tv Outnumbered Overtime With Harris Faulkner FOX News July 24, 2019 10:00am-11:00am PDT
>> thank you, mr. chairman. welcome, everyone, to the last gas of the russia collusion conspiracy theory. as democrats continue to foist the spectacle on the american people, as well as you, mr. mueller, the american people may recall the media first began spreading this conspiracy theory in the spring of 2016. when the fusion gps, funded by the dnc and the elder clinton campaign, started developing the steele dossier. a collection of outlandish accusations that trump and his associates were russian agents. effusion gps, steel, and other confederates -- and to top officials in numerous agencies, quitting the fbi, the apartment of justice, and the state department. among other things, the fbi used dusty allegations to obtain a
warrant to spy on the trump campaign. despite acknowledging dusty allegations as being salacious and unverified, former fbi director james comey briefed those allegations to president obama and president-elect trump. this briefings conveniently leaked to the press. launching thousands of false press stories based on the word of a foreign ex-spy. one who admitted he was desperate that trump lose the election and who was eventually fired as an fbi source for leaking to the press. after combing himself was fired, by his own admission, he leaked derogatory information on president trump to the press for the specific purpose and successfully so, as engineering the appointment of a special counsel who sits here before us today.
the fbi investigation was marred by further corruption and bizarre abuses. top doj official bruce ohr, whose own wife worked on fusion gps's anti-trump operation, said sent steele's information to the fbi even after the fbi fired steele. the top investigator and has liver, another top fbi official, constantly texted about how much they hated trump and wanted to stop him from being elected. and the entire investigation was open based not on intelligence but on a tip from a foreign politician. about a conversation involving joseph mifsud. he is a maltese diplomat who is widely portrayed as a russian agent, but seems to have far more connections with western governments, including our own fbi and our own state department. than with russia.
ignoring all these red flags as well as the transparent absurdity of the claims they are making, the democrats have argued for nearly three years that evidence of collusion is hidden just around the corner. like the loch ness monster, they insist it's there even if no one can find it. consider this -- in march 2017, democrats on this committee said they had more than circumstantial evidence of collusion but they couldn't reveal it yet. mr. mueller was soon appointed, and they said he would find the collusion. when no collusion was found, and mr. mueller's indictments, they said they find it in the final report. then when there was no collusion in the report, we were told attorney general barr was hiding it. then when it was clear he wasn't hiding anything, we were told it would be revealed through a hearing with mr. mueller himsel himself. and now that mr. mueller is here, they are claiming that the collusion has actually been in his report all along.
hidden in plain sight. and they are right -- there is collusion in plain sight. collusion between russia and the democratic party. the democrats colluded with russian sources to develop the steele dossier, and russian lawyer natalia veselnitskaya colluded with a key architect. fusion gps head glenn simpson. democrats have already admitted both in interviews and through their usual anonymous statements to reporters that today's hearing is not about getting information at all. they said they want to "bring the mueller report to life." and create a television moment, through ploys like having mr. mueller recite passages from his own report. in other words, this hearing is political theater. it's an attempt to convince emergent people that collusion is real, and that it's concealed in the report. granted, that's a strange argument to make about a report that is public. it's almost like a democrats
prepared arguments accusing mr. barr fighting the report, and didn't offer to update their claims once he published the entire thing. the russian investigation was never about finding the truth. it was a simple media operation. by their own accounts, this operation continues in this room today. once again, numerous pressing issues this committee needs to address are put on hold to indulge the political fantasies of people who believed it was their destiny to serve hillary clinton's administration. it's time for the curtain to close on the russia hoax. the conspiracy theory is dead. at some point i would argue we are going to have to get back to work. until then, i yield back the balance of my time. >> to ensure fairness and make sure that our hearing is prompt -- i know we got a late start,
director mueller -- the hearing will be structured as follows. each member of the committee will be afforded 5 minutes to ask questions, beginning with the chair and ranking member. as chair i will recognize them after in alternating fashion and ascending seniority. members of the majority and minority. after east felt like each member was asked her questions, they will be afforded an additional s followed by the chair, who will ask an additional five questions. 5 minutes for questions. ranking member and the chair will not be permitted to delegate or yield our final round of questions to any other member. after six members of the majority and six members of the minority have concluded their five-minute rounds of questions, we will take a five or ten minute break. we understand that you have requested that. before resuming the hearing with congressman swallow starting his round of questions special counsel mueller is accompanied today by aaron zebley, who served as deputy special counsel from may 2017 until may 2019. and had day-to-day oversight of
the special counsel investigation. mr. mueller, and mr. zebley, resigned from the department of justice at the end of may 2019 when the special counsel office was closed. both mr. mueller and mr. zebley will be available to answer questions today and will be sworn in consistent with the rules of the house and the committee. mr. mueller and mr. zebley's appearance today before the committee is in keeping with the committee's long-standing practice of receiving testimony from current or former department of justice and fbi personnel regarding open and closed investigative matters. as this hearing is under oath, and before you begin your testimony, mr. mueller and zebley, would you please rise and raise your right hands to be sworn? would you swear them and? >> do you swear or affirm the testimony were about to give at this hearing is the whole truth and nothing but the truth? thank you. the record will reflect that the
witnesses have been duly sworn. ranking member? >> thank you, the strattera. i just want to clarify that this is highly unusual for mr. zebley to be sworn in. we are here to ask director mueller questions. he is here as counsel. our side is not going to be directing any questions to mr. zebley, and have concerns about his prior representation e hillary clinton campaign aide. so i just want to voice that concern that we do have. we will not be addressing any questions to mr. zebley today. >> i think the ranking member, i realized -- as you probably do, mr. zebley -- that there is an angry man down the street who is not happy about your being here today. but it is up to this committee and not anyone else who will be allowed to be sworn in and testify, and you are welcome as
a private citizen to testify, and members may direct their questions to whomever they choose. with that, director mueller, you are recognized for any opening remarks he would like to make. >> good afternoon, chairman schiff. ranking member newness, and members of the committee i testified this morning before the house judiciary committee, i ask that the opening statement i made before that committee be incorporating incorporated into the record here. >> without objection, director. >> i understand this committee has a unique jurisdiction. and that you are interested in further understanding the counterintelligence implications of our investigation. let me say a word about how we handled the potential impact of our investigation on counterintelligence matters. as we explained in the report, the special counsel regulations effectively gave me the role of united states attorney.
as a result, we structured our investigation around evidence for possible use in prosecution of federal crimes. we did not reach what you would call "counterintelligence conclusions." we did, however, set up processes in the office to identify and pass counterintelligence information on to the fbi. members of our office periodically briefed the fbi about counterintelligence information. in addition, there were agents and analysts from the fbi who were not on our team but whose job it was to identify counterintelligence information in our files and to disseminate that information to the fbi. for these reasons, questions about whether the fbi has done, with the intelligence integration obtained by her investigation, should be directed to the fbi. i also want to reiterate a few points that i made this morning.
i am not making any judgments or offering opinions about the guilt or innocence in any pending case. it is unusual for a prosecutor to testify about a criminal investigation, and given my role as a prosecutor, there are reasons why my testimony will necessarily be limited. first, public testimonies could affect several ongoing matters. in some of these matters, court rules or judicial orders, limit the disclosure of information to protect the fairness of the proceedings. consistent with long-standing justice department policy, it would be inappropriate for me to comment in any way that could affect an ongoing matter. second, the justice department has asserted privileges concerning investigative information and citizens. ongoing matters within the justice department, and deliberations within our office.
these are justice department privileges that i will respect. the department has released a letter discussing the restrictions on my testimony. i therefore will not be able to answer questions about certain areas that i know are of public interest. for example, i am unable to address questions about the opening of the fbi's russia investigation, which occurred months before my appointment. or, matters related to the so-called "steele dossier." these matters are the subject of ongoing review by the departmen department. any questions on these topics should therefore be directed to the fbi or the justice department. third, as i explained this morning, it is important for me to adhere to what we wrote in our report. the report contains our findings and analysis, and the reasons for the decisions we made. we stated the results of our investigation with precision.
i do not intend to summarize or describe the results of our work in a different way in the course of my testimony today. as i stated in may, i also will not comment on the actions of the attorney general or of congress. i was appointed as a prosecutor and i intend to adhere to that rule into the department standards that govern. finally, as i said this morning, over the course of my career i have seen a number of challenges to our democracy. the russian government's efforts to interfere in our election is among the most serious. i'm sure the committee agrees. before we go to i want to add one correction to my testimony this morning. i want to go back to one thing that was said this morning by mr. lou who said, and i quote, "you didn't charge the president because of the olc opinion." that is not the correct way to
say it. as we say in the report, and as i said at the opening, we did not reach a determination as to whether the president committed a crime. with that, mr. chairman, i might answer questions. >> thank you, director mueller. i recognize myself for 5 minutes. dr. mueller, your report describes a sweeping and systematic effort by russia to influence our presidential election. is that correct? >> that is correct. >> during the course of this russian interference in the election, the russians made outreach to the trump campaign. did they not? >> that occurred over the course of -- yes, that occurred. >> it's also clear from your report that during that russian outreach to the trump campaign no one associated with the trump campaign ever called the fbi to report it. am i right? >> i don't know that for sure. >> in fact, the campaign welcome to the russian help. did they not? >> i think we report -- in the
report, indication that that occurred, yes. bingo the president's son said when he was approached by dirt on ellery clinton that the term campaign would love it? >> that is generally what was said, yes. >> the president himself called on the russians to hack hillary's emails. >> there was a statement by the president along those general lines. >> numerous times during the campaign the president praised the releases of the russian-hacked emails through wikileaks? >> that did occur. >> your report found that the term campaign planned "a press strategy, communication medica, and messaging based on that russian assistance? >> i'm not familiar with that. >> that leg which comes from volume 1, page 54. apart from the russians wanting to help trump wind, several of the individuals associated with trump campaign were also trying to make money during the trump campaign and transition.
is that correct? >> that's true. >> trying to >> that is accurate. >> michael flynn was trying to make money from turkey? >> true. >> donald trump was trying to make millions from a real estate deal in moscow? >> to the extent you are talking about the hotel in moscow? >> yes. >> yes. >> when your investigation look into these matters, numerous trump associates lied to her team. the grand jury , and to congress. >> in number of persons we interviewed, and in our investigation, it turns out did live. >> mike flynn lied? >> he was convicted of lying, yes. >> george papadopoulos was convicted of lying? >> true. >> paul manafort was convicted of lying? >> true. >> paul manafort went so far as to encourage other people to lie? >> that is accurate. >> deputy, rick gates, lied? >> that's accurate. >> michael cohen, the president's lawyer, was indicted for lying? >> true. >> he lied to stay on message
with the present? >> allegedly, by end. >> and when donald trump called her investigation a witch hunt, that was also false, was it not? >> i would like to think so, yes. >> your investigation is not a witch hunt? >> it is not a witch hunt. >> when he said the russian interference was a hoax, that was false, wasn't it? >> true. >> when he said it publicly, that it was false? >> he did say publicly that it was false, yes. >> and when he told it to putin, that was false too, wasn't it connect >> that, i'm not familiar with >> when the president said he had no business dealings with russia, that was false, wasn't it? >> i'm not going to go into the details of the report along those lines. >> when the president said he has no business dealings with russia, in fact, he was seeking to build a trump tower in moscow, was he not? >> i think there was some question about when this was accomplished. >> would you consider a billion-dollar deal to build a
tower in moscow to be business dealings? wouldn't you, director mueller? >> absolutely. >> in short, your investigation found evidence that russia wanted to help trump win the election, right? >> i think generally that would be accurate. >> russia informed campaign officials of that? >> i'm not certain to watch the conversations you are referring to. >> intermediaries informed papadopoulos he could help with the anonymous release of stolen emails? >> accurate. >> russia committed federal crimes in order to help donald trump? >> when you were talking about the computer crimes, absolutely. >> the trump campaign officials built their strategy, their messaging strategy, around those stolen documents? >> generally that is true. >> and then they lied to cover it up? >> generally, that is true. >> thank you, dominic. mr. nunes connect >> thank you. welcome, director.
as a former fbi director, he would agree that the fbi is the world's most capable law enforcement agency? >> i would say, yes. >> the fbi claims the counterintelligence investigation of the trump campaign began on july 31st, 2016. in fact, it began before that. in june 2016, before the investigation officially opened, trump campaign associates carter page and stephen miller, a current trump advisor, were invited to attend a symposium at cambridge university in july, 2016. your office, however, did not investigate who was responsible for inviting these trump associates to this symposium. your investigators also failed to interview stephen trickey, an american citizen who helped organize the event and invited carter page to it. is that correct? >> can you repeat the question? >> whether or not you
interviewed stephen schrage. >> those areas, i'm going to stay away from. >> the first trump associates be miss katie was general flynn. many of the allegations against him stem from false media reports that he had an affair with a cambridge academic, and that she was a russian spy. some of these allegations were made public in the 2017 article written by british intelligence historian, christopher andrew. your report fails to reveal how or why and you his collaborator, richard dear love, former head of britain's mi6, spread these allegations. and he failed to interview svetlana lokhova about these matters. is that correct? >> i won't get into these matters you refer to. >> you had a team of 19 lawyers, 40 agents, and an unlimited budget. correct, mr. mueller?
>> i would not say we had an unlimited budget. >> let's continue with the ongoing -- the opening of the investigation, supposedly on july 31st, 2016. the investigation was not based on intelligence, but a rumor conveyed by alexander downer. on volume 1, page 89, your report describes him blandly as a representative of a foreign government. but he was actually a long-time australian politician. not a military or intelligence official. who had previously arranged a $25 million donation to the clinton foundation and has previous ties to dear love. so downer conveys a rumor he supposedly heard about a conversation between papadopoulos and joseph mifsud. james comey has publicly called mifsud a russian agent. yet, your report does not refer to mifsud as a russian agent. mifsud has extensive contacts with russian governments and the
fbi. for example, there is a recent photo of him standing next to boris johnson, the new prime minister of great britain. what we are trying to figure out here, mr. mueller, is if our nato allies or boris johnson have been compromised. so we are trying to figure out -- comey says mifsud is a russian agent, you do not. so do you stand by what's in the report? >> i stand by that which is in the report. not so necessarily with that which is not in the report. >> i want to return to mr. downer. he denies that papadopoulos mentioned anything to him about hillary clinton's emails and in fact mifsud denies mentioning that to papadopoulos. he denies that papadopoulos mentioned anything to him about hillary clinton's emails. in fact, mifsud denies mentioning them to papadopoulos in the first place. so how does the fbi know to continually ask papadopoulos
about clinton's emails for the rest of 2016? even more strangely, your sentencing memo on papadopoulos names him for hindering the fbi ability to potentially detain or arrest mifsud, but the truth is mifsud waltzed in and out of the united states in december 2016. the u.s. media could find him, the italian press found him, and he is a supposed russian agent at the epicenter of the purported collusion conspiracy. he's the guy who knows about hillary clinton's emails and that the russians have them. but the fbi failed to question him for half a year after officially opening the investigation. and then, according to claim one, page 193 of your report, once mifsud finally was questioned he made false statements to the fbi. but you declined to charge him. is that correct?
you did not indict mr. mifsud? >> i won't speak to the hearings done makes use of happenings is reticular them. speak of the time of the gentleman has expired. >> pardon? >> you did not indict mr. mifsud? true. because mr. himes? >> director mueller, thank you for your lifetime of service to this country and thank you for your perseverance and patience today. director, your report opens with two statements of remarkable clarity and power. the first statement is one that is, as of today, not acknowledged by the president of the united states. that is, "the russian government interviewed in the 2016 presidential election in a sweeping and systematic fashion on. the second remains controversial among members of this body, same page on your report. "the russian government perceived it would benefit of a trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome." you have that right? >> i believe so.
speak of this attack on our democracy, as you said, involve two operations. first, a social media disinformation campaign. this was a targeted campaign to spread false information on places like twitter and facebook. is that correct? because that's correct. >> facebook estimated prereport of the russian fake images reached 126 million people. is that correct? >> i believe that is the sum we recorded. >> director, who did the russian social media campaign ultimately intended benefit? hillary clinton or donald trump? >> donald trump. >> the second operation -- >> i can say donald trump him but there were instances where hillary clinton was subject to much the same behavior. >> the second was a scheme, will be called the hack and dump to steal and release hundreds of thousands of emails from the democratic party and the clinton campaign. is that a fair summary? >> that is. >> did your investigations find that the releases of the hacked emails were strategically timed
to maximize impact on the election? >> i would have to refer you to a report on that question. >> page 36. i quote, "the release of the documents were designed in time to interfere with the 2016 u.s. presidential election." mr. mueller, which residential candidate was russia's hacking and dumping operation designed to benefit? hillary clinton or donald trump? >> mr. trump. >> mr. mueller, is it possible that this sweeping and systematic effort by russia actually had an effect on outcome of the presidential election? >> those issues have been investigated by other entities. >> 126 million facebook impressions, fake rallies, attacks on hillary clinton's health. would you rule out that it might have had some effect on the election? >> i'm not going to speculate. >> mr. mueller, your report describes a third avenue of attempted russian interference. that is the numerous links and contacts between the trump campaign and individuals tied to the russian government. is that correct?
>> could you repeat that question? >> we will report describes what is called a third avenue of russian interference. that is the links and contacts between the trump campaign and individuals tied to the russian government. >> yes. >> let's bring up slide one, which is about george papadopoulos. it reads, "on may 6th, 2016, 10 days after that meeting with mifsud, much discussed today, papadopoulos suggested to a representative of the foreign government that the trump campaign had received indications from the russian government that it could assist the campaign for the anonymous release of information that would be damaging to hillary clinton." director, that is exactly what happened two months later, is it not? >> i can speak to the expert you have on the screen as being accurate from the report. but not the second half of your question. >> well, the second half is reported pages of the report pair that on july 22nd,
through wikileaks, thousands of the email stolen by the russian government appeared. correct? that's on page 6 of the report. this is the wikileaks posting of those emails. >> i can't find it quickly, but please continue. >> okay. just to be clear, before the public or the fbi ever knew, the russians previewed for a trump campaign official, george papadopoulos, that they had stolen emails that they could release anonymously to help donald trump and hurt hillary clinton. is that correct? >> i'm not going to speak to that. >> director, rather than report this contact with joseph mifsud and the notion that there was dirt, that the campaign could use -- rather than report that to the fbi, that i think most of my constituents would expect an individual to do, papadopoulos in fact lied about his russian contacts to you. is that not correct? >> that's true.
>> we have an election coming up in 2020, director. if a campaign receives an offer of dirt from a foreign individual or government, generally speaking, should that campaign report those contacts? >> should be. can be, depending on the circumstances of crime. >> i will you'll back the balance of my time >> mr. conaway? >> thank you. mr. mueller, did anyone ask you to exclude anything from your report that you felt should have been in the report? >> i don't think so, but it's not a small report. >> if somebody asked you specifically to exclude something? >> not that i can recall. >> i yield the balance of my time. thank you. >> i think the gentleman for yielding pretty good afternoon, director mueller. in your may 29th press conference, again, in her opening remarks this morning, you make it pretty clear you want the special counsel reporto speak for itself.
you said that your press conference that it was the offices final position, and "we will not comment on any other conclusions or hypotheticals about the president." he spent the last few hours of your life, from democrats trying to get you to answer all kinds of hypotheticals about the president, and i expect it may continue for the next few hours of your life. i think you have stayed pretty much true to what your intent and desire was. but i guess, regardless of the outcome of the special counsel office is closed. it has no continuing jurisdiction or authority. what would be you or or jurisdiction for adding new conclusions? >> as to the latter, i don't know or expect changes in conclusions that we included in our report. >> to that point, you just one of the issues that i needed to, which was from your testimony this morning. some construed it as a change to
the written report. you talked about the exchange that you had with congressman lieu. i wrote it down a little different, i want to ask you about it so the director is perfectly clear. i recorded that he ask you, "the reason you did not indict donald trump's because of the olc opinion stating you cannot indict a sitting president," to which he responded, "that is correct." that respond is inconsistent. i think you will agree with your written report. i want to be clear that it's not your intent to change your report. it's your intent to clarify the record to that. >> as i started today, this afternoon, and added either a footnote or an end note, what i wanted to clarify is the fact that we did not make any determination with regard to culpability. we did not start that process down the road. >> terrific. thank you for clarifying the record. the stated purpose of your appointment as special counsel
was to ensure a full and thorough investigation of the russian government efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. as part of that full and thorough investigation, what determination to the special counsel office make about whether the steele dossier was part of the russian government efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election? >> again, when it comes to mr. steele, i defer to the department of justice. >> first of all, director, i very much agree with your determination that russia's efforts were sweeping and systematic. i think it should concern every american. that's why i want to know just how sweeping and systematic those efforts were. i want to find out if russia interfered with our election by providing false information through sources to christopher steele about a trump conspiracy that you determined did not exist. >> again, i'm not going to discuss the issues with regard to mr. steele. in terms of a portrayal of
conspiracies, we return two indictments in the computer crimes arena. one, gru, and another, active measures. in which we lay out in excruciating detail what occurred. in those two rather large conspiracies. >> i agree with respect to that. why this is important, an application and through renewal applications were submitted by the united states government to spy or surveilled trump campaign carter page, and on all occasio, the government submitted the steele dossier as a central piece of evidence with respect to that. the basic premise of the dossier, as you know, was that there was a well-developed conspiracy of cooperation between the trump campaign on the russian government. but the special counsel investigation didn't establish any conspiracy. correct? >> what i can tell you is the events you are characterizing
here, now, is part of another matter that is being handled by the department of justice. >> but you did not establish any conspiracy, much less a well-developed one? >> again, i pass on answering that question. >> the special counsel did not charge carter page or anything, correct? >> the special counsel did not. >> my time is expired. i yield back. >> miss sewall? >> i would like to direct your attention to the 2016 trump tower meeting. slide two, which should be on the screen now, as part of an email chain between don jr. -- dumb trump jr. and a publicist representing the son of a russian oligarch. the email exchange ultimately led to the now infamous june 9th, 2016 meeting the email from the publicist to donald trump jr. reads, in part, "the crown prosecutor of russia offered to provide the trump campaign with some official documents and information that
would incriminate hillary and her dealings with russia, and as a part of russia and her government 'support of mr. trump. in this email, donald trump jr. is being told that the russian government wants to pass along information which would hurt hillary clinton and help donald trump." is that correct? >> that's correct. >> trump jr.'s response to that email is slide three. he said, and i quote, "if it's what you say, i love it. especially later in the summer." then donald jr. invited senior campaign officials paul manafort and jared kushner to the meeting. did he not? >> he did. >> this email exchange is evidence of an offer of a legal assistance, is it not? >> i cannot adopt that characterization. >> but isn't it against the law for a presidential campaign to accept anything of value from a foreign government? >> generally speaking, yes, but generally the cases are unique. >> you say on page 184, volume
one, that the federal campaign finance law broadly prohibits foreign nationals for making contributions, et cetera. and then you say that foreign nationals may not make a contribution or donation of money or anything of value. it says clearly in the report itself. >> thank you. >> let's turn to what actually happened at the meeting. one donald trump jr. and the others got to the june 9th meeting, they realized the russn delegation didn't have the promised "dirt." in fact, they got upset about that. they not? >> generally, yes. >> you say in volume 1, page 118, that trump jr. asked, "what are we doing here? what to they have on clinton?" and during the meeting, kushner actually texted manna for palm enforcing was a waste of time. correct? >> i believe it's in the report along the lines you specify. >> to be clear, top campaign
officials learned that they wanted to help donald trump's campaign by giving him dirt on his opponents. he said he loved it. then officials held a meeting with the russians to try and get that rationale. but they were disappointed because the dirt wasn't as good as they hoped. did anyone to her knowledge of the trump campaign ever tell the fbi of this offer? >> i don't believe so. >> did donald trump jr. tell the fbi they received an offer of help from the russians? >> that's about all. >> if they had reported it to the fbi or anyone in that campaign, during the course of your 2-year investigation, you would have been covered such a -- >> i would hope, yes. >> sir, is it not the responsibility of political campaigns to inform the fbi if they receive information from a foreign government? >> i would think this is
something they should do. >> they sought to hide the existence of the june 19th meeting for over a year. is that not correct? >> on a general care duration, if you are referring to later -- an initiative that flowed from the media, then -- >> what i'm suggesting is you said on volume two, page five, on several occasions the president directed aides not to publicly disclose the email setting up the june 19 meeting. >> that's accurate. >> thanks. sarah, given this illegal assistance by russians, you chose, even given that, you did not charge donald trump jr. or any of the other senior officials with conspiracy. is that right? >> correct. when you are talking about -- if you are talking about other individuals, you are talking about the attendees? >> that's right. so, mr. mueller, even though you did not charge them with conspiracy, don't you think the american people would be
concerned that these three senior campaign officials sought a foreign adversaries help to win elections? don't you think reporting that is important? that i don't set a precedent for future elections? >> i can't accept that characterization. >> well, listen -- i think it seems like a portrayal of american values to me, sir. that someone, if not being criminal, it's definitely in ethical and wrong. everything we i would think he would not want to set a precedent that they would divulge information of the foreign governments. thank you, sir. >> mr. turner? >> mr. mueller, i have your opening statement. in the beginning of your opening statement, you indicate that pursuant to justice department regulations, that you submitted a confidential report to the attorney general at the conclusion of the investigation. what i would like you to confirm is, the report that you did, that is the subject matter of this hearing, was to the attorney general. >> yes.
>> you also state in this opening statement that you threw overboard the word "collusion" because not a legal term. he would not conclude, because collusion was not a legal term. >> it depends on how you want to use the word. in the general parlance, people can think of it that way. but if you're talking about in the criminal statute arena, you cannot. because it's much more accurately described as conspiracy. >> are in your words, it's not a legal term so you didn't put in your collusion. correct i want to talk about your powers and authorities. the attorney general and the appointment order give you powers and authorities that reside with the attorney genera attorney general. the attorney general has no ability to keep powers and authority greater than the powers and authority of the attorney general. correct? >> i don't believe -- yeah, i think that is correct. >> mr. mueller, i want to focus on one word in your report. it's second to last word in the
report. it's "exonerate." the report states, "accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it does not exonerate him." in the judiciary hearing, and your prior testimony, you have already agreed with mr. ratcliffe that "exonerate" is not a legal term. that there is not a legal test for the spirit so i haven't a question for you, mr. mueller. mr. mueller, does the attorney general have the power or authority to exonerate? this where the attorney general gets its power. in the annotated cases of these, which we have searched. leaving whittier law school, because i went to case western but i thought maybe her law school teaches it differently. we got the criminal law textbook from your law school. mr. mueller, nowhere in these -- because we had them scanned -- is there a process or description on "exonerate." there is no office of exoneration at the attorney general's office, there is no certificate at the bottom of his desk. mr. mueller, would you agree with me that the attorney general does not have
the power to exonerate? >> i'm going to pass on that. >> why? >> because it embryos us in a legal discussion and i'm not prepared to deal with legal discussions in that arena. >> mr. mueller, he would not disagree with me when i say that there is no place that the attorney general has the power to exonerate, and he has not been given that authority. >> again, i take your question. >> great. well, the one thing i guess is that the attorney general probably knows he cannot exonerate either. that's the part the kind of confuses me. if the attorney general doesn't have the power to exonerate, then you don't have the power to exonerate, and i believe he knows he doesn't have the power to exonerate. this is the part i don't understand. to the attorney general, and the attorney general does not have the power to exonerate and he knows that you did not have that power. you don't have to tell him that you are not exonerating the president. he knows this already.
that changes the context of the report. >> no, we included it in the report for exec about reason. he may not know it, and he should know it. >> so you believe the attorney bill barr belief somewhere the hallways of the deferment of justice, there is an office of exoneration? >> that's not what i said. >> i believe he knows and i don't believe you put that in there for mr. barr. i believe you put that in there for exactly what i'm going to discuss next, and that is, to "the washington post" yesterday, when speaking of your report, the article said that trump could not be exonerated of trying to obstruct the investigation itself. trump could not be exonerated. that statement is correct, isn't it? and that no one can be exonerated? the reporter wrote this -- this reporter can't be exonerated. mr. mueller, you can't be exonerated. in fact, in our criminal justice system, there is no power or authority to exonerate. this is my concern, mr. mueller. this is the headline on all of the news channels while you were testifying today. "mueller: trump was not
exonerated." mr. mueller, what you know is this can't say, "mueller exonerated trump." because you don't have the power or authority to exonerate him. you have no more power to declare him exonerated then you have to declare him anderson cooper. so the problem i have here, since there is no one in the criminal justice system that has that power, the president pardons that she doesn't exonerate. courts and juries don't. they don't even declare exoneration. the statement about exoneration is misleading, and it's meaningless. it colors this investigation. one word out of the entire portion of your report, and it's a meaningless word that has no legal meaning, and it has colored your entire -- >> the time of the gentleman has expired. mr. carson? >> thank you, chairman. thank you, director mueller, for your years of service to our country. i want to look more closely, sir, at the trump campaign chairman paul manafort. an individual who i believe betrayed our country, who lied
to a grand jury, who tampered with witnesses, and who repeatedly tried to use his position with the trump campaign to make more money. let's focus on the betrayal and greed. your investigation, sir, found a number of troubling contacts between mr. manafort and russian individuals during and after the campaign. is that right, sir? >> correct. >> in addition to that you know if meaning just discussed, manafort also met several times with a man named konstantin kilimnik. who the fbi assessed to have ties with russian intel agencies. is that right, sir? >> correct. >> infect comment esther manafort didn't just meet with him, he shared private trump campaign polling information with this man linked to russian intelligence is that correct? >> that is correct. >> in turn, the information wasn't shared with a rush a russian oligarch tied to vladimir putin. is that right, sir? >> allegedly. >> director mueller, meeting with him wasn't enough. sharing internal polling information wasn't enough.
mr. manafort went so far as to offer this russian oligarch tied to putin a private briefing on the campaign. is that right, sir? >> yes, sir. >> finally, mr. manafort discussed internal campaign strategy on four battleground states -- michigan, wisconsin, pennsylvania, and minnesota. but the russian intelligence intelligence-linked in visual. did not, sir? >> that is reflected in the report, the items you listed previously paid >> director mueller, based on your decades and years of experience at the u agree, sir, that it creates a national security risk when a presidential campaign chairman shares private polling information on the american people? private political strategy related to winning the votes of the market people, and private american battleground state information with the the for an adversary? >> is that the question, sir? >> yes, sir. >> i'm not going to speck of it along those lines. to the extent that it's within the lines of the report, than i
it. i think beyond that, it's not part of that which i would support. >> i think it does, sir. i think it shows an infuriating lack of patriotism from the very people seeking the highest office in the land. director mueller, manda fort didn't this information for nothing. did he, sir? >> i can't answer that question without knowing more about the question. >> it's clear he hoped to be paid back the money he was owed by it russian or ukrainian oligarchs in return for the passage of private campaign information. >> that is true. >> director mueller, as my colleague will discuss later, greed corrupts. would you agree, sir, that the sharing of private campaign information in exchange for money represents a particular kind of corruption? one that presents a national security risk to our country, sir? >> i'm not going to comment on that. i don't have the arena truly
opined. >> it would you agree the contacts with russians close to flooding an end repeat jeanette 's efforts to exchange private information on americans money, led to blackmail by the russians >> i think so. that would be the case. >> would you agree, sir, these acts demonstrated a betrayal of the democratic values of our country, that it rests on? >> i can't agree with that. not that it's not true, but i cannot agree with it. >> yes, sir. >> director mueller, i can tell you in my years of experience as a law-enforcement officer and as a member of congress, fortunate to serve on the intel committee, i know enough to say yes, treating political secrets for money with a foreign adversary can corrupt it. and it can leave you open to blackmail. it certainly represents a betrayal of the values underpinning our democracy. i want to thank you for your service again, director mueller. we appreciate for coming today. i yield back, chairman.
>> dr. wenstrup? >> thank you for being here today. is it correct to say that there was no evidence they were involved in the theft or publication of clinton campaign-related emails? >> can you repeat the question? >> is it accurate to say you are investigation found no evidence that members of the trump campaign were involved in the theft or publication of the clinton campaign-related emails emails? >> i don't know. well... >> volume 1, page 5, the investigation did not establish that members of the term campaign conspired or coordinated with the russian government in its election interference activities. so, it would therefore be inaccurate based on this to describe that finding as open to doubt.
that finding being that the trump campaign was involved with theft or publication of the clinton campaign emails. are you following that? >> i do believe i am following it, but that portion or that matter does not fall within our jurisdiction. her fault that are investigatio investigation. >> basically report says volume 1, page 5, i just want to be clear that "open to doubt" is how the committee democrats find this in their minority views of. it flies in the face of what you have in your report. is it accurate also to say that the investigation found no documentary evidence, that george papadopoulos told anyone affiliated with the trump campaign about claims that the russians had dirt on candidate clinton? >> let me turn that over to mr. zebley. >> i would like to ask you, sir. this is your report. that's what i'm basing this on.
>> then could you repeat the question for me again? >> is it accurate to say the investigation found no documentary evidence that george papadopoulos told anyone affiliated with the trump campaign about joseph mifsud's claims that the russians had dirt on candidate clinton? >> i believe, it appearing in the report, that it's accurate. >> in the reported says, "no documentary evidence that papadopoulos shared this information with the campaign." it is therefore inaccurate to conclude that by the time of the june 9th, 2016 trump tower meeting, "the campaign was likely already on notice via george papadopoulos' contact with russian agents that russia, in fact, had damaging information on trump's opponent." would you say that is inaccurate, to say it's likely already -- >> i direct you to the report. >> i appreciate that, because the democrats jumped to this
incorrect conclusion in their minority views. again, which contradicts what you have in your report. i'm concerned about a number of statements i would like you to clarify. a number of democrats have made some statements that i have concerns with, and maybe you can clear them up. this committee said president trump was a russian agent. after your report was publicly released. that seem it is not supported by your report, correct? >> that is accurate. it's not supported. >> multiple democrat members have asserted that paul manafort melt dominic met with julian sanchez in 2016 before wikileaks released emails implying that he concluded with assange. before i was done i would assume that means you found no evidence of this meeting. is that assumption correct? >> i'm not sure i agree with that assumption. >> but you make no mention of it in your report. would you agree with that? >> yes, i would agree with that. >> mr. mueller, does your report
contain ever get dominic and evidence that mr. trump was enrolled as a member of this committee once the claimed? >> what i can speak to is information of the special counsel. i think that's accurate as far as that goes. >> thank you, i appreciate that. did you ask the department of justice to expand the scope of the special counsel's mandate related to august 2nd, 20 17, or august 27th, 2017 scoping memoranda? >> without looking at the memoranda, i cannot answer that. >> let me ask you, did you ever make a request to expand your office mandate at all? >> generally yes. >> was that every denied? >> i'm going to have -- i will not speak to it. he goes into internal deliberations. >> i'm just turning to understand processes. expanding the scope coming from the acting attorney general,
rosenstein, or does it come from you? or can it come from either? >> i won't discuss any other alternatives. >> thank you, mr. mueller. >> ms. speier? >> thank you, mr. chairman. i think you're the greatest patriot in this room today and i want to thank you for being here. >> thank you. >> you said in your report -- and i'm going to quibble with your words -- that the russian intervention was "sweeping and systematic." i would quibble with that because i don't think it was just an intervention. i think it was an invasion. and i don't think it was just "sweeping and systematic," i think it was sinister and scheming. having said that, one of my colleagues earlier here referred to this russian intervention as a hoax. i would like to get your comment on that.
on page 26 of your report, you talk about the internet research agency. how tens of millions of u.s. persons became engaged with the post that they made, that there were some 80,000 posts on facebook, that facebook itself admitted that 126 million people have probably seen the posts that were put out by the internet research agency, that they have 3800 twitter accounts and have designed more than 175,000 tweets, that probably reach 1.4 million people. the internet research agency was spending about $1.25 million a month on all of this social media in the united states and what i would call "an invasion" in our country. would you agree that it was not a hoax? that the russians were engaged
in trying to impact our election? >> absolutely. that was not a hoax. the indictments, two different ones, were substantial. in their scope, using that "scope" word again. to a certain extent, that aspect of our investigation that has and would have long-term damage the united states, that we need to move quickly to address. >> think of it. i would like to drill down on that a little bit more. the internet research agency actually started in 2014 by sending over staff as tourists, i guess, to start looking at where they wanted to engage. there are many that suggest -- i'm interested in your opinion -- as to whether or not russia is presently, in the united states, looking for ways to impact the 2020 election.
>> i can't speak to that. that would be in levels of classification. >> all right. let me ask you this -- often times when we engage in these hearings, we forget the forest for the trees. you have a very large report here, of over 400 pages. most americans have not read it. we have read it. actually, the fbi director yesterday said he hadn't read it, which was a little discouraging. but on behalf of the american people, i will give you a minute and 39 seconds to tell the american people what you would like them to glean from this report. >> we spent substantial time believing we are giving a message to those who come after us. it also is a signal, a flag, to those of us who have some responsibility in this area to exercise those responsibilities
swiftly and don't let this problem continue to linger as it has over so many years. >> all right. you didn't take the whole amount of time, so i'm going to yield the rest of my time to the chairman. >> i thank you for yielding. director mueller, i wanted to ask you about conspiracy. generally, a conspiracy requires an offer of something illegal, acceptance of that offer and overt act and furtherance of it, is that correct? >> correct. >> and don jr. was made aware that the russians were offering dirt on his opponent, correct? >> i don't know that for sure, but one would assume given his presence at the meeting. >> and when you say you would love to get that help, that would constitute acceptance of the offer? >> it's a wide open request. >> and it would certainly be evidence of acceptance if you say when somebody offers you something illegal, you say i love it, that would be considered evidence of
acceptance. >> i would stay away from addressing one particular or two particular situations. >> this particular situation, i'll have to continue in a bit. now yield to mr. stewart. >> mr. mueller, it's been a long day. thank you for being here. i do have a series of important questions for you. before do i that, i want to reemphasize something my friend, mr. turner, has said. i have heard people state no person is above the law. many times recently they have not even the president which i think is blazingly obvious to most of us. >> i'm having trouble hearing you. >> is this better stphr. >> yes. >> there's another principle we have to defend and that is the presumption of innocence. i'm sure you agree with this principle though the way your office phrased some parts of your report, it does make me wonder, i have to be honest with
you. for going on three years innocent people have been accused of very serious crimes, including treason. accusations made even here today. they have had their lives disrupted and in some cases destroyed by false accusations for which there is absolutely no basis other than some people desperately wish that it was so. but your report is clear. no evidence of conspiracy, no evidence of coordination. i believe we owe it to these people, who have been falsely accused, including the president and his family, to make that very clear. mr. mueller, the credibility of your report is based on integrity of how it is handled. there's something that i think bothers me and other americans. i'm holding a binder of 25 examples of leaks that occurred from the special counsel's office and those associated with you dating back to a few weeks after your inception and beginning of your work and continuing up to just a few months ago. all o