tv The Daily Briefing With Dana Perino FOX News July 24, 2019 11:00am-12:00pm PDT
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 of these, all of them, have
one thing in common. they were designed to weaken or embarrass the president, every sinle one. never was it leaked that you had found no evidence of collusion. never was it leaked that the steele dossier was a complete fantasy nor that it was funded by the hillary clinton campaign. mr. mueller, are you aware of anyone from your team having given advanced knowledge of the raid on roger stone's home to any person or the press including cnn? >> i'm not gonna talk about specifics. i will mention but talk for a moment about persons who have become involved in an investigation. and the understanding that in a lengthy thorough investigation, some persons will be under a cloud that they should not be under a cloud. and one of the reasons for emphasizing, as i have, the
speed of an investigation is that so those persons who are disrupted as a result of -- >> i appreciate that. do i have a seeries of question. you're right. it is a cloud. it's an unfair cloud for dozens of people. to my point, are you aware of anyone providing information to the media regarding the raid on roger stone's home including cnn? >> i'm not going to speak to that. >> did you send a letter to attorney general barr in which you claim the attorney general's memo with congress did not fully capture the context of your report. you stated earlier today that response was not authorized. did you make any effort to determine who leaked this confidential letter? >> no. i'm not certain. this is a letter march 27th? >> yes, sir. >> i'm not certain when it was publicized. i do not believe we would be responsible for the leaks. >> well -- >> i do believe that we have done a good job in assuring that no leaks occur.
>> we have 25 examples of where you did not do a good job. not you, sir. i'm not accusing you. but when your office did not do a good job protecting this information. one more example. do you know anyone who anonymously made claims to the press that attorney general barr's march 24th letter to congress had been misrepresented or misrepresented your basis of your report? >> what was the question? >> do you know who anonymously made claims to the press that attorney general barr's march 24th letter to congress had misrepresented the findings of your report? >> no. >> sir, given these examples, as well as others, you must have realized leaks were coming from someone associated with the special counsel's office. what i'd like to ask you -- >> i do not believe that. >> well, sir, this is your work. you're the only -- your office is the only one who had information regarding this. it had to come from your office. putting that aside, which leads me to my final question.
did you do anything about it? >> from the outset, we've under taken to make certain that we minimize the possibility of leaks. i think we were successful over the two years that we were in operation. >> well, i wish you'd been more successful, sir. i think it was disruptive to the american people. my time has expired. i yield back. >> mr. quigley? >> thank you, mr. chairman. director, thank you for being here. this, too, shall pass. earlier today and throughout the day, you have stated the policy that a seated president cannot be indicted. correct? >> right. >> upon questioning this morning, you were asked, could that -- could a president be indicted after their service, correct? >> yes. >> and your answer was that they could. >> they could. >> director, please speak into the microphone. >> i'm sorry, thanks you. they could. >> follow-up question that should be concerning is, what if a president serves beyond the statute of limitations?
>> i don't know the answer to that one. >> would it not indicate that if the statute of limitations on federal crimes such as this are five years, that a president who serves a second term is, therefore, under the policy, above the law? >> i'm not certain i would agree the conclusion. i'm not certain that i can see the possibilities that you suggest. >> but the statute doesn't toll, is that correct? >> i don't know specifically. >> it clearly doesn't. i just want -- as the american public is watching this and perhaps learning about many of these for the first time. we need to consider that and the other alternatives and all that we have. but i appreciate your response. earlier in questioning, someone mentioned that there was a question involving whether anyone in the trump political
world publicized the e-mails, whether or not that was the case. i just want to refer to volume 1, page 60, where we learned that trump junior publicly tweeted a link to the leak of stolen e-mails in october of 2016. are you familiar with that? >> i am. >> that would be a republishing of this information, would it not? >> i'm not certain i would agree with that. >> director pompeo assessed wikileaks at one point as a hostile intelligence service. given your law of enforcement experience and your knowledge of what wikileaks did here and what they do generally, would you assess that to be accurate? how would you assess what wikileaks does? >> absolutely. they are currently under indictment. >> would it be fair to describe,
you would agree with director pompeo, that's what he was when he said that, that it is a hostile agency, correct? >> yes. >> if we could put up slide 6. this just came out. i love wikileaks, october 10, 2016, donald trump. this wikileaks stuff is unbelievable. it tells you the inner heart. you gotta read it. donald trump october 12, 2016, this wikileaks is like a treasure trove. donald trump, i love weyeding those wikileaks. do any of those quotes disturb you, director? >> i'm not certain i would say -- >> how do you react to that? >> it's problematic, is an under statement, in terms of the way it's displayed and giving some,
i don't know, hope or some boost to what is and should be illegal activity. >> volume 1, page 59, donald trump jr. had direct communications with wikileaks during the campaign period. october 3, 2016, wikileaks sent another direct message to trump jr., asking guys to help disseminate a link alleging candidate clinton advocated a drone to attack julian assange. trump jr. responded back, quote, he had already done so. then question, this behavior, at the very least, disturb you? >> disturbing. also subject to investigation. >> could it be described as aiding cop fort to a hostile intelligence service, sir? >> i wouldn't characterize it with any specificity. >> i yield the balance to the chairman, please. >> not sure i can make good use
of 27 seconds, but director, i think you made it clear that you think it unethical, to put it politely, to tout a foreign service like wikileaks publishing stolen political documents to a presidential campaign? >> certainly calls for investigation. >> thank you, director. we're to go now to mr. crawford. after mr. crawford, we'll take a five or ten minute break. >> thank you, mr. chairman, mr. mueller for being here. peter strock concerned there's no big there there in the trump campaign investigation. did strck or anyone else tell you ten months into the consideration the fbi still had no case for collusion? >> who? can you repeat that? >> peter strck. >> there's a quote contributed to peter strck. he testified about his concern that there is, quote, no big
there there in the trump campaign investigation. did he or anyone else who worked on the fbi's investigation tell you that around ten months into the investigation the fbi still had no case for collusion? >> no. >> has the inspector general report correct that the text messages from peter strck and lisa page's phones were not retained after they left the special counsel's office? >> it depends on what you're talking about. the investigation into peter strck went on for a period of tim time. >> did you ask the department to authorize your office to speak to that? >> it goes to internal deliberations. >> the circumstances concerning the origin of investigation have
yet to be fully vetted. i'm glad attorney general barr and u.s. attorney durham are looking into this. i'd like to concede to the chairman. >> thank you for yielding. mr. mueller, i want to make sure you are aware of who fusion gps is. fusion gps is a political operations firm that was working directly for the hillary clinton campaign and the democrat national committee. they produced the dossier, so they paid steele, who then went out and got the dossier. i know you don't want to answer any dossier questions, so i'm not going there. but, your report mentions natalia65 times. she meets in the infamous trump tower meeting. you've heard many of the democrats refer to it today. the meeting was shorter than 20
minutes, i believe. is that correct? >> i think what we have in our report reflects it was about that length. >> so, do you know -- so fusion gps, the main actor of fusion gps, the president of the company, the owner of the company, glenn simpson, who's working for hillary clinton. glenn simpson, do you know how many times glenn simpson met with natalia svletskia? >> myself? no. >> would it surprise you the clinton campaign dirty ops arm met with natalia svletskia more times than the trump campaign did? >> this is an area that i'm not going to get into, that i addressed at the outset. >> did you ever interview glenn simpson? >> i'm going to pass on that. >> according to -- i'm gonna
change topics here. according to notes from the state department official katherine kavolak, christopher steele told her former russian intelligence head and putin adviser serkov were sources for the steele dossier. knowing these are not getting into whether these sources were real or not real, was there any concern that there could have been disinformation that was going from the kremlin into the clinton campaign and then being fed into the fbi? >> as i said before, this is an area that i cannot speak to. >> is that because it's not in the report or you because -- >> because of other proceedings. >> okay. when andrew weizman and ahmed joined your team, were you aware that bruce oher, department of
justice top official, directly briefed the dossier allegations to them in the summer of 2016? >> again, i'm not going to speak to that issue. >> okay. before you arrested george papadapoulous, he was given $10,000 in cash in israel. do you know who gave him that cash? >> again, that's outside of the questions. that should go to the fbi or the department. >> but it involved your investigation. >> it involved persons involved in my investigation. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> we will stand a recess for five or ten minutes. please, folks, remain in your seats. allow the director to exit the chamber. >> so there you have it, round one of the intelligence committee segment of today's robert mueller hearing.
it began with adam schiff, who has long said that there was a lot of very specific evidence of collusion between the trump team and the russian government. he began today by peppering that a little bit, saying that there was not a provable crime but that there was a clear demonstration of what he called disloyalty to country and he believes that is a very serious matter that he wanted to question him about. also mentioning devin nunes, who was a big part of all of this as well. he was sort of laying the ground work for the investigation beginning prior to where everybody thinks it began, in the summer of 2016 and george papadapoulous, he tried to back it up to june 2016 and an invitation that went out to carter paige and steven miller. then you heard him at the end there sort of talking about whether or not -- he wanted to make sure robert mueller was
aware that the dossier, in his mind, was paid for by the clinton campaign, and he wanted to sort of go through some of those characters, once simpson, natalia svletskia and make sure he was aware of them. it reminded me, bret, of your interview with jim comey, where he claimed to have not known who paid for the dossier either. >> it was interesting to see, obviously, bob mueller didn't answer those questions. he started the second hearing by correcting the record of the first hearing, clarifying earlier testimony with ted lieu saying he wanted to add this correction that his testimony. he said one thing wrong when asked by liu, who said, and i quote here, you didn't charge the president because of the olc, the office of legal counsel opinion. that is not the correct way to say it, said mueller. as we say in the report, i said at the opening, we did not reach a determination as to whether the president committed a crime. that was a key moment, a huge
difference. he emphasized the extent of russia's act sense against the u.s. devin nunes went down the road of origins and the early actions of the fbi and u.s. sources just to give you a sense about some of the reaction. rich lowery, editor of national review, had this to say. rarely has made for tv drama been such bad tv. harvard law professor major antagonist of president trump tweeted this. much as i hate to say it, this morning's hearing was a disaster, far from breathing life into his damning report, the tired of robert mueller sucked the life out of it. two different perspectives. let's bring in our panel. okay, trey, your thoughts? >> the questions are the same and the answers, unfortunately aren't any better.
no answer for the exoneration. when did it become the department justice's responsibility to exonerate people? absolutely no answer for how you can investigate russian interference on this day but nothing about the connection with fusion gps the day before or the day after. and no explanation for how much bias is acceptable. peter strzok, we're gonna kick you off but keep other people who manifest bias. his answers aren't better than they were this morning. >> what do you know about that? there are a lot of folks out there, particularly democrats, who think that's all hog wash, that the whole thinking about fusion gps or looking into the origins of the investigation is just a buzz word for republicans who think there's more to that part of the story. >> no, i think there's clearly messaging going on here. i think it's coming from the white house. it's basically to say, put the democrats on the defensive. clearly the president is the one who's on -- not literal trial, it's not impeachment, but he's
the one under the microscope. they want to say, no, no, no. not only are they going to do that here, but we're going to investigate the investigators, because they failed to look at what we want to look at. what they want to look at, not what's on the playing field today -- >> is it relevant to ask the question? if you're going to say michael flynn lied when he was questioned by the fbi and, you know, it's worth reminding everyone that that is what he was convicted of, lying, talking to the fbi, not of any collusion specifically. then why would it not all be relevant that professor msud, who lied to the fbi about his involvement, shouldn't also -- why did they give him a pass? doesn't that evoke curiosity at the very least for you? >> of course. martha, the answers are right in front of us. there was a counter intelligence investigation going on with a different set of rules. under that counter intelligence investigation, we don't know
exactly who mr. missoud was aligned with. was he a western agent? agent for the russians? we don't know. what we do know is what we should be discussing. instead we're off here in conspiracy theory land, which i think the where is republicans want to go. they say on that basis, there's all this out there, we're not sure. it's a little about gas lighting instead of paying attention to what's in front of you. >> the chairman of the intelligence committee in the house, adam schiff. for years has said the evidence of collusion is hiding in plain sight. he's done hundreds of interviews on cable television making those claims and somehow today thought that robert mueller would bring him the goods on the claims he and many other democrats have been making. and that is not what happened at all. in fact, the white house has been far more forthcoming with information than robert mueller has been today. he declined to answer 100 questions today. he's not willing to talk about information in the report. christopher steele is referred
to in the report in volume 2, yet when robert mueller was asked about him repeatedly, he said he can't talk about it, even though it is in the four corners of the report. moving forward, the question and message is today, this comes down to the presumption of innocence. robert mueller admitted today in the earlier first panel that they had a different standard because it was a special circumstance surrounding the presumption of innocence and guilt in this case. they prescribed tkpwoeult president trump. the exoneration which now robert mueller doesn't want to define. he said we didn't exonerate the president, but when he's asked about what that means, he won't say. he won't go into details. the president was not charged with a crime. he made the clarification that this was not because of the olc guidance. so essentially, if he was a private citizen, there wasn't enough evidence to charge him with a crime. so the question is, do we believe in the presumption of innocence or not? and that affects every american in the country. >> juan, back to you. there are two thins here. the substance of this report and
the optics of this day. as you look at both of those, what do you see today? >> i don't think this was effective in terms of, you remember we were talking about watch the movie if you didn't like the book. we didn't have time to read the book. i don't think this is compelling television. we could do a better job here on this panel. but i will say if you looked at the first panel, it was clear the democrats wanted to illicit evidence of obstruction. they made the case clearly the russians favored donald trump and thought to damage hillary clinton. if those points come through, they will feel like they made something of this day. >> this is supposed to be the special counsel's report to the attorney general. it is a prosecutor's report essentially. there's not an opposite side to it. there's not a court that is going to hear the opposing view of another side of the report, that's the whole point of what
we're discussing. this is supposed to be the other side. with due respect to juan, i have never seen an investigation where the investigators were not under investigation. every criminal trial i ever prosecuted, the defense puts the government investigators on trial and we allow it to happen because we consider it to be a part of the adversarial fact finding truth seeking process. you can't make a judgment about the prosecutor's version of events unless you kick the tires, unless you let it get tested. and that is the way you test it. you go into not only the motivation, but the conduct and the practices of the investigators. that's what happens in every case. >> let's go to ken starr, who's also standing by. ken, as you have watched this first chapter of the afternoon, house intelligence committee, what stands out? >> one of the thins has not been talked about is separation of powers and the power of the president.
so much that is, in fact, in the entire report, almost 450 pages, is a statement after statement after statement that the president was exercising his authority or at least he was moving in the direction of exercising his authority. and one of the great, i think, tragedies of this entire episode is that so much of the confidentiality, which is very important to the ordinarily operations of the presidency, have been revealed through the investigation. bob mueller chose to make these highly confidential conversations fully public. so i think there's a real unfortunate, i hope not long lasting erosion in the authority of the president to be able to count on being able to speak his mind, including, frankly, exercising his first amendment rights. to me, the most important thing that happened today was the confrontation on this issue of
exoneration. it's been mentioned a couple of times, but i would just add this exclamation point. it is not the job of the prosecutor to exonerate. and holding up the books, here are the law books. and asking, where in the department of justice is the office of exoneration? i know it was a very powerful point that essentially, and unfortunately, bob mueller abused his authority as special counsel going outside what a prosecutor is supposed to say and do. >> it raises that question about who wrote this report. you know? who really authored this report? because robert mueller, obviously his name is on it. but that theme of, we did not exonerate the president, i would love to know more about the origins of who wanted to put that in this report and make sure it was there. boy, it's been the substance of a lot of headlines coming out of this whole thing. >> that's exactly right.
and, in fact, there needs to be. if bob mueller were still an employee -- he's not -- of the justice department, i think there is probable cause to believe that there are violations in justice department policy that need to be examined. by who? the inspector general. i'm not suggesting it or recommending it. we have enough investigations under way. but i think this sort of speaks for itself. that in the manual of ethics and proper conduct and professional conduct, don't do that which you know, as a prosecutor, you don't have the authority to do. and you shouldn't say that, especially given the fact that you knew based upon bill barr's testimony that this report was going to, in fact, be made public and, therefore, be very injurious to the president of the united states. so an enormous hammer blow, which the president has obviously survived, and will continue to survive. but by using this tool of saying
we didn't exonerate him, that is just a terrible offense against our constitutional order. >> judge starr, thank you. catherine herridge is outside the hearing room. >> just a couple of pointious haven't touched on yet. we got some new information about the origin of the russia probe. it came in a statement that was read into the record by the ranking republican on the house intelligence committee, devin nunes. he said that it was not an official intelligence product from the five eyes. that's a coalition of nations including the u.s., canada, australia, new zealand and the u.k. but, in fact, it was a tip from a politician that led to the initiation of the fbi counter intelligence investigation. so that is new information. number two, when it comes to counter intelligence, this is very typical for a nation like
russia to collect against both sides. so the clinton campaign, as well as the trump campaign. so for robert mueller not to explore this really is in violation of what i would describe as counter intelligence 101, bret. >> all right. thank you, catherine. committee chairman adam schiff back in. the bob mueller hearing continues. >> director mueller, as a prosecutor, you would agree that if a witness or suspect lies or obstructs or tampers with witnesses or destroys evidence during an investigation, that generally that conduct can be used to show a consciousness of guilt? would you agree with that? >> yes. >> let's go through the different people associated with the trump campaign and this investigation who lied to you and other investigators to cover up their disloyal and unpatriotic conduct. if we could put exhibit 8 up. director mueller, i'm showing you campaign chairman paul
manafort, roger stone, deputy campaign manager rick gates, national security adviser michael flynn, donald trump's personal attorney michael cohen and foreign policy adviser george papadapoulous. these six individuals have each been charged, convicted or lied to your office or other investigators, is that right? >> i took a glance at mr. stone because he is -- he is in a different case in d.c. >> national security adviser flynn lied about discussions with russian ambassador related to sanctions, is that right? >> that's correct. >> michael cohen lied to this committee about trump tower moscow, is that correct? >> yes. >> george papadapoulous, the president's senior foreign policy adviser, lied to the fbi about his communications possession of dirt on hillary clinton, is that right? >> yes. >> the president's campaign
chairman lied about meetings that he had with someone with ties to russian intelligence, is that correct? >> that's true. >> your investigation was hampered by trump campaign officials use of encryption kphraoupb communications, is that right? >> we believe that to be the case. >> you also believe to be the case that your investigation was hampered by the delesion of electronic messages, is that correct? >> it would be, yes. generally any case would be if those kinds of communications are used. >> for example, you noted that deputy campaign manager rick gates, who shared internal campaign polling data with a person with ties to russian intelligence at the direction of manafort, that mr. gates deleted those communications on a daily basis, is that right? >> i'll take your word. i don't know specifically, but if it's in the report then i support it. >> that's right. volume 1, page 136.
>> other information was protected by attorney/khraoeupblt privilege. >> that is true. >> you do not know whether communications between donald trump and his personal attorneys jay sekalo, rudy giuliani or others discouraged witnesses from cooperating with the governme government, is that right? >> i'm not going to talk to that. >> you can't talk to whether or not pardons were dangled through the president's attorneys because the shield of attorney/client privilege? >> i'm not going to discuss that. >> did you want to interview donald trump jr.? >> i'm not going to discuss that. >> did you subpoena donald trump jr.? >> and i'm not going to discuss that. >> did you want to interview the president? >> yes. >> director mueller, on january 1, 2017, through march 2019, donald trump met with vladamir
putin in person six times, called him ten times and exchanged four letters with him. between that time period, how many times did you meet with donald trump? >> i'm not going to get into that. >> he did not meet with you in person, is that correct? >> he did not. >> as a result of lies, delesion of text messages, obstruction and witness tampering, is it fair to say that you were unable to fully assess the scope and scale of russian interference in the 2016 election and trump's role in that interference? >> i'm not certain i would adopt that characteration. maybe pieces of it that are accurate, but not in total. >> but you did state in volume 1, page 10, that the office believes it to be accurate and complete to the greatest extent possible given these identified gaps the office cannot rule out the possibility that the unavailable information would shed additional light.
is that right? >> that is correct. we don't know what we don't know. >> why is it so important that witnesses cooperate and tell the truth in an investigation like this? >> 'cause the testimony of the witnesses goes to the heart of just about any criminal case you have. >> thank you. mr. chairman, i yield back. thank you, director mueller. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. mueller, as special counsel, did you review documents related to the origin of the counter intelligence investigation into the trump campaign? >> on occasion. >> was the steele dossier one of though documents that was reviewed? >> i can't answer that. >> have you read the steele dossier? >> again, i'm not going to respond to that. >> you were tasked as special counsel to investigate whether there was collusion between russia and the trump campaign associates to interfere with the 2016 election and the fbi, we know, has relevant documents and information related to the opening of the ci investigation.
were you and your team permitted to access all of though documents? >> again, i can't get into that investigative, what we collected and what we're doing with investigation materials. >> let me ask it this way. was there any limitation in your access to documents related to the counter intelligence? >> that's such a broad question, i have trouble answering it. >> did special counsel's office under take any effort to investigate and verify or disprove allegations contained in the steele dossier? >> again, i can't respond. >> the reason i'm asking, for the american public that is watching, it's apparent that the steele dossier formed part of the basis to justify the fbi's counter intelligence investigation into russian interference in the 2016 election. as we know, it was used to obtain an fisa warrant on carter paige. this is why i'm asking these questions. did your office under take any
effort to identify deals, sources or subsources? >> again, the same answer. >> were these tasks referred to any other agencys? >> again, i can't speak to it. >> did your office consider whether the russian government used steele's sources to provide steele with disinformation? >> again, i can't speak to that. >> i understand. i'm asking these questions just for the record so thanks for your patience. >> shifting gears here. did any member of the special counsel's office, staff travel overseas as part of the investigation? >> yes, but i can't go further than that. >> i'm going to ask to which countries. >> i can't answer that. >> did they meet with foreign government officials? >> again, that's out of our band width. >> did they meet with foreign private citizens? >> again, same response. >> did they seek information about a u.s. citizen or any --
>> again, that's territory that i cannot go to. >> thank you for answering on the record. these are important questions for the american public and we are hopeful that the ig is able to answer these questions. i will yield the balance of my time to the ranking member. >> thank you for yielding. mr. mueller, we started off with joseph midsid at the center of this investigation. he appears in your report a dozen times or more. he really is the epicenter, at the origin of this. he supposedly knows about clinton's e-mails. you've seen on the screen democrats generally put up all the prosecutions that you made against trump campaign officials and others. but i'm struggling to understand
why you didn't indict joseph mistiff, who seems to be the man in the middle of all of this. >> i think you understand that you cannot get into any of the classified or law enforcement information without a rationale for doing it. i have said on, going to be able to say -- >> were you aware of kathleen kavolek's involvement, that she had met with with mission steele, the state department official? >> it's outside my jurisdiction. >> the carter paige fisa warrant was reupped three times. the last time it was reupped was under your watch. so you -- were you in the
approval process of that last time the carter paige warrant was -- >> i can't speak specifically about that warrant, but if you ask was i in the approval chain? the answer is no. >> okay. very helpful. thank you, mr. chairman. yield back. >> thank you, chairman. thank you, special counsel mueller, for your testimony and service to our country. donald trump over the years has surrounded himself with some very shady people, people that lied for him, people that covered up for him, people that helped him enrich himself. i want to talk specifically about one of those instances that's in your report. let's turn to the trump tower moscow project which you describe in your report as a, quote, highly lucrative deal to the trump organization, is that right? >> i would have to look at the quote from the report if you have it. >> sure. volume 2, page 135. it's described as highly
lucrative. >> okay, i have it. thank you, sir. >> yeah, no problem. your office prosecuted michael cohen, and michael cohen was donald trump's lawyer, for lying to this committee about several aspects of the trump organizations pursuit of the trump tower moscow deal, is that right? >> that's correct. >> according to your report, cohen lied to, quote, minimize links between the project and trump, unquote, and to, quote, stick to the party line, unquote, in order not to contradict trump's public message that no connection existed between trump and russia. is that right? >> yes. that's correct. >> now, when you're talking about the party line here, the party line in this case -- >> if i can interject. i should have said at the
outset, if it was in the report, consequently, i do believe it to be true. >> thank you. the party line in this case was that the deal ended in january 2016. in other words, they were saying the deal ended in 2016 before the republican primaries. in truth though, the deal extended to june 2016 when donald trump was already the presumptive nominee, is that correct? >> that's correct. >> the party line was also that cohen discussed the deal with trump only three times when in truth, they discussed it multiple times. is that right? >> also true and the basis for -- part of the basis for the plea that he entered for lying to this enty. >> thank you. and thank you for prosecuting that. >> party line was also that cohen and trump never discussed traveling to russia during the campaign when, in truth, they did discuss it, is that right?
>> that's accurate. >> and the party line was that cohen never received a response from the kremlin to his inquiries about the trump tower moscow deal. in fact, cohen not only received a response from the kremlin to his e-mail, but all had a lengthy conversation with a kremlin representative who had a detailed understanding of the project, is that right? >> if it's in the report, that is accurate, that piece of report. >> you had candidate trump at the time saying he had no business dealings with russia. his lawyer, who was lying about it, and then the kremlin, who during that time was talking to president trump's lawyer about the deal, is that right? >> i can't adopt your characterization. >> not only was cohen lying on trump's behalf, but so was the kremlin. on august 30, 2017, two days after cohen submitted a false statement claiming that he never received a response to his
e-mail to the kremlin, vladamir putin's press secretary told reporters that the kremlin left the e-mail unanswered. that statement by putin's press secretary was false, wasn't it? >> i can't speak to that. >> although it was widely reported in the press. >> again, i can't speak to that, particularly if it was dependent upon media sources. >> but it was consistent with the lie that cohen had made to the committee, is that right? >> i'm not certain i could go that far. >> so cohen, president trump and the kremlin were all telling the same lie? >> i defer to you on that. i can't get into the details. >> special counsel mueller, i want to ask you something that's very important to the nation. did your investigation evaluate whether or not president trump could be vulnerable to blackmail by the russians because the kremlin knew that trump and his associates lied about connections to russia related to the trump tower deal?
>> i can't speak to that. >> i yield back, chairman. >> thank you, mr. chairman. director mueller, you've been asked many times this afternoon about collusion, obstruction of justice and impeachment and the steele dossier. i don't think your answers are going to change if i ask you about those questions. so i'm going to ask about a couple of press stories. a lot of what the american people have received about this have been on press stories. some of that has been wrong. some of those press stories have been accurate. april 13, 2018, mcclatchy reported that you had evidence michael cohen made a secret trip to prague during the 2016 presidential election. i think he told one of the committees here in congress that was incorrect. is that story true? >> i can't go into it. >> got you. on october 31, 2016, slate
published a report suggesting that a server at trump tower was secretly communicating with russia's alpha bank and i quote, akin to what criminal syndicates do. do you know if that story is true? >> do not. do not know whether it's true. >> so did you not investigate these allegations which are suggestive of potential trump/russia? >> i believe not true doesn't mean it would not be investigated. it may well have been investigated although i believe at this point it's not true. >> thank you. as a former cia officer, i want to focus on something i think both sides of the political aisle can agree on. that is how do we prevent russian intelligence and other adversaries from doing this again. after overseeing counter intelligence operations for 12 years as fbi director and then investigating what the russians have done in the 2016 election, you've seen tactics, techniques and results of russian
intelligence operations. our committee made a recommendation that the fbi should improve its victim notification process when a person, entity or campaign has fallen victim to active measures of tact. would you agree with this? >> it sounds like a worth while endeavor. i will tell you though that the ability of intelligence agencies who work together in this is perhaps more important than that. i'm not that familiar with legislation, but whatever legislation would encourage us working together. fbi, cia and the rest, it should be pursued aggressively, early. >> who do you think should be responsibility within the federal government to counter disinformation? >> i'm no longer with the federal government. >> but you've had a long storied
career. i don't think there's anybody who better understands the threat that we are facing than you. do you have an opinion as a former fbi officer? >> as to? >> as to who should be coordinating points within the federal government on how to deal with this? >> i don't want to wade in those waters. >> good copy. one of the most striking things in your report is that the internet research agency not only under took a social media campaign that you asked, but they were able to organize political rallies after the election. our committee issued a report and insight saying that russian active measures are growing with frequency and intensity, and including their expanded use of groups such as the ira, and these groups pose a significant threat to the united states and our allies in upcoming elections. would you agree with that? >> yes. in fact, one of the other areas
that we have to look at, many more countries are developing capability to replicate what the russians have done. >> you eluded to making sure the elements of the federal government should be working together. do you have a suggestion on a strategy to do that to counter this disinformation? >> not over arching, no. >> is this, in your investigation, did you think that this was a single attempt by the russians to get involvement in our election or did you find suggestions that they will try to do it again? >> it wasn't a single attempt. they're doing it as we sit here. they expect to do it during the next campaign. >> director mueller, i appreciate your time and indulging us here in multiple committees, and i yield back to the ranking member, if he has -- i yield back to the chairman.
>> mr. heck. >> director mueller, i'd like to go to the motives behind the trump campaign encouragement an acceptance of help during the election. obviously, clear motivation was to help them in what would turn out to be a very close election. but there was another key motivation. that was, frankly, the desire to make money. i always try to remember what my dad, who never had the opportunity to go beyond the 8th grade, taught me, which is that i should never, ever under estimate the capacity of some people to cut corners and even more in order to worship and chase the almighty buck. and this is important because i think it, in fact, does go to the heart of why the trump campaign was so unrelentingly intent on developing relationships with the kremlin. so let's quickly revisit one financial scheme we just discussed, which was the trump tower in moscow. we indicated earlier that it was a lucrative deal. trump, in fact, stood in his company to earn many millions of
dollars on that deal, did they not, sir? >> who? >> and cohen, mr. cohen, his attorney, testified before this committee that president trump believed the deal required kremlin approval, is that consistent with what he told you? >> i'm not certain whether it's mr. trump himself or others associated with that enterprise that had discussed the necessity of having the input from the state, being the russian governme, in order for it to go forward successfully. >> isn't it also true that donald trump viewed his presidential campaign as he told top campaign aides that the campaign was an infomercial for the trump organization and his propertys? >> i'm not familiar with that. >> let's turn to trump campaign chair paul manafort. did, in fact, your investigation find any evidence that manafort intended to use his position as
trump's campaign chair for his own personal financial benefit? >> there was some indication of that, but i won't go further. >> i think you'll fine it on page 135 of volume 1. during the transition, trump's son-in-law met with sergei gorkov, head of a russian bank under u.s. sanctions. according to the head of the bank, he met with kushner in his capacity as ceo of kushner companies to discuss business opportunities. is that correct, sir? >> i'm not certain. i'm not certain about that, let me put it that way. >> it was asserted in your report volume 1, pages 161 and 162. your report notes that at the time, kushner companies were trying to renegotiate a billion, with a b, a billion dollar lease of their flagship building at
666 fifth avenue. correct? >> i'm not familiar with those financial arraignments. >> also on page 162, where kushner companies it was asserted had debt obligations coming due on the company. harry prince, a supporter close to trump -- >> a supporter? a supporter? >> yes. he met in the seychelles during the campaign with the head of a sanctioned russian government investment arm which had close eyes to vladamir putin, correct, sir? >> yes. >> your investigation determined that mr. prince had not known or conducted business with dimitriev before clutrump won t election? >> i defer to that. >> yet prince, who had connections to top
administration trump administration officials met with him during the transition period to discuss business opportunities, among other things. but it wasn't just trump and his associates who were trying to make money off this deal, nor hide it, nor lie about it. russia was, too. that was the whole point, to gain relief from sanctions which would hugely benefit their incredibly wealthy oligards. sanctions relief was discussed at the meeting at the trump tower, was it not, sir? >> yes. it was not a main subject for discussion. >> trump administration national security adviser designate michael flynn all discussed sanctions in a secret conversation with the russian ambassador, did he not? >> correct. >> so, to sum sraoeuz, donald trump, michael cohen, paul manafort, eric prince and others in the trump orbit all tried to
use their connections with the trump organization to profit from russia, which was openly seeking relief from sanctions. is that true, sir? >> i'm not certain i can adopt what you're saying. >> i will. i'd further assert that was not on dangerous, it was unamerican. greed corrupts. greed corrupts, and it is a terrible foundation for developing american foreign policy. >> mr. radcliffe? >> director mueller, given your constraint on what you're able or allowed to answer with respect to counter intelligence matters or other matters that are currently open and under investigation, you're not going to be able to answer my remaining questions. so i thank you for your courtesies in the answers that you have given to my prior questions, and i do thank you
for your extraordinary career and record of service and yield the balance of my time to the ranking member. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. radcliffe and mr. mueller. let me associate my words with mr. radcliffe. a few more questions i want to clean up a little bit about the eric prince seychelles meeting. he testified that he was surveiled by the u.s. government and the information from this surveillance was leaked to the press. did you investigate whether prince was surveilled? >> did you say will you or were you? >> i know you can't. did you refer -- were you aware that prince made these allegations that he was surveilled? he's concerned there were leaks about the surveillance. did you make any referrals about
this? >> i can't get into a discussion on it. >> okay. also, on general flynn, i know you came after the leak of the phone call with the russian ambassador. your time in the fbi, it would be a major scandal, wouldn't it, for the leak of the national security adviser and anyone -- >> i can't adopt that hypothesis. >> did your report name any people who were acting as u.s. government informants or sources without disclosing that fact? >> i can't answer that. >> okay. on volume 1, page 133 of your report, you state that constantine klimnik has ties to russian intelligence. this name came up quite often
today. your report missed to mention that klimnik has long term relationships with u.s. government officials, including our own state department. >> i can't get into that. >> i know it's not in the report, but you know, if klimnik is being used in the report to say that he was possibly some type of russian agent, i think it is important for this committee to know if klinnik has ties to our own state department, which it appears that he does. >> again, it's the same territory that i'm loathe to get into. >> you were asked this earlier about trump attorney john dowd, the pieces of his phone call were omitted from the report. it was what mr. dowd called
exculpatory evidence. >> i'm not certain i would agree with that characterization. i think i said that before. >> yes. an american citizen from the republic of georgia, who your report misidentifies as a russian, claims that your report omitted parts of a text message he had with michael cohen about stopping the flow of compromising tapes of donald trump. in the omitted portions, he says he did not know what the tapes actually showed. was that portion of the exchange left out of the report for a reason? >> no. we got an awful lot in the report, but we did not get every interception or conversation and the like. so i am not familiar with that particular episode you're talking about. >> thank you, mr. mueller.
thank you, mr. chairman. >> director mueller, did you find there was no collusion between the trump campaign and russia? >> well, we don't use the word collusion. the word we use is -- not collusion, but one of the other terms that fills in when collusion is not used. in any event, we decided not to use the word collusion, inasmuch as it has no relevance to the criminal law arena. >> the term is conspiracy that you prefer to use? >> that's right. you help me, i'll help you agreement. >> thank you. >> you had to make a charging
decision after your investigation where, unless there was enough evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt, you wouldn't make a charge, correct? >> generally, that's the case. >> but making that decision does not mean your investigation failed to turn up evidence of conspiracy? >> that's correct. >> and, in fact, i will go through some of the significant findings that your exhaustive investigation made. you found, if >> mr. welsh. you found from may 2016, mr. manafort gave private polling portion. >> can you speak into the microphone? >> i will. my apologies. >> thank you. your investigation found in june of 2016, donald trump jr. made an arrangement to meet at trump tower along with jared kushner and others expecting to receive dirt on the hillary clinton campaign, correct?
>> correct. >> you found in your investigation july 27th, candidate trump called on russia to hack hillary clinton's e-mail for the first time they did about five hours later, correct? >> that's correct. >> you found august 2 that mr. manafort met with a person tied to russian intelligence, mr. kilimnik, gave him internal campaign strategy where russia was intending to do a misinformation campaign. >> i'm not certain of the tie. >> the fact of the meeting -- >> yes, that is accurate. >> your investigation as i understand it also found that in late summer of 2016, the trump campaign in fact devised its strategy and messaging around wikileaks releases of materials that were stolen from the democratic national committee, correct? >> is that f