusion gps owner. you didn't include that in the report and i assume -- >> that matter was being handled by others at the department of justice. >> now your report spends 14
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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. >> and president trump wasn't at the meeting. >> no. >> thank you. now in stark contrast to the actions of the trump campaign we know 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 their connections to russia. let me ask you this, can you see that neglecting to mention that with the clinton campaign and focusing on a trump tower meeting that produced nothing
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and ignoring the clinton's own ties to fusion gps why some view your report as a one-sided attack on the president? >> i tell you this is still outside my purview. >> i would just note finally that i guess by chance, by coincidence the things left out of the report the ended to be favorable to the president. my time is expired. >> thank you. i would 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 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? >> correct >> in fact, don mcgahn advised the president that the asserted conflicts were in his words
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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. and 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 23, 2017, the president quote prodded mcgahn to complain to deputy attorney general rosenstein about these supposed conflicts of interest, correct? >> correct. >> and mcgahn declined to called rosenstein telling the president that it would look like still trying to meddle and
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knocking out mueller would be another fact to claim obstruction of justice. >> generally so, yes. >> in other words, 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 would like to review what happened after the president was warned about obstructing justice. on tuesday, jun -- >> do you have the citation for that? >> yes, volume two, page 81 and 82. >> thank you. >> i would like to review what happened after the president was warned about obstructing justice. it is true that on tuesday, june 13th, 2017, the president dictated a press statement stating he had, quote, no intention of firing you, correct? >> correct.
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>> 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. >> 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 that. >> you wrote in your report
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that on -- 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. 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 have to call rod, correct? >> correct. >> your investigation and report found that don mcgahn was perturbed, to use your words, by the president's request to call rod rosenstein to fire him, isn't that correct? >> there was a continuous colloquy, continuous involvement of don mcgahn
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responding to the president's entreaties. >> 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? >> again, i refer you to the report and the way it is characterized in the report. >> thank you. 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 would yield back. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. mueller first let me ask unanimous consent, mr. 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
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conference? >> i'm not going to get into that. >> okay. that's what i thought. you didn't write it. a 2013 puff piece in the washington about comey said basically when comey called you would drop everything you were doing. gave examples you were having dinner your wife and daughter. comey calls and you drop everything and go. the article quoted comey as saying if a train were coming down the track and i quote at least bob mueller will be standing on the tracks with me. you and james comey have been good friends and were good friends for many years, correct? >> we were business associates. we both started off in the justice department. >> you were good friends. you can work together and not be friends but you and comey were friends. >> we were friends. >> that's my question. thank you for getting to the answer. before you were appointed as special counsel, had you talked to james comey in the preceding six months? >> no. >> when you were appointed as
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special counsel, was president trump's firing of comey something you anticipated investigating potentially obstruction of justice. >> i can't get into that. that's internal deliberations in the justice department. >> it goes to your credibility and maybe you've been away from the courtroom for awhile. credibility is always material. you are a witness before us. when you talked to president trump the day before you were appointed as special counsel, you were talking to him about f.b.i. director position again. did he mention the firing of james comey? >> not as a candidate. i was asked -- >> did he mention the firing of james comey in your discussion with him? >> cannot remember. cannot remember. i don't believe so. >> you don't remember. but if he did, you could have been a fact witness as to the president's comments and state
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of mind on firing james comey. >> i suppose that's possible. >> yeah. so most prosecutors want to make sure there was 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 animus 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. you didn't know that before he was made part of your team, is that what you're saying? >> i did not know that. >> all right. when did you -- >> and when i did find out i acted swiftly to have him reassigned elsewhere. >> there is some discussion about how swift that was. when did you learn about the ongoing affair he was having
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with lisa page? >> about the same time i learned about 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 -- you're not answering my question. did you order an investigation into the deletion and reformatting of their government phones? >> no, there was an i.g. investigation ongoing. >> regarding collusion or conspiracy, you didn't find evidence of any agreement -- i'm quoting you -- among the trump campaign officials and russian officials for the u.s. election, correct? >> correct. >> you also note in the report that an element of any of those obstructions you referenced requires a corrupt state of
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mind, correct? >> corrupt intent, correct. >> right. and if somebody knows they did not conspire with anybody from russia to affect the election and they see the big justice department with people that hate that person coming after them and then a special counsel appointed who hires dozen or more people that hate that person, and he knows he is innocent, he is not corruptly acting in order to see that justice is done. what he is doing the not obstructing justice, he is pursuing justice and the fact that you ran it out two years means you perpetuated injustice. >> time has expired. the witness may answer the question. >> i take your question.
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>> the gentleman from florida. >> director mueller, i would like to get back to your findings governing june of 17. a bombshell article that reported the president of the united states was personal under investigation for obstruction of justice and you said in your report on page 90 volume 2, news of the obstruction investigation prompted the president to call mcgahn and seek to have the special counsel removed, close 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 the president was more direct saying something like call rod, tell rod that mueller has conflicts and 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
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was ordering him to do? >> i direct you to what we wrote in the report in terms of characterizing his feelings. >> in the report it says mcgahn understood the president to be saying that the special counsel had to be removed. you also say 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 direct you again to the report. >> in fact that day he went to the white house and according to your report he drove to the office to pack his belongings and submit his resignation letter, close quote. >> that's directly from the report. >> before he resigned, however, he called the president's chief of staff priebus and steve bannon. do you recall what mcgahn told
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them? >> whatever was said will appear in the report. >> it is. it says on page 87 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 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?
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>> i can't answer that question. >> well, on page 89 in your report volume 2 you said, and i quote, substantial evidence indicates 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, close quote. director mueller, you found evidence, as you lay out in your report, that the president 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. i stand by the report. >> director mueller that shouldn't happen in america.
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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 president counsel knew it was wrong. the president knew it was wrong. in your report it says there is also evidence the president knew he shouldn't have made the 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 that you were barred from indicting a sitting president. we've already talked about that today. that is exactly why this committee must hold the president accountable. i yield back.
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>> the gentleman lady from alabama. >> you just said in response to two different lines of questioning that you would refer as it relates to this firing discussion that i would refer you to the report and the way it was characterized in the report. importantly, the president never said fire mueller or in the investigation. one doesn't necessitate the other. mcgahn in fact did not resign he stuck around for a year and a half. on march 24 barr said he received the special counsel's report and not until april 18th that the attorney general released the report to congress and the public. when you submitted your report to the attorney general did you deliver redacted version of the report so that he would be able to release it to congress and the public without delay pursuant to his announcement of his intention to do so during his confirmation hearing? >> i'm not going to engage in
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discussion after what happened after the production of our report. >> had the attorney general asked you provide a redacted version of the report? >> we worked on redacted versions together. >> did he ask you for a version with the grand jury material was separated? >> not going to get into details. >> is it your belief an unredacted version of the report could be released to congress on the public. >> that's not within my purview. >> rule 6e material. why didn't you take a similar action so congress could view this material? >> we had a process that we were operating on with the attorney general's office. >> are you aware of any other attorney general -- >> i'm not aware of that being done. >> the attorney general released the special counsel's report with minimal redactions
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to the public and even lesser redacted version to congress. did you write the report with the expectation that it would be released publicly? >> no, we did not have an expectation. we wrote the report understanding that it was demanded by the statute and would go to the attorney general for further review. >> pursuant to the special counsel regulations who is the only party that must receive the charging decision resulting from the special counsel's investigation? >> with regard to the president? or generally? >> generally. >> attorney general. >> at attorney general's barr's confirmation information he tin the ended to release your report to the public. were there significant changes in tone or substance of the report made after the announcement that the report would be made available to congress and the public? >> can't get into that. >> during the senate testimony
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of william barr, senator kamala harris asked mr. barr if he had looked at all the underlying evidence that the special counsel's team had gathered. he stated he had not. did you personally review all of the underlying evidence gathered in your investigation? >> it came through the special counsel's office yes. >> did any single member of your team look at all the underlying evidence? >> substantial amount of work was done, search warrants or -- >> my point is there is no one member of the team that looked at everything. >> that's what i'm trying to get at. >> it is fair to say an investigation as comprehensive as yours it is normal that different members of the team would have different sets of documents and few if anyone would have reviewed all of the underlying. >> thank you, yes. >> how many of the approximately 500 interviews conducted by the special counsel did you attend personally? >> very few.
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>> march 27, 2019 you read a letter to the attorney general complaining about the media coverage of your report. you wrote and i quote the summary letter the department sent to congress and released to the public late in the afternoon of march 24 did not fully capture the context, nature and substance of this office work and conclusions. we communicated that concern to the department on the morning of march 25th. there is now public confusion about critical aspects of the result of our investigation. who wrote that march 27th letter? >> i can't get into who wrote it. the internal -- >> you signed it. >> what i will say is the letter stands for itself. >> why did you write a formal letter since you had already called the attorney general to express those concerns? >> can't get into that. >> did you authorize the letters released to the media or was it leaked? >> i have no knowledge on either. >> you went nearly two years without a leak. why was this letter leaked?
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>> well, i can't get into it. >> was this letter written and leaked for the express purpose of attempting to change the narrative about the conclusions of your report and was anything in attorney general barr's letter referred to as principal conclusions -- >> the time for -- >> he may answer the question. >> may answer the question. >> was anything in barr's letter dated march 24th inaccurate? ? a i am not going to get into that. >> we're focusing on five obstruction episodes today. i would like to ask you about the second of those five obstruction episodes. it is in the section of your report beginning on page 113, volume 2 entitled the president orders mcgahn to deny that the president tried to fire the special counsel end quote. on january 25th, 2018, "the new
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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? >> 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 lawyer do something the following today in response to that news report? >> i refer you to the coverage of this in the report. >> on page 114, quote, on january 26, 2018, the president's personal counsel called mcgahn's attorney and
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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. >> 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 in the report. >> 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 direct porter to do? >> send you back to the report.
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>> 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 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, 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
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write-up of it in the report. >> didn't the president say on page 116, if he doesn't write a letter maybe i'll have to get rid of him end quote. >> yes. >> did porter deliver that threat? >> i again refer you to the discussion that's found on page 115. >> okay. but the president still didn't give up, did he? the president told mcgahn directly to deny that the president told him to have you fired. can you tell me exactly what happened? >> i can't beyond what's in the report. >> well on page 116, it says the president met him in the oval office, quote, the president began the oval office meeting by telling mcgahn that "the new york times" story didn't look good and mcgahn needed to correct it. is that correct? >> as it's written in the report, yes. >> the president asked mcgahn whether he would do a
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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 subject of a law enforcement investigation that person would be facing criminal charges. i yield back my time. >> the gentleman from ohio. >> director, the f.b.i. interview joseph miss uday on february 28, 2017. he lied. you point this out an page 133, he also denied and falsely stated. in addition he omitted. three times he lied to the f.b.i. yet you didn't charge him with a crime. why not? >> did you say 193?
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>> why didn't you charge him with a crime? >> i can't get into internal deliberations with regard to who would or would not be -- >> you charged a lot of other people for making false statements. let's remember this, in 2016 the f.b.i. did something they probably haven't done before. they spied on two american citizens associated with a presidential campaign. george papadopoulos and carter page. carter page they went to the fisa court. they used the now famous dossier as part of the reason they were able to spy on page for better part of a year. with mr. papadopoulos they didn't go to the courts they used human sources. all kinds from the moment papadopoulos joins the trump campaign you have all these people around the world starting to swirl around him. names like halper, downer, thompson, meeting in rome and london. all kinds of places. the f.b.i. even sent a lady
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posing as somebody else, even 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 f.b.i. and the f.b.i. opens an investigation based on that fact. you point this out on page 1 of the report. july 31, 2016, they open the investigation based on that piece of information. diplomat tells papadopoulos russians -- papadopoulos tells the diplomat russians have dirt on clinton. diplomat tells the f.b.i. what i'm wondering is who told papadopoulos? how did he find out? >> i can't get into the evidentiary. >> you can, you gave us the answer. page 192 of the report you tell us who told him.
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joseph misfin is the guy who told papadopoulos. the professor that teaches and two different universities. this is the guy who told papadopoulos and the guy who starts it all. when the f.b.i. interviews him he lies three times and yet you don't charge him with a crime. you charge rick gates for false statements, paul manafort for false statements, michael cohen with false statements, you charge michael flynn, three-star general with false statements but the guy who puts the country through this whole saga, starts it all for three years we've lived this now, he lies, and you guys don't charge him. i'm curious as to why? >> i can't get into it and it's obvious we can't get into charging decisions. >> when the f.b.i. interviewed him in february, when the special counsel's office interviewed him, did he lie to you guys, too? >> can't get into that. >> did you interview him? >> can't get into that? >> is he russian or western
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intelligence? >> can't get into that. >> a lot of things you can't get into. you can charge 13 russians no one has ever heard, seen or you can charge them and all kinds of people around the president with false statements, but the guy who launches everything, the guy who puts this whole story in motion, you can't charge him. i think that's amazing. >> i'm not certain i agree with your characterizations. >> i'm reading from your report. he told papadopoulos, papadopoulos tells the diplomat, the diplomat tells the f.b.i., the f.b.i. opens the investigation july 21, 2016 and here we are three years later july of 2019 the country has been put through this and the central figure who launches it all, lies to us, and you guys don't hunt him down and interview him again and you don't charge him with a crime. here is the good news. here is the good news. the president was falsely accused of conspiracy, the
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f.b.i. does an 10-month investigation. james comey told us at that point they had nothing. you do a 22 month investigation, you find no conspiracy, and what do the democrats want to do? 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 to go back and actually figure out why joseph was lying to the f.b.i. here is the good news, here is the good news. that's exactly what bill barr is doing. and thank goodness for that. what they're doing. they'll find out why we went through this three-year saga and get to the bottom of it. >> time of the gentleman is expired. in a moment we'll 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
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at this time. >> brett: the first part of this testimony. the former special counsel robert mueller taking questions. most retweeted part of this where he said his report did not exonerate president trump but then after that a series of questions and answers where at times it was halting and slow and painful. if democrats wanted this to be about the movie, it was sometimes not a great narrative to watch as far as being a smooth movie to watch for the special counsel as he testifies about his report. >> martha: one of the clearest takeaways from this morning is robert mueller's responses to these questions have been halting as you say.
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we haven't heard him interact with aaron zebley who came in with him to back him up on some of these things but clearly he is leaning on the report and then at times asked does conspiracy equal collusion and he said no. and then he was read that part of the report which says essentially that is what he found in the report. and then he sort of back pedaled and said well, go with what's in my report. >> brett: i'll bring the panel in, democrats aren't having the former special counsel read from the report after seeing his halting answers referring back and asks for questions again, why they aren't saying read this part. the other compelling part was representative ratcliffe from texas who argued what is the standard by which he gets to for not exonerating the president, abandoning the presumption of innocence, what standard. he couldn't really answer that
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question. >> martha: chris wallace was saying while we were watching all this. it was two difference paths. they wanted him to animate the words of the report and then there was also the line nail him down with yes or no answers. in terms of the questioning. it seems like they've gone with the latter mostly, chris. >> i had to laugh a little bit when you talked about the testimony by robert mueller because testimony has to be put in quotes. it really hasn't been much testimony. frankly, i think you both have been very kind. this has been a disaster for the democrats and i think it's been a disaster for the reputation of robert mueller. he has seemed very uncertain with his brief. he doesn't know -- seem to know things that are in the report. he has been attacked a number of times and you would think that almost anybody else would have defended his own integrity and the integrity of the investigation and over and over
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mueller just sits silent and allows the attacks from the republicans to sweep over him and says nothing. i think it does raise questions about the degree to which he actually was in charge and in control of this report because he doesn't seem very much in control or charge of what the final report was. i shouldn't say whether he was in charge of the investigation. he doesn't seem in charge of what the report actually says. the two strongest parts i think were the opening questions by the chairman jerry nadler who basically said the president says he was exonerated. was he? no. did you find that he committed no obstruction? no. basically taking the negative and saying the president says he was cleared, was he cleared and says no, i agree with the you the strongest by far was john ratcliffe, republican congressman on the committee who basically said your big grand conclusion when it comes to obstruction is you can't
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exonerate him. when did that become a legal principle that a prosecutor can't exonerate anybody? you're innocent until proven guilty. you either prove him guilty or shut up. you make a point you didn't exonerate. >> brett: to chris's point about whether mueller was in charge. >> i think it's inconceivable he was involved. the story that will come out of this testimony is the fact this was a staff-driven investigation. and president trump, for all we say about the tweets, one thing he has hammered away again and again and again is about the political partisanship of the staff. i've always thought that while they are highly skilled lawyers. there is no doubt about their talent and their ability. mueller was tin-eared for an
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examination this politically fraught. seeing now how he performs i think you have to say it's more of an issue today than it was yesterday. >> brett: this is perhaps why aaron zebley is at that table after realizing perhaps that the former special counsel was not up to some of this questioning. >> it is a band-aid on a bigger problem. he can't jump in, mueller is in trouble on almost every question. >> i would say that to my mind there are two things that stand out. one is i think nadler was clear in making the case that he did not exonerate the president but secondly, that mueller then says the president can be indicted after leaving office. and also that the president refused to be interviewed. >> brett: all things we knew. >> he is saying this on the record in front of the american people and i think that is so interesting to me is that you have the republicans attacking
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mueller. we've all said mueller does not seem very firm in his position or in the way that he is responding here. and so you could say oh, he is an elderly person or not in charge. i disagree. i think he has demonstrated what he has been praised for, rectitude and trying to keep himself out of the argument and not a political player. the question is how do the american people respond to the idea that it's the republicans who are attacking mueller? remember after the investigation. >> brett: would you have him read these things? >> i think it's effective television. i would. after the report was issued his reputation went down among democrats, went up among republicans because the president said no obstruction and no collusion. surprise, republicans are going after robert mueller trying to undercut his ability and credibility. >> martha: i think to andy's point, this appears to be a
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staff-driven investigation. that also fills in some of the blanks with regard to when bill barr put out that four-page summary of the findings there was this pushback from mueller and now it appears it probably came from mueller's team saying listen, boss, we need you to get out there and say that this is not accurately reflecting the work we did for the last two years. >> this was a staff-driven operation. president trump's claim these were partisans will certainly be looked at again and i think he will be proven correct it wasn't just robert mueller going after him on a biased political bases and the political background of who the attorneys worked for before they joined the special counsel is important. not republicans undermining robert mueller today. he is not doing himself any favors. he looks weak, not strong. he can't answer basic questions that are in the report when he is saying the report is what i'm referring to. he is contradicting himself when he was asked directly
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whether the investigation was impeded in any way. he said no. democrats are trying to hammer down this view of obstruction because that's the only thing they have left and they were hoping today that americans would tune in and watch robert mueller testify about this report because they hadn't read it. none of that is happening. he is not giving any extra information or answers about what went on. republicans are laying out the case, the origins and corruption how the whole thing started. >> brett: outside the hearing room is catherine herridge. she has been inside watching this and covered this from the very beginning. chief intelligence correspondent. your thoughts on the first parts of this hearing. >> i've been inside the hearing room behind me and i would say there are a handful of major headlines. right out of the gate the democratic chairman jerry nadler had mueller testify that the report does not exonerate the president on obstruction of justice. and that is in conflict with the president's very public statements. he also got special counsel
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mueller to testify that he did not charge an obstruction because of this long-standing justice department legal memo called the olc memo. that's important because it again shows daylight between mueller and attorney general william barr. william barr has testified there was a meeting with mueller and others and in that meeting mueller told him he did not reach a decision on obstruction because of evidence, not because of the olc opinion. final point on the exchange with congressman ratcliffe, this is essential because congressman ratcliffe got mueller to admit there is absolutely no justice department policy that allowed him to reach a non-traditional prosecutorial decision and to say he could not exonerate the president. and ratcliffe said in effect that mueller had done what democrats accused the former f.b.i. director james comey of doing, which is pulling out a report, putting out the evidence, and not bringing a
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criminal prosecution. >> brett: thank you. we're getting your shot up there outside the hearing room. have you look at jerry nadler conferring there with his aide who by the way played bob mueller in a mock testimony before as democrats were preparing for this questioning. it will be interesting to see, martha, whether they shift strategy here after getting this break and whether they perhaps change how they are going to operate as we look back into the hearing room and jerry nadler hitting the gavel. let's head back in on capitol hill. >> please take their seats before the special counsel returns.
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>> martha: we just want to bring in -- andy mccarthy while we have a moment here. jim jordan with strong questioning. why going back to professor who goes back to the very first seedling of this whole investigation, jim jordan said why didn't you prosecute him for lying to investigators to the f.b.i. when you used that exact form of prosecution for so many others? pretty good question. >> a vital question. one thing we learned about the investigation mueller and his staff knew how to bring false
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statements cases when they thought people lied to the f.b.i. they never brought it against the professor. he is the seed of this whole thing. >> brett: the president is quoting our coverage here. this has been a disaster for the democrats and disaster for the reputation of robert mueller. chris wallace at fox news the first tweet from the president. >> i have gotten plenty of negative tweets from the president. i think i'm still under water. >> brett: let's go back to the hearing room. >> congressman addressed trump's request to mcgahn to fire you. representative vans talked about mcgahn's -- 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
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deny "the new york times" report about the president trying to fire you, correct? >> correct. >> in fact, the president's counsel was so alarmed by the prospect of the president's meeting with mcgahn that he called mr. mcgahn's counsel and said that mcgahn could not resign no matter what happened in the oval office that day, correct? >> correct. >> so it's accurate to say that the president knew that he was asking mcgahn to deny facts that mcgahn, quote, had repeatedly said were accurate, unquote, isn't that right? >> correct. >> your investigation also found, quote, by the time of the oval office meeting with the president, the president was aware, one, that mcgahn did not think the story was false, two, did not want to issue a statement or create a written report denying facts that
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mcgahn believed to be true, the president nerve the less asked him to repudiate facts that he said were accurate. >> generally true. >> 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. it's on page 120. it says substantial evidence indicates that in repeatedly urging mcgahn to dispute that he was ordered to have the special counsel terminated, the president acted for the purpose of influencing mcgahn's account in order to deflect or prevent further scrutiny of the president's conduct towards the investigation. >> that's accurate. >> can you explain what you
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meant there? >> i'll leave it as it appears in the report. >> it's fair to say the president tried to protect himself by asking staff to falsify records relevant to an ongoing investigation. >> i would say that's generally a summary. >> would you say that that action, the president tried to hamper the investigation by asking staff to falsify records relevant to your investigation. >> i'll 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 report were related to mr. trump's concerns about your obstruction of justice inquiry, correct? >> i believe that to be true. >> in fact, at that same oval office meeting did the president also ask mcgahn why he had told special counsel's office investigators that the president told him to have you removed unquote. >> and what was the question,
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sir? >> let me go to the next one. the president quote criticized mcgahn for telling your office about the june 17th, 2017 events when he told mcgahn to have you removed, correct? >> correct. >> in other words, the president was criticizing his white house counsel for telling law enforcement officials what he believed to be the truth. >> 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
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correct? >> that's what the report says. the report. >> but 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. >> thank you for your investigation whether the president attempted to obstruct justice by ordering mcgahn to lie about the president. it is clear any other person who engaged in such conduct would be charged with a crime. we will continue our investigation and hold the president accountable because no one is above the law. >> gentleman from florida. >> director mueller, can you state with confidence that the steele dossier was not part of russia's disinformation campaign? >> as i said in my opening statement, that part of the
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case predated me by at least 10 months. >> paul manafort's alleged crimes regarding tax evasion preceded you but you didn't have a problem charging him. when senator cornyn asked the attorney general the exact question i asked you the attorney general said no, i can't state that with confidence. and that's one of the areas i'm reviewing. i'm concerned about it and i don't think it's entirely spec la tiefsh. if something is not entirely speculative it must have some factual basis but you identify no factual basis regarding the dossier or the possibility that it was part of the russia disinformation campaign. christopher steele's reporting is referenced in your report. steele reported to the f.b.i. that senior russian foreign ministry figures along with other russians told him that there was an -- i'm quoting from the steele dossier extensive evidence of
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conspiracy between the trump campaign team and the kremlin. here is my question. did russians really tell that to christopher steele or was he lying to the f.b.i.? >> let me back up and say as i said earlier, with regard to the steele, that's beyond my purview. >> it is exactly your purview and here is why. only one of two things is possible. either steele made this whole thing up and there were never russians telling him of this vast criminal conspiracy or russians lied to steele. if they were lying to steele in undermining the confidence in the elected president that would be precisely your purchase view. you stated in your opening the organizing principle was to investigate russia's interference. you weren't interested whether or not russians were interested through steele. if he was lying you should have charged him. you say nothing about this in
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your report. meanwhile you are quite talking about other topics. you write 3500 words about the june 9 meeting between the trump campaign and the russian lawyer. you write on page 103 of your report that the president's legal team suggested i'm quoting from your report the meeting might have been a setup. by individuals working with the firm that produced the steele reporting. i'm going to ask you a very easy question, director mueller. on the week of june 9, who did russian lawyer meet with more frequently, the trump campaign or glenn simpson who was acting as an operative for the democratic national committee? >> what's missing. this is under investigation elsewhere in the justice department and if i can finish, sir, if i can finish, sir, consequently it is not within my purview. the department of justice and f.b.i. should be responsive to questions on this particular issue. >> it is absurd to suggest that an operative for the democrats
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was meeting with this russian lawyer the day before and the day after the trump tower meeting and yet that's not something you reference. glenn simpson testified he had dinner the day before and the day after the meeting with the trump team with this attorney. do you think steele was lying? >> i'll say again it is not my purview. others are investigating. >> it is not your purview to look into whether or not steele is lying or anti-trump russians are lying and to look at whether or not glenn simpson was meeting with the russians the day before or after when you write about the trump meeting. how are these decisions guided? i look at the inspector general's report citing from page 404 stating page stated trump is not ever going to be president, right? right. strzok replied no, he is not. we'll stop it. also in the inspector general's report someone identified as attorney number two, this is
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page 419 replied hell no and then added viva la resistance. attorney two in the inspector general's report and strzok both worked on your team, didn't they? >> pardon me? >> they both worked on your team. >> who else were you talking about? >> attorney number two in the general's report. did he work for you? >> peter strzok worked for me for a period of time, yes. >> so did the other guy who said vaoefsh ja la resistance. when people associated with trump lied you threw the book at them. when christopher steele lied nothing. it seems to be that when glenn simpson met with russians, nothing. when the trump campaign met with russians 3500 words. maybe the reason why there are these discrepancies is that you were biased and wanted to stop trump. >> mueller obstruction of justice is a serious crime that strikes at the core to find the truth, correct?
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>> correct. >> the crime of obstruction of justice has three elements, true? >> true. >> first element is an obstructive act, correct? >> correct. >> 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. >> 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 -- i would refer you to the report on that. >> let me refer you to page 78
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and 88 of volume two. you conclude the attempt to remove the special counsel would qualify as an obstructive act if it would obstruct the inquiry and any grand jury. >> yes, i have it, thank you. >> the second element is obstructing an official proceeding, true? >> true. >> does the special counsel's investigation into the potential wrongdoing of donald trump constitute an official proceeding? >> that's an area which i cannot get into. >> okay. president trump tweeted on june 16th, 2017, quote, i am being investigated for firing the f.b.i. director by the man who told me to fire the f.b.i. director, witch hunt. the tweet read was cited on page 89, volume 2, constitutes
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a public acknowledgement by president trump that he was under criminal investigation, correct? >> i think generally correct. >> one day later on saturday, june 17th, president trump called white house counsel don mcgahn at home and directed him to fire the special counsel, true? >> i believe it to be true. i think i may have stated in response to questions some -- >> that is correct. mr. trump told don mcgahn mueller has to go, close quote, correct? >> correct. >> your report found on page 89, volume 2. substantial evidence indicates by june 17th the president knew his conduct was under investigation by a federal prosecutor who could present any evidence of federal crimes to a grand jury, true? >> true. >> the third element of the crime of obstruction of justice
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is corrupt intent. that exists if the president acted to obstruct an official proceeding for the improper purpose of protecting his own interests, correct? >> that's generally correct. >> thank you. >> the only thing i would say is we're going through the three elements of the proof of the obstruction of justice charges. when the fact of the matter is we got -- excuse me just one second. >> let me move on. upon learning about the appointment of special counsel trump said oh my god, this is terrible, this is the end of my presidency. i'm fed is that correct? >> is it accurate to say trump viewed it as adverse to his own interests. >> that's true. >> the investigation found
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evidence the president knew he should not have directed don mcgahn to fire the special counsel, correct? >> and where do you have that quote? >> page 90, volume 2. there is evidence that the president knew he should not have made those calls to mcgahn, close quote. >> yes, that's accurate. >> the investigation found substantial evidence that president trump repeatedly urged mcgahn to dispute he was ordered to have the special counsel terminated, correct? >> correct. >> invest 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.
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i don't subscribe necessarily to your -- the way you analyze that. i'm not saying it's out of the ballpark but i'm not supportive of that analytical charge. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. mueller, over here. i want to start by thanking you for your service. you joined the marines and led a rifle platoon in vietnam where you earned a bronze star, purple heart and other commendations and united states attorney leading the homicide unit in d.c. and northern district of california. assistant attorney general for d.o.j.'s criminal decision and f.b.i. director. having reviewed your biography it puzzles me why you handled your duties in in case the way you did. the report contradicts what you taught young attorneys at the department of justice including to insure every defendant is
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treated fairly or a prosecutor is not the representative of an ordinary party to a controversy but of a sovereignty whose interest in a criminal prosecution is not that it shall win a case but justice shall be done and the prosecutor may strike hard blows but not at liberty to striekt foul once. not reaching a conclusion about the merits of the case you unfairly shifted the burden of proof to the president forcing him to prove his innocence while denying him a legal forum to do so. i'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 either prosecute or decline charges. despite this you disregarded that duty. as a former prosecutor i'm also troubled with your legal analysis. you discuss 10 separate factual patterns involving alleged obstruction and you fail to
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apply the elements of the applicable statutes. i looked at the 10 factual situations and read the case law and i have to tell you just looking at the flynn matter for example, the four statutes that you cited for possible obstruction 1503, 1505, 1512b3 and 1512c2. 1503 isn't able cable. there was a trial jury emotion paneled. director comey was not an officer of the court. criminal eyess acts that would obstruct or impede administrative proceedings and those before congress and the department of justice criminal resource manual states the f.b.i. investigation is not a pending proceeding. 1512b3 talks about intimidation, threats of force to tamper with a witness. general flynn at the time was not a witness and certainly director comey was not a
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witness. and 1512c2 talks about tampering with the record of as joe biden described the statute as being debated on the senate floor, he called this a statute criminalizing document sh reading and there is nothing in your report that alleges that the president destroyed any evidence. so what i have to ask you and what i think people are working around in this hearing is let me lay a little foundation. the ethical rules require that a prosecutor have a reasonable probability of conviction to bring a charge, is that correct? >> generally accurate. >> okay. and the regulations concerning your job as special counsel state your job is to provide the attorney general with a confidential report explaining the prosecution or decisions made by your office. you recommended declining prosecution of president trump and anyone associated with his campaign because there was
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insufficient evidence to convict for a charge of conspiracy with russian interference in the 2016 election, is that fair? >> that's fair. >> was there sufficient evidence to convict president trump or anyone else with obstruction of justice? >> we did not make that calculation. >> how could you not have made a calculation? >> the olc opinion indicates we cannot indict a sitting president. so one of the tools that a prosecutor would use is not there. >> okay, but let me stop. you made the decision on the russian interference. you couldn't have indicted the president on that and you made the decision on that. but when it came to obstruction you threw a bunch of stuff up against the wall to see what would stick and that is unfair. >> i would not agree to that characterization at all. what we did is provide to the attorney general in the form of a confidential memorandum our understanding of the case. those cases that were brought and those cases that were
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declined and the -- that one case where the president cannot be charged with a crime. >> okay. but could you charge the president with a crime after he left office? >> yes. >> you believe that he committed -- you could charge the president of the united states with obstruction of justice after he left office. >> yes. >> ethically under the ethical standards. >> i'm not certain. i haven't looked at the ethical standards. olc opinion says the prosecutor cannot bring a charge against a sitting president nonetheless he can continue the investigation to see if there are any other persons who might be drawn into the conspiracy. >> time of the gentleman is expired. >> as you know we're specifically focusing on five separate obstruction episodes today. i want to ask you about the third episode. the president's efforts to curtail the president counsel's
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investigation beginning at page 90. curtail you mean limit, right? my colleagues walked through how the president tried to have you fired and because mr. mcgahn refused the order the president asked others to limit your investigation. was corey lewandowski one such individual? he is the president's former campaign manager, correct? >> correct. >> did he have any official position in the trump administration? >> i don't believe so. >> your report describes an incident involving him june 19, 2017, volume 2, page 91. >> what's the citation? >> page 91. >> of the second volume? >> yes. meeting in the oval office between mr. lewandowski and the president. and that was just two days after the president called don mcgahn at home and ordered him to fire you, is that correct? >> apparently so. >> right after his white house counsel mcgahn refused to follow the president's order to
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fire you the president came up with a new plan. to go around all of his senior advisors and government aides to have a private citizen try to limit your investigation. what did the president tell mr. lewandowski to do? do you recall he told him he dictated a message and asked him to write it down. >> true. >> and did you and your team see this handwritten message? >> i'm not going to get into what we may or may not have included in our investigation. >> the message directed sessions i'm quoting from your report to give a public speech saying he planned to meet with the special prosecutor to explain it's unfair and let the special prosecutor -- that's at page 91, correct? >> i see that, yes, it is. >> mr. lewandowski, a 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?
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>> correct. >> and at this time mr. sessions was still recused from oversight of your investigation, correct? >> i'm sorry, could you restate that that? >> the attorney general was recused. he would have had to violate his own department's rules in order to comply with the president's order, correct? >> i'm not going to get into the details. i refer you again to page 91 and 92 of the report. >> if the attorney general had followed through with the president's request it would have effectively ended your investigation into the president and his campaign as you note on page 97, correct? you write taken together the president's directives indicate that sessions was being instructed to tell the special counsel to end the existing investigation into the president and his campaign with the special counsel being permitted to move forward with investigating election meddling for future elections, correct? >> generally true. >> an unsuccessful attempt to
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obstruct justice is still a crime, is that correct? >> that is correct. >> mr. lewandowski tried to meet with the attorney general. >> true. >> tried to meet with him in his office to make sure it wasn't a public log of the visit frjt >> according to what we gathered. >> the meeting never happened and the president raised the issue again with mr. lewandowski and he said if sessions does not meet with you, lewandowski should tell sessions he was fired. correct? >> correct. >> so immediately following the meeting with the president lewandowski then asked mr. deer born to deliver the message. former chief of staff to mr. sessions and mr. deer born refused to deliver it because he doesn't feel comfortable. >> generally correct. >> just so we're clear, two days after the white house counsel don mcgahn 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 effectively ending your investigation into the 2016 trump campaign, is that correct? >> i'm not going to adopt your characterization. i'll say facts as laid out in the report are accurate. >> in your report you write at page 99 -- 97 substantial evidence indicates that the president's effort to have sessions limit the scope of the special counsel's investigation to future elections interference was intended to prevent further investigative scrutiny of the president and his campaign's conduct. correct? >> generally. >> and so mr. mueller, you have seen a letter where 1,000 former republican and democratic federal prosecutors have read your report and said anyone but the president who committed those acts would be charged with obstruction of justice. do you agree with that? >> does -- >> thank you, mr. chairman. over here.
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mr. mueller, your team wrote in the report quote this is the top of page 2, volume 1. also 173. you said that you had come to the conclusion that quote the investigation didn't establish that members of the trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the russian government in its reelection activities. that's an accurate statement, right? >> that's accurate. >> i'm curious when did you personally come to that conclusion? >> can you remind me which paragraph? >> top of page 2, volume 1. >> okay. exactly which paragraph are you looking at? >> investigation did not establish. >> i see it, yes. >> what was your question? >> when did you personally reach that conclusion. >> we were ongoing for two
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years. >> at some point you had to come to the conclusion that i don't think there is not a conspiracy going on here. no conspiracy between this president and -- i'm not talking about the rest of the president's team. this president and the russians. >> as you understand developing a criminal case you get pieces of information, pieces of information, witnesses and the like. as you make your case. >> right. >> when you make a decision on a particular case depends on a number of factors. so i cannot say specifically that we reached a decision on a particular defendant at a particular point in time. >> it was sometime well before you wrote the report, fair enough. you wrote the report dealing with a meieriad of issues. sometime prior to the report you reached the decision with regard to the president himself i don't find anything here. fair enough? >> well, i'm not certain i do agree with that. >> you waited until the last minute when you wrote the report and said -- >> various aspects of the
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development of an -- >> that's my point. there are various aspects that happen but somewhere along the pike you come to a conclusion there is no there there for this defendant. you can't say when? fair enough. i'm asking the sworn witness. mr. mueller, evidence suggests on may 10, 2017 at 7:45 a.m. six days before the attorney general appointed you special counsel mr. rosenstein called you and mentioned the appointment of a special counsel. not necessarily that you would be appointed that there was a discussion. is that true? may 10, 2017. >> i don't have any -- i don't have any knowledge of that occurring. >> you don't have any knowledge or you don't recall. >> i don't have any knowledge. >> evidence also suggests. >> given what i saw you do. are you questioning that?
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>> well, i just find it intriguing. let me tell you there is evidence suggests that phone call took place and that's what was said. move to the next question. evidence suggests may 12, 2017 before you were appointed special counsel you met with mr. rosenstein in person. did you discuss the appointment of a special counsel then? >> i've gone into waters that don't allow me to give you an answer to that particular question that relates to the internal discussions he would have in terms of indicting an individual. >> there has been no indictment has to do with special counsel and whether you discussed that mr. are ro*erts. evidence suggestions four days before you were appointed special counsel you met with attorney general sessions and rosenstein and spoke about special counsel. do you remember that? >> offhand, no. >> okay. on may 16th, the day before you were appointed special counsel, you met with the president and rod rosenstein.
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do you remember having that meeting? >> yes. >> and discussion of the position of f.b.i. director took place. do you remember that? >> yes. >> and did you discuss at any time in that meeting mr. comey's termination? >> no. >> did you discuss at any time in that meeting the potential appointment of a special counsel, not necessarily you but in general terms? >> i can't get into the discussions on that. >> how many times did you speak to mr. rosenstein before may 17th, the day you got appointed, regarding the appointment of special times. how many times prior to that did you discuss? >> i can't tell you how many times. >> you don't recall or you just -- >> i do not recall. >> thank you. how many times did you speak with mr. comey about any investigations prior to may 17, 2017? >> not at all. zero. >> now, my time is expired. >> the time of the gentleman is
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expired. >> director mueller, going back to the president' obstruction via korey lewandowski it was referenced 1,000 former prosecutors with 12,000 years of federal service wrote a letter regarding the president's conduct. are you familiar with that letter? >> i've read about that letter. >> some of the individuals who signed that letter, the statement of former prosecutors are people you worked with, right? >> quite probably. >> that you respect? >> quite probably, yes. >> they said trying to control and impede the investigation against the president by leverage knowledge his authority over others is similar to conduct we've seen charged against other public officials and people in powerful positions. are they wrong? >> they have a different case. >> you want to sign that letter, director mueller? >> they have a different case. >> director mueller, thank you for your service going all the
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way back to the 60s when you served in vietnam. because i have a seat on the intelligence committee i'll have questions later. because of our limited time i will ask to enter this letter into the record under unanimous consent from my colleague from california, mr. lou. >> thank you, director mueller, for your long history of service to our country including your service as a marine where you learned a bronze star with a v device. i would like to turn to the elements of obstruction of justice as applied to the president's attempts to curtail your investigation. first element of obstruction of justice requires an obstructive act, correct? >> correct. >> like to direct you the page 97 of volume two of your report and you wrote there on page 97 quote, sessions was being instructed to tell the special counsel to end the existing investigation into the president and his campaign unquote. that's in the report, correct? >> correct. >> that would be evidence of an
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obstructive act because it would naturally obstruct your investigation, correct? >> correct. >> let's turn now to the second element of the crime which requires a nexus to an official proceeding. direct you to page 97, the same page of volume two. you wrote by the time the president's initial one-on-one meeting with lewandowski on june 19th, 2017, existence of a grand jury investigation supervised by the special counsel was public knowledge. that's in the report, correct? >> correct. >> that would constitute evidence of a nexus to a judicial proceeding because a grand jury proceedings is official, right? >> yes. >> like to turn to final element of the crime of obstruction of justice. on that same page, page 97 do you see where there is the intent section on that page? >> i do see that. >> would you be willing to read the first sentence? >> that was starting with --
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>> substantial evidence. >> indicates that the president -- i'm happy to have you read it. >> i will read it. you wrote, quote, substantial evidence indicates that the president's effort to have sessions limit the scope of the special counsel's investigation with election interference was intended to prevent further investigation of the president and his campaign's conduct. that's in the report, correct? >> that's in the report and i rely what's in the report. to indicate what's happening in the paragraphs that we've been discussing. >> thank you. to recap what we've heard, we have heard today that the president ordered former white house counsel don mcgahn to fire you. the president order don mcgahn to cover it up and create a false paper trail and now we've heard the president order corey lewandowski to tell jeff sessions to limit your investigation so that you stop
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investigating the president. i believe a reasonable person looking at these facts could conclude that all three elements of the crime of obstruction of justice have been met and i would like to ask you the reason again you did not indict donald trump is because of olc opinion stating that you cannot indict a sitting president, correct? >> that is correct. >> the fact that orders by the president were not carried out is not a defense to obstruction of justice because the statute is quite broad. as long as you endeavor or attempt to obstruct justice it would constitute a crime. >> i'm not going to get into that at this juncture. >> thank you. based on the evidence that we've heard today, i believe reasonable person could conclude that at least three crimes of obstruction of justice by the president occurred. we'll hear about two additional crimes and that would be the
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witness tamperings of michael cohen and paul manafort. >> the only thing i want to add is i'm going through the elements with you does not mean that i subscribe to the -- what you are trying to prove through those elements. >> the time of the gentleman is expired. the lady d -- the gentleman from california. >> thanks for joining us today. you had three discussions with rod rosenstein about your appointment as special counsel, may 10, may 12, may 13, correct? >> if you say so. i have no reason to dispute that. >> then you met with the president on the 16th with rod rosenstein present and then on the 17th you were formally appointed as special counsel. were you meeting with the president on the 16th with knowledge that you were under consideration for appointment to special counsel? >> i did not believe i was under consideration for counsel.
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i had served two terms as f.b.i. director. >> the answer is no. >> the answer is no. >> gregg jarrett describes your office as the team of partisans and additional information is coming to light there is a growing concern that political biased cause important facts to be omitted from your report in order to cast the president unfairly in a negative light. for example. john doud, the president's lawyer leave a message with flynn's lawyer in november 2017. the edited version in your report makes it appear he was improperly asking for confidential information and that's what we know from your report. except that the judge in the flynn case ordered the entire transcript released in which dowd makes it clear that's not what he was suggesting. my question is why did you edit the transcript to hide the exculpatory part of the message? >> i don't agree with your characterization that we did anything to hide.
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>> you quoted it and omitted it. you omitted the portion where he says without giving up any confidential information. >> i'm not going to go further in terms of discussing that. >> you extensively discussed -- you describe a russian ukraine ran political consultant with ties to russian intelligence. that's all we know from your report. we've since learned from news articles that he was actually a u.s. state department intelligence source. nowhere in your report is he so identified. why was that fact omitted? >> i don't necessarily credit what you're saying occurred. >> were you aware that kol -- >> i won't -- >> did you interview this person? >> i can't go into discussion
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of our investigative moves. >> and yet that is the basis of your report. again, the problem we're having is we have to rely on your report for an accurate reflection of the evidence and we're starting to find out that's not true. for example, your report famously links russian internet troll farms with the russian government yet a hearing on may 28 in the concord management ao*ir prosecution the judge ex coreiateed you and mr. barr for producing no evidence to support this claim. why did you suggest russia was responsible for the troll farms when in court you've been unable to produce any evidence to support it? >> i won't get into that further than i have. >> you have left the clear impression throughout the country through your report that it was the russian government behind the troll farms. when you are called upon to provide evidence in court, you fail to do so.
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>> again, i dispute your characterization of what occurred in that proceeding. >> the judge considered holding prosecutors in criminal contempt. she backed off only after your hastely called press conference the next day where you retroactively made the distinction between the russia government and troll farms. did your press conference may 29 have anything to do with the threat to hold your prosecutors in contempt for misrepresenting the evidence? >> what was the question? >> did your may 29th press conference have anything to do with the fact that the previous day the judge threatened to hold your prosecutors in contempt for misrepresenting evidence? >> no. >> now, the fundamental problem is as i said we have to take your word, your team faithfully, accurately, impartially and completely described all of the underlying
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evidence in the mueller report and we're finding more and more instances where it isn't the case. and it is starting to look like having desperately tried and failed to make a legal case against the president, you made a political case instead. you put it in a paper sack, lit it on fire. dropped it on our porch, rang the doorbell and ran. >> i don't think you've referred to a report more fair than the report we have in front of us. >> the time of the gentleman is expired. the gentleman was maryland is recognized. >> let's go to a fourth episode of obstruction of justice in the form of witness tampering which is urging witnesses not to cooperate with law enforcement either by persuading them or intimidating them. it's a felony punishable by 20 years in prison. you found evidence that the president engaged in efforts, and i quote, to encourage witnesses not to cooperate with the investigation, is that
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right? >> that's correct. you have a citation there? >> page 7, volume 2. >> thank you. >> one of these witnesses was michael cohen who pled guilty to campaign violations based on secret hush money payments to women the president knew and also lying to congress about the hoped-for trump deal. the president told him to hang in there and stay strong. is that right? do you remember finding that? >> if it's in the report it is right. >> also in the report are a series of calls made by other friends of the president, one reached out to say he was with the boss in mar-a-lago and the president said he loves you. name redacted. another friend called the say the boss loves you and the third redacted friend says everyone knows the boss has your back.
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you remember finding that sequence of calls? >> generally yes. >> when the news -- cohen said that following the receipt of these messages i'm quoting here page 147 of volume 2 he believed he had the support of the white house if he continued to tow the party line and determined to stay on message and be part of the team. that's at page 147. >> generally, yes. >> well, and robert costello, a lawyer close to the president's 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's up on the screen page 147. do you remember reporting that? when the news first broke that cohen had arranged payoffs to stormy daniels cohen faithfully stuck to this party line and said publicly that neither the trump organization nor the
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trump campaign was a party to the transaction and neither reimbursed him. trump's personal attorney at that point quickly texted cohen to say, quote, client says thank you for what you do. mr. mueller, who is the capital c client thanking cohen for what he does? >> i can't speak to that. >> the assumption suggests strongly it is president trump. >> i can't speak to that. >> cohen later broke and pled guilty to campaign finance expenses and said they were made at the direction of candidate trump. do you remember that? >> yes. >> after cohen's guilty plea the president changed his tune towards mr. cohen, didn't he? >> i would say i rely on what's in the report. >> he made the suggestion cohen family members committed crimes and said his father-in-law was
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guilty of committing crimes. >> generally accurate. >> on page 154 you give a powerful summary of the changing dynamics and you said i'm happy to have you do it. >> i have it in front of me. >> would you like to read it? >> i would. >> can you read it out loud to everybody? >> i would be happy to have you read it out loud. >> the evidence could support an inference the president used inducements in the form of positive messages in an effort to get cohen not to cooperate and then turned to attacks and intimidation to deter the provision of information or undermine cohen's credibility once he began cooperating. >> i believe that's accurate. >> in my view if anyone else in america would have been charged in witness tampering. we need to emphasize that in congress that in america no person is so high as to be above the law. i yield back, mr. chairman.
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>> thank you, mr. chairman. just recently mr. mueller, you said mr. loiu was asking you questions. the reason you didn't indict the president is because of the olc opinion. and you answered that is correct. but that is not what you said in the report and it is not what you told attorney general barr. and in fact in a joint statement that you released with doj on may 29th after your press conference your office issued a joint statement with the department of justice that said the attorney general has previously stated the special counsel repeatedly affirmed that he was not saying that but for the olc opinion he would have found the president obstructed justice. the special counsel's report and his statement today made clear that the office concluded it would not reach a
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determination one way or the other whether the president committed a crime. there is no conflict between these statements. so mr. mueller, do you stand by your joint statement with doj that you issued on may 29th as you said today sfwh >> i would have to look at it more closely before i say i agree with it. >> well, so my conclusion is that what you told mr. lou really contradicts what you said in the report and specifically what you said apparently repeatedly to attorney general barr and then you issued a joint statement on may 29th saying that the attorney general has previously stated the special counsel repeatedly affirmed he was not saying but for the olc report that we would have found the president obstructed justice. so i just say there is a conflict. i have more questions. mr. mueller there has been a lot of talk today about firing
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the special counsel and curtailing the investigation. were you ever fired, mr. mueller? were you ever fired as special counsel, mr. mueller? >> no. >> no. were you allowed to complete your investigation unencumbered? >> yes. >> and, in fact, you resigned as special counsel when you closed up the office in late may 2019, is that correct? >> that's correct. >> thank you. mr. mueller, on april 18th the attorney general held a press conference in conjunction with the public release of your report. did attorney general barr say anything inaccurate either in his press conference or his march 24th letter to congress summarizing the principled conclusions of your report? >> well, what you are not mentioning is the letter we sent on march 27th to mr. barr
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that raised some issues. and that letter speaks for itself. >> but then i don't see how you could -- that could be since a.g. barr's letter detailed the principle conclusions of your report and you have said before that there wasn't anything inaccurate. in fact, you have this joint statement. but let me go on to another question. mr. mueller, rather than purely relying on the evidence provided by witnesses and documents, i think you relied a lot on media. i would like to know how many times you cited the "washington post" in your report. >> how many times i what? >> cite -- cited the "washington post" in your report. >> i don't have knowledge of that figure. >> i counted 60 times. how many times did you cite
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"the new york times." >> i have no idea. >> i counted 75 times. >> how many times did you cite fox news. >> i have no idea. >> about 25 times. i've got to say it looks like volume 2 is mostly regurgitated press stories. honestly, there is almost nothing in volume two that i didn't already hear or no simply by having a $50 cable news subscription. however, your investigation cost the 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 i quote, this section summarizes and cites various news stories not for the truth of the information contained in the stories but rather to place candidate trump's response to those stories in context. since nobody but lawyers read
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footnotes are you concerned that the american public took the embedded news stories -- >> time of the lady is expired. >> can mr. mueller answer the question? >> we're running short on time. no. i said the general lady from washington >> director mueller, let's turn to the fifth of the obstruction episodes in your report and that is the evidence of whether president trump engaged in witness tampering with trump campaign chairman paul manafort whose foreign ties were critical to your investigation into russia's interference in our elections. it starts at volume 2, page 123. your office got indictments against manafort and trump deputy campaign manager rick gates in two different jurisdictions, correct? >> correct. >> your office found after a grand jury indict of them manafort told gates not to plead guilty to any charges because, quote, he had talked to the president, president's
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personal counsel and they were going to take care of us. is that correct? >> that's accurate. >> acourting to your report, one day after manafort's conviction on eight felony charges, quote, the president said that flipping was not fair and almost ought to be outlawed. is that correct? >> i'm aware of that. >> what does it mean to flip in this context? >> have somebody cooperate in a criminal investigation. >> how essential is that cooperation to any efforts to combat crime? >> i won't go beyond that characterizing that effort. >> in your report you concluded that president trump and his personal counsel rudy giuliani made repeated statements suggesting that a pardon was a possibility for manafort while always making it clear the president did not want manafort to flip and cooperate with the government, is that correct >> correct >> witness tampering can be shown where someone with an improper motive encourages another person not to cooperate with law enforcement, is that
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correct? >> correct. >> now on page 123 of volume 2 you also discuss the president's motive and you say that as court proceedings move forward against manafort president trump discussed with aides whether and in what way manafort might be cooperating and whether manafort knew any information that would be harmful to the president. >> that was a quote from? >> page 123, volume 2. >> yes. >> when someone tries to stop another person from working with law enforcement and they do it because they're worried about what that person will say, it seems clear from what you wrote that this is a classic definition of witness tampering. now, mr. manafort did eventually decide to cooperate with your office and he entered into a plea agreement. but then he broke that agreement. can you describe what he did that caused you to tell the court that the agreement was off? >> refer you to the court proceedings on that issue. >> on page 127, volume 2, you
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told the court mr. manafort lied about a number of matters that were material to the investigation and you said that manafort's lawyers also quote regularly briefed the president's lawyers on topics discussed and the information that manafort had provided in interviews with the special counsel's office. does that sound right? >> the source of that is? >> page 127, volume 2, direct quote. >> if it's from the report i support it. >> two days after you told the court manafort broke his plea agreement by lying repeatedly did president trump tell the press that mr. manafort was have brave becauses did not flip, page 128 of volume 2. >> if it's in the report i support it as it is set forth. >> director mueller, in your report you make a very serious conclusion about the evidence regarding the president's involvement with the manafort criminal proceedings. let me read to you from your report. evidence concerning the president's conduct toward manafort indicates that the
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president intended to encourage manafort to not cooperate with the government. it is clear that the president both publicly and privately discouraged mr. manafort's flipping while also dangling the promise of a pardon if he stayed loyal and didn't share what he knew about the president. anyone who else did these things would be prosecuted for them and no one is above the law. thank you, mr. mueller. >> gentleman from pennsylvania. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. mueller, are you familiar with the now-expired independent counsel statute? the statute under which ken starr was appointed. >> that ken starr did what? >> are you familiar tw the independent counsel standard? >> under which ken starr was appointed. >> i'm not that familiar with it. >> the clinton administration
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allowed that statute to expire off the starr investigation. it was a major reason why the statute was allowed to expire. even president clinton's a.g. janet reno expressed concerns about the final report requirement and i'll quote a.g. reno. she said on one hand the american people have an interest in knowing the outcome of an investigation of their highest officials. on the other hand, the report requirement cuts against many of the most basic traditions and practices of american law enforcement. under our system we presume innocence and value privacy. we believe that information obtained during a criminal investigation should in most cases be made public only if there is an indictment and prosecution, not any lengthy and detailed report filed after a decision has been made not to prosecute. the final report provides a forum for unfairly airing a
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target's dirty laundry and creates another incentive counsel for special counsel to over investigate to avoid criticism that the independent counsel may have left a stone unturned. mr. mueller, those are a.g. reno's words. didn't you do exactly what a.g. reno feared? didn't you public a lengthy report unfairly airing the target's dirty laundry without recommending charges? >> i disagree with that. >> did any of your witnesses have a chance to be cross-examined? >> i operate under the current statute, not the original statute. so i am most familiar with the current statute. >> did any of the witnesses have a chance to be cross-examined? >> did any of the witnesses in our investigation? >> yes. >> i'm not going to answer that. >> did you allow the people mentioned in your report to challenge how they were characterized? >> i will not get into that.
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>> isn't a.g. barr stated multiple times during his confirmation hearing he would make as much of the report public as possible. did you write your report knowing that it would likely be shared with the public? >> no. >> did knowing the report could and likely would be made public alter the contents which you included? >> i can't speak to that. >> despite the expectations that your report would be released to the public, you left out significant exculpatory evidence. in other words, evidence favorable to the president, correct? >> well, i actually would dils agree with you. i think we strive to put into the report exculpatory. >> you said there was evidence you left out. >> well, you make a choice as to what goes into an indictment >> isn't the true on page 1 of volume 2 you state when you are quoting the statute you had an obligation to prosecute or not prosecute.
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>> generally that's the case. although most cases are not done in the context of the president. >> in this case you made a decision not to prosecute, correct? >> we made a decision not to decide whether to prosecute or not. >> so essentially what your report did was everything that a.g. reno warned against. >> i can't agree with that characterization. >> well, what you did is you compiled a nearly 450-page document of the very worst information you gathered against the target of your investigation who happens to be the president of the united states. and you did this knowing that you were not going to recommend charges and that the report would be made public. >> not true. >> mr. mueller, as a former officer united states jag corpse i prosecuted nearly 100 terrorists and cross-examined the butcher of -- and i was a
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district judge in pennsylvania. i'm well versed in the american legal system. the drafting and publication of some of the information in this report without an indictment, without prosecution, frankly flies in the face of american justice and i find those facts and this entire process unamerican. i yield the remainder of my time to jim jordan. >> director mueller, the third fisa renewal happened three months after your -- >> i won't talk to that. >> the general lady from florida. >> director mueller a couple of my colleagues right here want to ask you about lies. let's talk about lies. according to your report page 9, volume 1. witnesses lied to your office and to congress. those lies materially impaired the investigation of russia interference according to your report. other than the individuals who pled guilty to crimes based on
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your lying to you and your team, did other witnesses lie to you? >> i think there are probably a specter of witnesses in terms of those who are not telling the fuel truth and those are outright liars. >> it is fair to say then there were limits on what evidence was available to your investigation of both russia election interference and obstruction of justice. >> that's true and usually the case. >> and that lies by trump campaign officials and administration officials impeded your investigation. >> i would generally agree with that. >> thank you so much. director mueller. you will be hearing more from me in the next hearing. i yield the balance of my time to my colleague. thank you. >> mr. mueller, first of all. let me welcome you. you're a hero. we won't forget your service to
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our country. if i may begin because of time limits we have gone in depth on only five possible episodes of obstruction. there is so much more. i want to focus on another section of obstruction which is the president's conduct concerning michael flynn. the president's national security advisor. in early 2017 the white house counsel and president were informed that mr. flynn had lied to government authorities about his communications with a russian ambassador during the trump campaign and transition. is this correct? >> correct. >> if a hostile nation knows a u.s. official has lied publicly, that can be used to blackmail that government official, correct? >> i'm not going to speak to that. i don't disagree with it but i won't speak any more to that issue. >> thank you very much, sir. flynn resigned on february 13th, 2016. the very next day when the
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president was having lunch with new jersey governor chris christie, did the president say open quotes, now that we fired flynn, the russia thing is over, close quote. is that correct? >> correct. >> and is it true that christie responded by saying open quotes, no way. and this russia thing is far from over, close quote. >> that's the way we have it in the report. >> thank you. and after president met with christie, later that same day the president arranged to meet with then f.b.i. director james comey alone in the oval office, correct? >> correct particularly if you have the citation to the report. >> page 39, 40, volume 2. according to comey the president told him i hope you can see your way to clear to letting this thing go. to letting flynn go.
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he is a good guy and i hope you can let it go. close quote. page 40, volume 2. >> accurate. >> what did comey understand the president to be asking? >> i'm not going to get into what was in mr. comey's mind. >> he understood it to be a direction because of the president's position and the circumstances of the one-to-one meeting? page 40, volume 2. >> i understand it's in the report and i support it as being in the report. >> thank you, sir. even though the president publicly denied telling comey to drop the investigation, you found open quote, substantial evidence corroborating comey's account over the president's, is this correct? >> that's correct. >> the president fired comey on may 9th, is that correct, sir? >> i believe that's the accurate date. >> that's page 77, volume 2. you found substantial evidence
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that the catalyst for the president's firing of comey was comey's open quote, unwillingness to publicly state that the president was not personally under investigation. >> i'm not going to delve more into the details of what happened. if it's in the report i'm supportive because it's been reviewed appropriately appears in the report. >> that's page 75, volume 2. in fact, the very next day the president told the russian foreign minister open quote, i just fired the head of the f.b.i. he was crazy, a real nut job. i faced great pressure because of russia. that's taken off. i'm not under investigation, close quote. is that correct? >> that's what was-written in the report. >> the gentleman from virginia. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. mueller. we've heard a lot about what you aren't going to talk about today.
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let's talk about something you should be able to talk about. the law itself. underlying obstruction statute and your createive legal analysis particularly your interpretation of 18ucs1512c. 1512c is obstruction justice statute based on auditing and financial obligations for public companies. you write this provision was added as a floor amendment in the senate and explained as closing a certain loophole with respect to document shredding. whoever corruptly alters, destroys or conceals record, document or other object or attempts to do so to-for use in an official proceeding or otherwise obstructs, influences or impedes any official proceedings or attempts -- it proposes to give clause c2 a
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broader interpretation. reading it as a freestanding prohibiting any act influencing a proceeding if done with a than improper motive and to apply it being proposed to apply the prohibition to lawful acts taken by public officials exercising their discretionary powers if those acts influence a proceeding. so mr. mueller i would ask you in analyzing the obstruction you state that you recognize that the department of justice and the courts have not definitively resolved these issues, correct? >> correct. >> you would agree not everyone in the justice department agreed with your legal theory of the obstruction of justice statutes, correct? >> i'm not going to be involved in discussion on that at this juncture. >> the attorney general himself disagrees with your interpretation of the law, is that correct? >> i leave that to the attorney general to identify. >> you would agree prosecutors
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sometimes incorrectly apply the law. >> i would have to agree with that one. >> members of your legal team have had convictions overturned, right? >> i don't know what you -- trying cases we have not won every one of those cases. >> one of your top prosecutors weissmann obtained a conviction lower court and overturned that rejected the legal theory advanced by weissmann, correct? let me read from that. >> may i just finish my answer to say i'm not going to get involved in discussion on that. i will refer you to that citation that you gave me at the outset for the lengthy discussion on just what you are talking about and to the extent i have anything to say about it, it is what we've already put into the report on that. >> i am reading from your report when discussing this section. i'm read from the decision of the supreme court unanimously reversing mr. weissmann when he
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said indeed it's striking how little culpability, the jury was told if petitioner believed this was lawful the jury could convict and dill luteed the meaning that it covered innocent conduct. >> let me just say. >> i have limited time. your report takes the broadest possible reading of this provision in applying it to the president's acts and i'm concerned for overcriminalizing conduct. to emphasize how broad your theory is. october 11th, 2015 during the f.b.i. investigation into hillary clinton's use of a private email server president obama said i don't think it posed a national security problem and said i can tell you it is not a situation where america's national security was endangered. assuming his moments did influence his investigation couldn't president obama be charged under your interpretation with obstruct shn of justice? >> with andrew weissmann one of
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the more talented attorneys we have on board over a period of time he has run a number of units. >> i have very limited time. in august 2015 a senior d.o.j. official called andrew mccabe saying f.b.i. agents were purchase saourg the clinton foundation probe. the doj official was pissed off. mccabe questioned this official asking are you telling me i need to shut down an investigation? the official replied of course not. this seems to be a clear example of somebody within the executive branch trying to -- under your theory, couldn't that person be charged with obstruction as long as the prosecutor could come up with a corrupt motive? >> i refer you to our lengthy dissertation to those issues at the end of the report. >> i would argue it says above the supreme court -- >> the time of the gentleman is
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-- our intent was to conclude this hearing in three hours. given the break it would bring us to 11:40. with director mueller's indulgence we'll ask our democratic members to limit their time below the five minutes to complete our work as close to that time frame as possible. i recognize the general lady from pennsylvania. >> thank you. director mueller. i want to ask you some questions about the president's statements regarding advance knowledge of the wikileaks dumps. so the president refused to sit down with your investigators for an in-person interview, correct? >> correct. >> the only answers we have to questions from the president are contained in appendix c to your report. >> correct. >> looking at that you asked the president over a dozen questions whether he had knowledge that wikileaks possessed or might possess the emails that were stolen by the russians. >> i apologize. can you start it again?
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>> okay. sure. we're looking at appendix c. you asked the president a dozen questions whether he had new jersey that wikileaks possessed the stolen emails that might be released in a way helpful to his campaign or harmful to the clinton campaign. you asked those questions. in february of this year mr. trump's personal attorney michael cohen testified to congress under oath that quote, mr. trump knew from roger stone in advance about the wikileaks drop of emails, end quote. a matter of public record, isn't it? >> are you referring to the report or other public record. >> testimony before congress by mr. cohen. >> then i'm not familiar with it when he testified before congress. >> okay. let's look at an event described on page 18 of volume 2 of your report.
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now according -- we'll put it on the slide, i think. according to deputy campaign manager rick gates in the summer of 2016, he and candidate trump were on the way to an airport after wikileaks released its first set of stolen emails. candidate trump was on a phone call. when the call ended trump told gates that more releases of damaging information would be coming, end quote. do you recall that from the report? >> if it's in the report i support it. >> that's on page 18 of volume 2. now, on page 77 of volume 2 your report also stated, quote, in addition some witnesses said that trump privately sought information about future wicky leak releases, end quote. is that correct? >> correct. >> appendix c where the president did answer some written questions he said, quote, i do not recall
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discussing wikileaks with him nor do i recall being aware of mr. stone having discussed wikileaks with individuals associated with my campaign end quote. is that correct? >> if it's from the report it is correct. >> okay. so is it fair to say the president denied ever discussing wikileaks with mr. stone and denied being aware that anyone associated with his campaign discussed wikileaks with stone? >> is it fair the knowledge benotified knowledge of himself or anyone else discussing wikileaks dumps with mr. stone? >> yes. >> i would yield back. >> thank you, mr. chair. mr. mueller over here. did you indeed interview for a f.b.i. director job one day before you were appointed as special counsel? >> my understanding it was not applying for the job. i was asked to give my input on what it would take to do the job, which triggered the
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interview you are talking about. >> so you don't recall may 16th, 2017 you interviewed with the president regarding the f.b.i. director job? >> i interviewed with the president and -- >> about the job? >> about the job but not about me applying for the job. >> your statement today you didn't interview to apply for the f.b.i. director job? >> that's correct. >> so did you tell the vice president or the f.b.i. director position would be the one job you would come back for? >> i don't recall that one. >> you don't recall that >> no >> given your 22 months of investigation, millionss of dollars spent and millions of documents did you find that any american changed their vote because of russian interference? after 22 months of investigation there isn't any evidence in that document before us that any voter changed their vote because of their interference? based on all the documents you reviewed. >> that was outside our purview.
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>> russian meddling? >> the impact was undertaken by other agencies. >> you stated in your opening statement you would not get into the details of the steele dossier. multiple times in volume two on page 23, 27, 28 you mentioned the unverified allegations. how long did it take you to reach the conclusion that it was unverified? >> i won't speak to that. >> it's actually in your report multiple times that it's unverified and you are telling us you aren't willing to tell us how you came to the conclusion it was unverified. >> true? >> when do you conclude it was in the fisa application to spy on carter page. when did you become aware that the unverified steele dossier was included in the fisa applications on carter page? >> i'm not going to speak to that. >> your team interviewed christopher steele, is that
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correct? >> i'm not going to get into that. >> you can't tell this committee whether you interviewed christopher steele in an 18 month investigation with 22 lawyers? >> that's one of the investigations that is being handled by others in the department of justice. >> you are here testifying about this investigation today. i'm asking you directly did any member of your team or you interview christopher steele ?frjts i won't answer that question. >> you had two years to investigate. you didn't investigate how an inverified document paid for by a political opponent. did you do any investigation? >> i do not accept your characterization of what occurred. >> what would be your -- >> i won't speak any more to it. >> you won't speak any more to it but not agree with my characterization. is that correct? >> yes. >> the fisa application makes reference to source one,
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christopher steele, the fisa application says nothing sources one's reason for conducting the research ties russia based on sources previous reporting history with f.b.i. source one provided reliable information to the f.b.i. the f.b.i. believed source one as reporting to be credible. do you believe the f.b.i.'s assertion that it was credible is accurate. ? >> i won't answer that. >> you won't respond to any questions with regard to christopher steele or your interviews with him. >> as i said this morning that was one of the investigations i could not speak to. >> i don't understand how if you intervaoufd an individual in the purview of this investigation that you have closed the investigation how it is not in your purview to tell us about the investigation and who you interviewed. >> i have nothing to add. >> the american people want to know and i'm very hopeful and glad that a.g. barr is looking into this and the inspector general because you are unwilling to answer the
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questions of the american people as it relates to the very basis of this investigation into the president and the very basis of this individual who you did interview. you have are just refusing to answer those questions. can't the president fire the f.b.i. director at any time without any reason under article 2 of the constitution? >> yes. >> he also fire you at any time without any reason? >> i believe that to be the case. >> under article 2. >> hold on just a second. you said without any reason. i know that special counsel can be fired. i'm not certain it extends to for whatever reason. >> you testified you weren't fired and able to complete your investigation in full, is that correct? >> i won't add to what i've stated before. >> my time is expired. >> general lady from pennsylvania. >> texas. >> thank you, mr. chairman and mr. mueller for being with us close to the afternoon now.
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director mueller i would like to ask you about the president's answers relating to roger stone. roger stone was indicted for multiple federal crimes and the indictment alleges that mr. stone discussed future wikileaks email releases with the trump campaign. understanding there is a gag order on the stone case, i will keep my questions restricted to publicly available information. mr. stone's indictment. >> let me say at the outset, i don't mean to disrupt you. but i would like some demarcation of that which is applicable to this but in such a way it doesn't hinder the other prosecution taking place in d.c. >> i'll only be talking about the questions that you asked in writing to the president that relate to mr. stone. >> thank you, ma'am. >> his indictment states the following, quote, stone was
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contacted by senior trump officials to inquire about future releases of organization one, organization one being wikileaks. indictment continues, quote, stone thereafter told the trump campaign about potential future releases of damaging material by wikileaks. so in short the indictment alleges that stone was asked by the trump campaign to get information about more wikileaks releases and that stone, in fact, did tell the trump campaign about potential future releases, correct? >> yes, ma'am, but i see you are quoting from the indictment. the indictment is a public document i feel uncomfortable discussing anything to do with the stone prosecution. >> the indictment is on record and we pulled it off and are reading from it. turning back to the president's questions answer to your question the president denied
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ever denied discussing future wikileaks releases with stone and denied knowing that anybody else had those discussions with those. if you learned that other witnesses have lied to your investigators in response to specific questions whether in writing or an interview, could they be charged with false statement crimes? >> i'm not going to speculate. i think you are asking for me to speculate given a set of sir scum stances. >> let's put it more specific. what if i had made a false statement to an investigator on your team. could i go to jail for up to five years? >> yes. although it's congress so -- [laughter] >> that's the point, isn't it? no one is above the law. >> that's true. >> not you, not the congress and certain life -- certainly not the president. it's troubling to have to hear some of these things and why
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the american people deserve to learn the full facts of the misconduct described in your report for which any other person would have been charged with crimes. so thank you for being here and again the point has been underscored many times but i'll repeat it. no one is above the law. thank you. >> thank you, ma'am. >> the gentleman from north dakota is recognized. >> how many people on your staff did you fire during the course of the investigation? >> how many people -- >> did you fire? >> i'm not going to discuss that. >> according to inspector general's report attorney two was let go and we know peter strzok was let go. >> there may have been other persons on other issues that have been transferred or fired. >> peter strzok testified that he was fired because you were concerned about independence. do you agree with his testimony? he said he was fired partially
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because you were worried about -- concerned about preserving the appearance of independence with the special counsel's investigation? >> the statement was by whom? >> peter strzok as this hearing. >> i am not familiar with that. >> did you fire him oh because you were wore aoefd about the independence of the investigation? >> he was transferred as a result of instances involving texts. >> do you agree that your office did not only have on operation with independence and the appearance of independence? >> we stroefsh to do that over the two years. making certain that -- >> andrew weissmann is one of your top attorneys. did he have a role in selecting other members of your team? >> not a major role. >> he attended hillary clinton's election night party. >> i don't know when i found that out. >> january 30th, 2017 weissmann wrote an email to attorney general yates i'm proud and in
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awe regarding hir disobeying a direct order from the president. did he disclose that email to you before he joined the team. isn't that a conflict of interest? >> not going the talk about that. >> are you aware mr. rea represented hillary clinton in her time as secretary of state? >> yes. >> did you know that before she came on the team? >> no. zebley was -- you must be aware by now that six of your lawyers donated $12,000 to hillary clinton. i'm not even talking about the $49,000 they donated to other democrats. just donations to the opponent of the target of your investigation. >> can i speak to hiring practices? we strive to hire those individuals that could do the job. i have been in this business
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for 25 years. i haven't had an occasion to ask somebody about their political affiliation. it is not done. i care about the capability of the individuals that do the job and do the job quickly and seriously and with integrity. >> that's what i'm saying, mr. mueller. this isn't being about you being able to vouch for your team. the day you accepted this role you had to be aware no matter what the report concluded half the country would be skeptical of your team's findings and why we have recusal laws that define bias and perceived bias for this very reason. 28 united states code 528 lists not just political conflict of interest but the appearance of it. it is simply not enough that you vouch for your team. it demands no perceived bias exists. no judge i've appeared in front of would be comfortable with these kir sum stances where over half of the prosecutorial team had -- >> we hired 19 lawyers over the
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period of time. of those 19 lawyers, 14 of them were transferred from elsewhere in the department of justice. only five came from outside. >> and half of them had a direct relationship political or personal with the opponent of the person you were investigating. that's my point. i wonder if not a single word in in entire report was changed but rather the only difference was we switched hillary clinton and president trump. if peter strzok had texted those terrible things about 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 would be here trying to prop up an obstruction allegation. my colleagues would have spent the last four months accusing your team of being bought and paid for by the trump campaign and couldn't trust a single word of this report. they have would still be accusing the president of conspiracy with russia and accusing your team of aiding and abetting with that conspiracy. with that i yield back.
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>> the gentleman from colorado. >> director mueller, thank you for your service to our country. i would like to talk to you about one of the other incidents of obstruction. the evidence to tell his son and -- about a meeting between his campaign and russian individuals at trump tower in june of 2016. according to your report mr. trump junior was the only trump associate who participated in that meeting and who declined to be voluntarily interviewed by your office is that correct? >> yes. >> did mr. trump junior or counsel ever communicate to your office any intent to -- >> i won't answer that. >> you posed question to the president about his knowledge of his trump tower meeting and whether or not he had directed a false press statement. the president didn't answer at all that question, correct? >> i don't have it in front of me. i take your word. >> i can represent appendix c,
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c13 states as much. according to page 100 of volume 2 of your report your investigation found that hope hicks president's communications director in june of 2017 was shown emails that set up the trump tower meeting and told your office she was, quote, shocked by the emails because they looked, quote, really bad. true? >> do you have the citation? >> page 100 of volume 2. while you are flipping to that page, director mueller, will i tell you according to page 99 of volume 2 the emails stated according to your report the crown prosecutor of russia offered to provide the trump campaign with official documents and information that would incem nate hillary and her dealings with russia and the government support for mr. trump. trump junior responded if that's true i love it. others met with russian
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individuals on trump tower june 9th, 2016. >> generally accurate. >> isn't it true miss hicks told your office she went multiple times to the president to quote urge him that they should be fully transparent about the june 9th meeting end quote but the president each time said no, correct? >> accurate. >> and the reason was because of those emails which the president quote believed would not leak, correct? >> i'm not certain how it is characterized but generally correct. >> did the president direct ms. hicks to say, quote, only that trump junior took a brief meeting and it was about russian adoption because trump junior's statement to the "new york times," quote, said too much. page 102 of volume 2. >> okay. >> correct? >> let me just check one thing. yes. >> according to miss hicks the
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president still directed her to say the meeting was only about russian adoption, correct? >> yes. >> despite knowing that to be untrue. thank you, director mueller. yield back the balance of my time. >> mr. mueller you've been asked over here on the far right, sir. you've been asked a lot of questions today. to be frank, you 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 a closer for the republican side i know you're glad to get to the close i want to summarize the highlights of what we have heard and what we know. you spent two years and nearly $30 million taxpayer dollars and unlimited resources to prepare a nearly 450 page report which you describe today as very thorough. millions of americans today maintain genuine concerns about your work in large part because of the infafmous and bias of your investigating team members which we now know included 14 democrats and zero republicans.
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campaign finance reports later showed that team -- that team of democrat investigators you hired donated more than $60,000 to the hillary and other democratic candidates and also lisa page and strzok and they hated donald trump and his supporters and they vowed to take him out. mr. ratcliffe asked you earlier this morning can you give me an example other than donald trump where the justice department determined an investigated person was not exonerated because their innocence was not conclusively determined? you answered i cannot. sir, that is unprecedented. the president believed from the very beginning that you and your special counsel team had serious conflicts stated in the report and acknowledged by everybody. and yet president trump cooperated fully with the investigation. he knew he had done nothing wrong and encouraged all witnesses to cooperate with the investigation and produced more than 1.4 million pages of information and allowed over 40
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witnesses directly affiliated with the white house or his campaign. your report acknowledges on page 61 volume 2 a volume of evidence exists of the president telling many people privately quote the president was concerned about the impact of the russian investigation on his ability to govern and to address important foreign relations issues and matters of national security. page 174, volume 2 your report acknowledges that the supreme court has held quote the president's removal powers are at their zenith with respect to principles officers who must be appointed by the president and report to him directly. the president's exclusive power of removal of those principal officers furthers the president's abilities to make sure the laws are done. including the attorney general. nothing ever happened to stop or impede your special counsel investigation. nobody was fired by the president, nothing was curtailed and the investigation continued unencumbered for 22
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months. the evidence, quote, did not establish that the president was involved in an underlying crime related to russian election interference and the evidence quote did not establish that the president or those close to him were involved in any russian conspire sees or had an unlawful relationship with any russian official. over those 22 months your investigation dragged along the president became frustrated with its effects on our country and his ability to govern. evented about it and shared his frustrations on twitter. while the president's 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, never demanded to end the investigation or demanded you be terminated and never misled congress, d.o.j. or special counsel. those are undisputed facts. a lot of discussion i predict and great frustration
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throughout the country about the fact you wouldn't answer any questions about the origins of this whole charade, the christopher steele dossier which is bogus and listed and referenced in your report. we apparently will get no comment on that from you. there is one primary reason why you were called here today by the democratic majority of our committee. our colleagues on the other side of the aisle want political cover and wanted you to tell them they should impeach the president. the one thing you have said clearly today is that your report is complete and thorough and you completely agree with and stand by its recommendations and all of its content, is that right? >> true. >> mr. mueller one last important question. your report does not recommend impeachment, does it? >> i'm not going to talk about recommendations. >> it does not conclude impeachment would be appropriate, right? >> i am not going to talk about that issue. >> that's one of the many things you wouldn't talk about today. i think we can draw our on
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conclusions. thank you for your service to the country and glad the charade will come to an end soon and get back to important issues for the country by this committee. >> i want to announce our intent was to conclude this hearing 11:45. all the republican members have asked their questions. a few remaining democratic members limiting their questions so director mueller's indulgence we expect to finish in 15 minutes. >> thank you, director mueller. our investigations of russian attacks and department of justice were very productive. under two years you charged 37 people or entities with crimes. convicted 7 individuals, five of whom top trump campaign or white house aides. charges remain pending against more than two dozen russian persons or entities and against others. let me start with those five
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trump campaign or administration aides you convicted. would you agree paul manafort, president trump's campaign manager, rick gates, president trump's deputy campaign manager, michael flynn, his former national security advisor. michael cohen, the president's personal attorney. george papadopoulos, former campaign foreign policy advisor, correct? >> right. >> and the sixth top associate will face trial later in year correct, roger stone, correct? >> correct. i'm not certain what you said about stone but he is in another court system as i indicated before. >> exactly. >> i don't want to discuss. >> correct, thank you. there are many other charges as well, correct? >> correct. >> so i want to thank you so much in my limited time today for your team, the work that you did and your dedication. in less than two years your team was able to uncover and incredible amount of
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information related to russia's attack on our elections and to obstruction of justice. and there is still more that we have to learn. despite facing unfair attacks by the president and even here today, your work has been substantive and fair. the work has laid the critical foundation for our investigation and for that i thank you. i thank you. with that i yield back the balance of my time. >> gentleman from arizona. >> thank you, director mueller. i'm disappointed that some have questioned your motives throughout this process and i want to take a moment to remind the american people of who you are and your exemplary service to our country. you are a marine, you served in vietnam and earned a bronze star and a purple heart, correct? >> correct. >> which president appointed you to become the united states attorney for massachusetts? >> which senator? >> which president?
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>> which president? i think it was president bush. >> according to my notes it was president ronald reagan. >> my mistake. >> under whose administration did you serve as the assistant attorney general in charge of the d.o.j.'s criminal division? >> under which president? >> yes. >> that would be george bush one. >> that's correct. after thank you took a job at a law firm and after only a couple of years you did something extraordinary. you left that lucrative position to reenter public service prosecuting homicides here in washington, d.c., is that correct >> correct. >> when you were named director of the f.b.i., which president first appointed you? >> bush. >> and the senate confirmed you with a vote of 98-0, correct? >> surprising. [laughter] >> and you were sworn in as director just one week before the september 11th attacks >> true. >> you helped protect this
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nation against another attack. you did such an outstanding job when your 10-year term expired the senate unanimously voted to extend your term for another two years, correct? >> true. >> when you were asked in 2017 to take the job as special counsel, the president had just fired f.b.i. director james comey. the justice department and the f.b.i. were in turmoil. you must have known there would be an extraordinary challenge. why did you accept? >> i'm not going to get into that. that's a little bit off track. it was the challenge. >> some people attacked the political motivations of your team and suggest your investigation was a witch hunt. when you consider people to join your team did you ever once ask about their political affiliation? >> never once. >> in your entire career as a law enforcement official have you ever made a hiring decision based upon a person's political affiliation? >> no.
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>> i'm not -- >> if i might interject. the capabilities we've shown in the report that's been discussed here today was a result of a team of agents and lawyers who are absolutely exemplary and were hired because of the value they could contribute to getting the job done and getting it done expeditiously. >> you are a patriot and listening to your testimony today you acted fairly and with restraint. circumstances where you could have filed charges against other people mentioned in the report but declined. not every prosecutor does that. certainly not one on a witch hunt. the attacks against you and your team intensified because your report is damming and you uncovered substantial evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors and something about. the only remedy for the situation is for congress to take action. i yield back. speak of the gentleman yields back, the gentle lady from pennsylvania. >> good morning, director mueller.
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>> gotcha! sorry. [laughter] >> i wanted to ask you about public confusion, connected with attorney general barr's release of your report. i will be coding you are in march 27th letter. sarah, in that letter -- and at several other times -- did you convey to the attorney general that the "introductions and executive some summaries accurately >> i have to say the letter itself speaks for itself." >> and those were your words and that? continuing with your letter, you are to the attorney general that "the summary letter 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." is that correct? >> again, i rely on ther


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