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president had unlawful relations with russian officials. volume two, page 76. >> i'll leave the answer to the report. >> so that's a yes. is that true your investigation didn't establish that members of the trump campaign conspired or coordinated with russian government, volume one, page two, volume one, 173. >> thank you, yes. >> thank you. although your report states collusion is not a specific offense, and you said that this morning, or a term of art in federal criminal law, conspiracy is. in the colloquial context are collusion and conspiracy essentially synonymous terms? >> you'll have to repeat that for me. >> collusion is not a specific offense or a term of art in the federal criminal law. conspiracy is. >> yes. >> in the colloquial context, public context, collusion and conspiracy are essentially synonymous terms. correct? >> no. >> if no, on page 180 of volume
wrote, you wrote as defined in legal dictionary, collusion is largely synonymous with conspiracy as that's set forth in statute 18 usc 371. you said at your may 29th press conference and here today, you choose your words carefully. are you sitting here today testifying something different than what your report states? >> what i'm asking is, if you can give me the citation, i can look at the citation and evaluate whether it is. >> let me clarify. you stated you'd stay within the report. i stated your report back to you and you said collusion and conspiracy were not synonymous terms. that was your answer, no. in that, page 180 of volume one of your report it says as defined in legal dictionaries, collusion is largely synonymous with conspiracy as the crime is set forth in general conspiracy statute. you said you chose your words carefully. are you contradicting your report right now? >> not when i read it. >> so you would change your
answer to yes then? >> no. if you look at the language -- >> i'm reading your report, sir. it's a yes or no answer. >> page 180. >> page 180, volume one. >> i leave it with the report. >> the report says yes, they are synonymous. one last question as we're going through, did you look at other countries investigated -- were other countries investigated or found knowledge they had interference with our election? >> i'm not going to discuss other matters. >> i yield back. >> if gentleman yields back. the gentlelady from california. >> we're mostly going to talk about obstruction of justice today. the investigation of russia's attack that started your investigation is why evidence of possible obstruction is serious.
to what extent did the russian government interfere in the 2016 presidential election. >> can you repeat that ma'am? >> to what extent did the russian government interfere in the 2016 presidential election? >> particularly when it came to computer crimes and the like, the government was implicated. >> so you wrote in volume one that the russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion. you also described in your report that then trump campaign chairman paul manafort shared with a russian operative the campaign strategy for winning democratic votes in midwestern states and internal polling data of the campaign. isn't that correct? >> correct. >> they also discussed the status manafort's strategy for winning democratic votes in midwestern states. months before that meeting
manafort caused internal data to be shared with kilimnik and the sharing continued for some period of time after their august meeting. isn't that correct? >> accurate. >> in fact, your investigation found that manafort briefed kilimnik on the state of the trump campaign and manafort's plan to win the election and that briefing encompassed the campaign's messaging, internal polling data, it also included discussion of battle ground states which manafort identified as michigan, wisconsin, pennsylvania and minnesota. isn't that correct? >> that's correct. >> did your investigation determine who requested the polling data to be shared with kilimnik? >> well, i would direct you to the report. that's what we have in the report with regard to that particular issue. >> we don't have the redacted version. they may be another reason why we should get that from volume e. based on you investigatioeren ha used this campaign pollin data to further its sweeping and systematic interference in the
2016 presidential election? >> that's a little bit out of our path. >> fair enough. did your investigation find that the russian government perceived it would benefit from one of the candidates winning? >> yes. >> and which candidate would that be? >> well, it would be trump, the president. >> the trump campaign wasn't exactly reluctant to take russian help. you wrote it expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through russian efforts. isn't that correct? >> that's correct. >> now, was the investigation's determination -- what was the investigation's determination regarding the frequency with which the trump campaign made contact with the russian government? >> i would have to refer you to the report on that. >> well, we went through and we counted 126 contacts between
russians or their agents and trump campaign officials or their associates. would that sound about right? >> i can't say. i understand the statistic, and i believe -- i understand the statistic. >> mr. mueller, i appreciate your being here and your report. from your testimony and the report, i think the american people have learned several things. first, the russians wanted trump to win. second, the russians went on a sweeping cyber influence campaign. the russians hand the dnc and got the democratic game plan for the election. the russian campaign chairman met with russian agents and repeated gave them internal data, polling and messaging in the battleground states. so while the russians were buying ads and creating
propaganda to influence the outcome of the election, they were armed with inside information that they had stolen through hacking from the dnc, and that they had been given by the trump campaign chairman, mr. manafort. my colleagues will probe the efforts undertaken to keep this information from becoming public, but i think it's important for the american people to understand the gravity of the underlying problem that your report uncovered. with that, mr. chairman, i would yield back. >> gentlenly. if you'll let me quickly summarize your opening statement this morning. you said volume one on the issue of conspiracy, the special counsel determined that the investigation did not establish that members of trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the russian government. in schroll yum two, for reason
the special counsel didn't determine if there was an obstruction of justice crime committed by the president. is that fair? >> yes, sir. >> explaining special counsel did not make what you called a traditional prosecution or declination decision, the report on the bottom of page two of volume two reads as follows. the evidence we obtained about the president's actions and intent presents difficult issues that prevent us from conclusively determining no criminal conduct occurred. accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him. i read that correctly? >> yes. >> now, your report, and today you said at all times the special counsel team operated under was guided byes, and followed justice department policies and principles. which doj policy or principle sets forth a legal standard that an investigated person is not exonerated if their innocence from criminal conduct is not conclusively determined? >> can you repeat the last part of that question?
>> which doj policy or principle set forth a legal standard an investigated person is not exonerated if their innocence from criminal conduct is not conclusively determined? where does that language come from, director? where is the doj policy that says that? let me make it easier. >> go ahead. >> can you give me an example other than donald trump where the justice department determined an investigated person was not exonerated because their innocence was not conclusively determined? >> i cannot, but this is a unique situation. >> time is short. i've got five minutes. let's just leave it at you can't find it because, i'll tell you why, it doesn't exist. the special counsel's kojob, nowhere does it say you were to conclusively determine donald trump's innocence or the special counsel report should determine whether or not to exonerate him. it's not in any of the documents, not in your appointment order, not in the special counsel regulation, not in the justice manual and not in
the principles of federal prosecution. nowhere do those words appearing the because respectfully, director, it was not the special counsel's job to conclusively determine donald trump's innocence or exonerate him because the bed rom principle of our justice system is a presumption of innocence. it exists for everyone. everyone is entitled to it, including sitting presidents. because there is a presumption of innocence, prosecutors never, ever need to conclusively determine it. director, the special counsel applied this inverted burp burden of proof and used it to write a report. the very first line of your report, the very first line of your report says, as you read this morning, it authorizes the special counsel to provide the attorney general with a confidential report explaining the prosecution or declination
decisions reached by the special counsel. that's the very first word of your report. right? >> that's correct. >> here is the problem, director. the special counsel didn't do that. on volume one you did. on volume two with respect to potential obstruction of justice, the special counsel made neither a prosecution decision or a declination decision. you made no decision. you told us this morning and in your report that you made no determination. so respectfully, director, you didn't follow the special counsel regulations. it clearly says write a confidential report about decisions reached. nowhere in here does it say write a report about decisions that weren't reached. you wrote 180 pages, 180 pages about decisions that weren't reach, about potential crimes that weren't charged or decided. and respectfully, respectfully, by doing that you managed to violate every principle and the
most sake red of traditions about prosecutors not offering extra prosecutorial analysis about potential crimes that aren't charged. americans need to know this as they listen to the democrats and socialists on the other side of the aisle as they do dramatic readings from this report, that volume two of this report was not authorized under the law to be written. it was written to a legal standard that does not exist at the justice department and it was written in violation of every doj principle about extra prosecutorial commentary. i agree with the chairman this morning when he said donald trump is not above the law. he's not. but he damn sure shouldn't be below the law which is where volume two of this report puts him. >> thank you, mr. chairman. director mueller, good morning. your exchange with the gentle lady from california demonstrates what's at stake. trump campaign chair paul manafort was passing sensitive
voter information and polling data to a russian operative. so many other ways russia subverted our democracy. together with the evidence in volume one, i cannot think of a more serious need to investigate. so now i'm going to ask you some questions about obstruction of justice as it relates to volume two. on page 12 of volume two you state, we determined that there were sufficient factual and legal basis to further investigate potential obstruction of justice issues involving the president. is that correct? >> do you have the citation, ma'am? >> page 12, volume two. >> which portion of that page? >> that is, we determined there is a sufficient factual and legal basis to further investigate potential obstruction of justice issues involving the president. is that correct? >> yes. >> your report also describes at least ten separate incidences of
possible obstruction of justice investigated by you and your team. is that correct? >> yes. >> in fact, the table of contents serves as a very good guide of some of the acts of that obstruction of justice that you investigated, and i put it up on the screen. on page 157 of volume 2 you describe those acts, and they range from the president's effort to curtail the special counsel's investigation, the president's further efforts to have the attorney general take over the investigation, the president's orders, don mcgahn to deny that the president tried to fire the special counsel and many others. is that correct? >> yes. >> i direct you now to what you wrote, director mueller. the president's pattern of conduct as a whole, sheds light on the nature of the president's action and the inferences that can be drawn about his intent. does that mean you have to investigate all of his conduct to ascertain true motive? >> no. >> when you talk about the
president's pattern of conduct that includes the ten possible acts of obstruction that you investigated -- is that correct, when you talk about the pattern of conduct, that would include the ten possible acts of obstruction that you investigated, correct? >> i'd direct you to the report for how that is characterized. >> thank you. let me go to the screen again. for each of those ten potential instances of obstruction of justice, you analyzed three elements of the crime of obstruction of justice, an obstructive act, a nexus between the act and official proceeding and corrupt intent. is that correct? >> yes. >> you wrote on page 178, volume 2, in your report about corrupt intent. actions by the president to end a criminal investigation into his own conduct to protect against personal embarrassment or legal liability would constitute a core example of corruptly motivated conduct. is that correct? >> yes. >> to the screen again. even with the evidence you did
find, is it true as you note on page 76 of volume ii that the evidence does indicate a thorough fbi investigation would uncover facts about the campaign and the president personally that the president could have understood to be crimes or would give rise to legal, personal and political concerns? >> i rely on the language of the report. >> is that relevant tojustice? is that relevant to potential obstruction of justice? >> yes. >> you further elaborate on page 57 that it can be motivated by desire to protect against personal interests, investigations that liability can fall into a gray area or personal embarrassment. is that correct? >> you have on the screen -- is that correct on the screen? >> can you repeat the question now that i have the language on the screen? >> is it correct as you further elaborate, obstruction of justice can be motivated by
direct desire to protect noncriminal personal interests, to protect against investigations where liability falls into a gray area? >> yes. >> or to avoid? >> yes. >> pardon? >> can you read the last question? >> the last question was -- >> i'm not certain i got it accurate. >> the last question was the language on the screen asking you if that's correct. >> yes. >> okay. the conviction of obstruction of justice results potentially in a lot of years of time in jail. >> yes. again, can you repeat the question just to make sure that i have it accurate? >> does obstruction of justice warrant a lot of time in jail if you are convicted? >> yes. >> time has expired. >> thank you very much, mr.
chairman. let me begin by reading special counsel regulations by which you are appointed. it reads, quote, at the conclusion of the special counsel's work, he or she shall provide the attorney general with a confidential report explaining the prosecution or declamations decisions reached by the special counsel. is that correct? >> yes. >> okay. now when a regulation uses the words shall provide, does it mean that the individual is, in fact, obligated to provide what's being demanded? meaning you don't have any legal room, right? >> i would have to look more closely at the statute. >> i just read it to you. okay. now volume 2, page 1 your report only states, we determine not to make a traditional prosecutorial judgment. is that correct? >> i'm trying to find that citation.
>> director, could you speak more directly into the microphone, please? >> yes. >> thank you. >> mr. chairman, i'm sorry. >> volume 2, page 1, it says, we determine not to make a traditional prosecutorial judgment. >> yes. >> that's right at the beginning. now since you decided under the olc opinion that you couldn't prosecute a sitting president, meaning president trump, why did we have all of this investigation of president trump that the other side is talking about when you knew that you weren't going to prosecute him? >> well, you don't know where the investigation is going to lie, and the olc opinion itself says that you can continue the investigation even though you are not going to indict the president. >> okay. well, if you are not going to indict the president, then you just continue fishing, and that's, you kn that's my observation.
my time is limited. sure you can indict other people, but you can't indict the sitting president, right? >> that's true. >> now, there are 182 pages in raw evidentiary material including hundreds of references to 302 which are interviews by the fbi for individuals who have never been cross examined and which did not comply with the special counsel's gov erk regulation to explain the prosecution or declination decisions reached. correct? >> where are you reading from on that? >> i'm reading from my question. >> then could you repeat it? >> okay. 182 pages of raw evidentiary material with hundreds of references to 302 who have never been cross examined and which
didn't comply with the gov nerng regulation to explain the decisions reached. >> this is one of those areas which i decline to discuss and would direct you to the report itself. >> well, i looked at 182 pages of it. let me switch gears. mr. shaf vot and i were on this committee during the clinton impeachment. while i recognize the independent counsel statute under which kenneth star operated is different than the special counsel statute, he and a number of occasions in his report, stated that president clinton's actions may have risen to impeachable conduct, recognizing it is up to the house of representatives to determine what conduct is impeachable. you never used the term raising to impeachable conduct for any of the ten instances that the gentle woman from texas did.
is it true there's nothing volume ii of the rethat sport t says the president may have engaged in impeachable conduct. >> well, we have previously kept in the center of our investigation our mandate. our mandate does not go to other ways of addressing conduct. our mandate goes to what -- developing the report and putting tpu getting the report to the attorney general. >> it seems to me there are a couple of statements you made that this is not for me to decide, and the implication is that this is for this committee to decidement you didn't use the word impeachable conduct like starr did. there was no statute to prevent you from using the word impeachable conduct. i go back to what mr. radcliffe said, and that is that even the president is innocent until
proven guilty. my time is up. >> the gentleman's time is expired. the gentleman from tennessee. >> thank you, mr. chair. first i'd just like to restate what mr. nadler said about your career. it's a model of rectitude and i thank you. >> thank you. >> based on your investigation, how did president trump react to your appointment as special counsel? >> again, i'll send you to the report where that is stated. >> there is a quote from page 78 of your report, volume ii which reads, when sessions told the president that a special counsel had been appointed, the president slumped back in his chair and said, quote, oh, my god, this is terrible. this is the end of my presidency. i'm f'd, unquote. did attorney general sessions tell you about that little talk? >> director, please speak into the microphone.
>> surely. my apologies. i am not certain of the person who originally copied that quote. >> okay. sessions apparently said it and one of his aides had it in his notes, too. he wasn't pleased. probably wasn't pleased with the special counsel and particularly you because of your outstanding reputation. the attorney general recused himself because of his role in the 2016 campaign. >> correct. >> recusal means the attorney general could not be involved in the investigation, is that zplekt. >> that's the effect of recusal, yes. >> so instead, another trump appointee, as you know mr. sessions was, mr. rosenstein became in charge of it. is that correct? >> yes. >> wasn't attorney general sessions following the rules and professional advice of the department of justice ethics folks when he recused himself from the investigation? >> yes. >> yet the president repeatedly
expressed his displeasure at sessions' decision to follows those rules to rekugs himself. is that zplekt. >> that's accurate based on what is written in the report. >> the president's reaction to the recusal, as noted in the report, mr. bannon recalled the president was mad, as mad as bannon had ever seen him and he screamed at mcgahn about how weak sessions was. do you recall that from the report? >> that's in the report, yes. >> despite knowing attorney general sessions was not supposed to be involved in the investigation, the president still tried to get the attorney general to unrecuse himself after you were appointed special counsel. is that correct? >> yes. >> in fact, your investigation found that at some point after your appointment, quote, the president called sessions at his home and asked if he would unrecuse himself. is that not true? >> that's true. >> now, that wasn't the first time the president asked sessions to unrecuse himself, was it? >> i know there were at least two occasions. >> one of them was with flynn and one was when sessions and
mcgahn flew to mar-a-lago. sessions recalled the president pulled him aside to speak alone and suggested he should do this unrecusal act. correct? >> correct. >> a few days after michael flynn entered a guilty plea for lying to federal agents and indicated his intent to cooperate with the investigation, trump asked to speak to sessions alone in the oval office and again asked sessions to unrecuse himself. true? >> i'd refer you to the report. >> page 109 volume ii. do you know of any point when the president personally expressed anger or frustrations at sessions? >> i'd have to pass on that. >> i think at page 78 of volume ii, the president told sessions, you were supposed to protect me, you were supposed to protect me or words to that effect. >> correct. >> is the attorney general supposed to be the attorney general of the united states of america or a con sig larry for
the president. >> united states of america. >> in fact, you wrote in your report the president repeatedly sought to get sessions to unrecuse himself so he could supervises the investigation in a way to restrict its scope. is that correct? >> i rely on the report. >> how could sessions have restricted the scope of your investigation? >> well, i'm not going to speculate. quite obviously, if he took over as attorney general, he would have greater latitude in his actions that would enable him to do things that otherwise he could not. >> on page 113 you said the president believed an unrecused attorney general could shield the president from the ongoing investigation. regardless of all that, i want to thank you director mueller for your life of rectitude and service to our country. it's clear from your report and the evidence that the president wanted former attorney general sessions to violate the justice department ethics rules by taking over your investigation
and improperly interfering with it to protect himself and his campaign. your findings are so important because in america nobody is above the law. i yield back the balance of my time. >> thank the gentleman for yielding back. the gentleman from ohio. >> director mueller, my democratic colleagues were very disappointed in your report. they were expecting you to say something along the lines of here is why president trump deserves to be impeached, much as ken starr did relative to clinton 20 years ago. you didn't. their strategy had to change. now they allege there's plenty of evidence in your report to impeach the president but the american people just didn't read it. this hearing today is their last best hope to build up some sort of groundswell across america to impeach president trump. that's what this is really all about today. now, a few questions. on page 103 of volume ii of your
report, when discussing the june 2016 trump tower meeting, you refers, quote, the firm that produced steele reporting. the name of that firm was fusion gps. is that correct? >> you're on page 103? >> that's correct, volume ii. when you talk about the firm that produced the steele reporting, the name of the firm that produced that was fusion gps. is that correct? >> i'm not familiar >> let me help you. it's not a atlantic question. it was fusion gps. fusion gps produced the opposition research document widely known as the steele dossier, and the owner of fusion gps was someone named glenn simpson. are you familiar -- >> this is outside my purview. >> glenn simpson was never
mentioned in the 448-page mueller report, was it? >> as i say, it's outside my pursue and being handled in the department by others. >> he was not. 448 pages, the owner of fusion gps that did the steele dossier that started all this, he's not mentioned in there. at the same time fusion gps was working to collect opposition research on donald trump from foreign sources on behalf of the clinton campaign and the democratic national committee, it also was representing a russian-based company which had been sanctioned by the u.s. government. are you aware of that? >> that's outside my purview. >> okay. thank you. one of the key players -- i'll go to something different. one of the key players in the june 2016 trump tower meeting was natalia disyes, sir ka who you described in your report as a russian attorney who advocated for the repeal of the magnitsky
act. she had been working with none other than glenn simpson and fusion gps since at least early 2014. are you aware of that? >> that's outside my purview. >> you didn't mention that or her connections to glenn simpson of fusion gps in your report at all. let me move on. >> russian lawyer natalia vits sky yeah says she described alleged tax evasion and donation to democrats from none other than glenn simpson. you didn't include that. >> this is a matter handled by others at the justice department. >> your report spends 14 pages
discussing the june 9th, trump tower meeting. it would be fair to say, would it not, to say you spent sniffing can't resources investigating that meeting? >> i'd refer you to the report. >> president trump wasn't at the meeting. >> no, he was not. >> in stark contrast to the actions of the trump campaign, we know the clinton campaign did pay fusion gps to gather dirt on the trump campaign from persons associated with foreign governments. but your report doesn't mention a thing about fusion gps in it and you didn't investigate fusion gps' connections to russia. let me just ask you this. can you see from neglecting to mention glenn simpson and fusion gps' involvement with the clinton campaign, to focusing on a brief meeting at the troum tower that produced nothing, ignoring the clinton campaign's
own ties to fusion gps, why some view your report as a pretty one-sided attack on the president. >> i tell you, this is still outside my purview. >> i would just note final will i that i guess it is by chance, by coincidence, that the things left out of the report tended to be favorable to the president. >> the member's time has expired. >> director mueller, i'd like to get us back on track here. your investigation found that president trump directed white house counsel don mcgahn to fire you. isn't that correct? >> true. >> the president claimed that he wanted to fire you because you had supposed conflicts of interest, correct? >> true. >> you lad no con dplikts of interest that required your removal, isn't that correct? >> correct. >> in fact, don mcgahn advised the president that the asserted conflicts were, in his words, silly and not real conflicts.
isn't that true? >> i refer to the report on that episode. >> well, page 85 of volume ii speaks to that. and also director mueller, doj ethics officials confirmed that you had no conflicts that would prevent you from serving as special counsel. isn't that correct? >> correct. >> despite don mcgahn and the department of justice guidance, around may 23rd, 2017, the president, quote, prodded mcgahn to complain to deputy attorney general rosenstein about these supposed conflicts of interest, correct? >> correct. >> and mcgahn declined to call rosenstein telling the president that it would look like to meddle in the investigation and knocking out mueller would be another fact used to claim obstruction of justice. isn't that correct?
>> generally so, yes. >> in in other words, director mueller, the white house counsel told the president that, if he tried to remove you, that that could be another basis to allege that the president was obstructing justice. correct? >> that is generally correct, yes. >> now, i'd like to review what happened after the president was warned about obstructing justice. >> i'm sorry, congressman, do you have a citation? >> yes. volume ii page 81 and 82. i'd like to review what happened after the president was warned about obstructing justice. it's true that on tuesday, june 13th, 2017, the president dictated a press statement stating he had, quote, no intention of firing you, correct? >> correct. >> but the following day, june
14th, the media reported for the first time that you were investigating the president for obstruction of justice, correct? >> correct. >> and then after learning for the first time he was under investigation, the very next day the president, quote, issued a series of tweets acknowledging the existence of the obstruction investigation and criticizing it. isn't that correct? >> i believe so. >> and then on saturday, june 17th, two days later, the president called don mcgahn at home from camp david on a saturday to talk about you. isn't that correct? >> correct. >> what was the significant -- what was significant about that first weekend phone call that don mcgahn took from president trump? >> i'm going to ask you to rely on what we wrote about those instances. >> you wrote in your report that on page 85 volume ii, on
saturday, june 17, 2017, the president called mcgahn at home to have the special counsel removed. did the president call don mcgahn more than once that day? i think it was two calls. >> on page 85 of your report you wrote, quote, on the first call mcgahn recalled that the president said something like, quote, you've got to do this. you've got to call rudd, correct? >> correct. >> your investigation and report found that don mcgahn was perturbed, to use your words, by the president's request to call rod rosenstein to fire him, correct? >> well, there was a continuous colloquy -- it was a continuous involvement of don mcgahn responding to the president's --
>> he did not want to put himself in the middle of that. he did not want to have a role in asking the attorney general to fire the special counsel, correct? >> i would, again, refer you to the report and the way it is characterized in the report. >> thank you. at volume 2, page 85, it states that he didn't want to have the attorney general -- didn't want to have a role in trying to fire the attorney general. at this point, i will yield back. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. mueller -- well, first let me ask unanimous consent, mr. chairman, to submit this article, robert mueller unmasked for the record. >> without objection. >> mr. mueller who wrote the nine-minute comments you read at your may 29th press conference? >> i'm not going to get into that. >> okay.
so that's what i thought. you didn't write it. a 2013 puff piece in the wash tonian said about comey, when comey called, you'd drop everything you were doing. it gave examples, you having dinner with your wife and daughter. comey calls, you drop everything and go. the article quoted comey saying, if a train were coming down the track, and i quote, at least bob mueller will be standing on the tracks with me. you and james comey had been good friends or were good friends for many years, correct? >> we were business associates. we both started off in the justice department about -- >> you were good friends. you can work together and not be friends. you and comey were friends. >> we were friends. >> that's my question. thank you forgetting to the answer. >> before you were appointed as special counsel, had you talked to james comey in the preceding six months? >> no. >> when you were appointed as
special counsel, was trump's firing of comey something you anticipated investigating, potentially obstruction of justice? >> i'm not going to get into this? internal deliberations in the justice department. >> actually it goes to your credibility. maybe you've been away from your courtroom for a while. credibility is always relevant, always material and that goes for you, too. you're a witness before us. let me ask you. when you talked to president trump the day before you were appointed as special counsel, you were talking about the fbi director position again -- >> that's not -- not as a candidate. >> did he mention the firing of james comey in your discussion with him? >> i cannot remember. >> pardon? >> i cannot remember. i don't believe so. >> you don't remember. but if he did, you could have been a fact witness as to the president's comments and state of mind on firing james comey comey?
>> i suppose that's possible. >> so most prosecutors want to make sure there's no appearance of i'm propriety. in your case, you hired a bunch of people that did not like the president. let me ask you, when did you first learn animus for the president? >> you didn't know before he was fired of your team. >> what? >> peter strzok hated trump. you didn't know that before he was made part of your team. >> no, i did not know that. >> all right. and actually, when i did find out i acted swiftly to have him reassigned elsewhere. >> well, there's some discussion about how swift that was. when did you learn of the ongoing affair he was having with lisa page? >> about the same time.
>> did you ever order anybody to investigate the deletion of all of their texts off of their government phones? >> once we found peter strzok was author of -- >> did you ever order -- >> may i finish? >> you're not answering my question. did you order an investigation into the deletion and reformatting of their government phones? >> no. there was an ig investigation on going. >> listen. regarding collusion or conspiracy, you didn't find evidence of any agreement, and i'm quoting you, among the trump campaign officials russian linked individuals to interfere with our election, correct? >> correct. >> you also note in the report that an element of any of those obstructions you referenced requires a corrupt state of mind, correct? >> corrupt intent, correct.
>> right. if somebody knows they did not conspire with russia to affect the election and they see the big justice department with people that hate that person coming after them and special counsel appointed who hires a dozen or more people that hate that person and he knows he's innocent, he's not corrupting acting in order to see that justice is done. what he's doing is not obstructing justice, he is pursuing justice and the fact that you ran it out two years means you per pet pated injustice. >> time is expired. the witness may answer the question. >> i take your question >> the gentleman from florida.
director mueller i'd like to get back to your findings of june of 2017. there was a bombshell article that reported that the president of the united states was personally under investigation for obstruction of justice. you said in your report on page 90 volume ii, news of the obstruction investigation prompted the president to call mcgahn and seek to have the special counsel removed, closed quote. then in your report, you wrote about multiple calls from the president to white house counsel don mcgahn. regarding the second call you wrote, and i quote, mcgahn recalled that the president was more direct saying something like call rod, tell rod that mueller has conflicts and can't be the special counsel. mcgahn recalled the president telling him mueller has to go and call me back when you do it. director mueller, did mcgahn understand what the president was ordering him to do? >> i direct you to what we have written in the report in terms
of characterizing his feelings. >> in the report it says, quote, mcgahn understood the president to be saying that the special counsel had to be removed. you also say on page 86, quote, mcgahn considered the president's request to be an inflection point, and he wanted to hit the brakes and he felt trapped, and mcgahn decided he had to resign. mcgahn took action to prepare to resign. isn't that correct? >> i direct you again to the report. >> in fact, that very day he went to the white house, and quoting your report you said, he then drove to the office to pack his belongings and submit his resignation later, closed quote. >> that is directly from the report. >> it is. before he resigned, however, he called the president's chief of staff, reince priebus and called senior adviser steve bannon. do you recall what mcgahn told
them? >> whatever was said will appear in the report. >> it is. it says on page 87, quote, priebus recalled that mcgahn said that the president asked him to do crazy expletive. in other words, crazy stuff. the white house counsel thought that the president's request was completely out of bounds. he said the president asked him to do something crazy. it was wrong. and he was prepared to resign over it. now, these are extraordinarily troubling events. but you found white house counsel mcgahn to be a credible witness, isn't that correct? >> correct. >> director mueller, the most important question i have for you today is why. director mueller, why did the president of the united states want you fired? >> i can't answer that question.
>> well, on page 89 in your report volume ii you said, and i quote, substantial evidence indicates that the president's attempts to remove the special cose oversig of ked to the investigations that involved the president's conduct and most immediately, to reports that the president was being investigated for potential obstruction of justice, closed quote. director mueller, you found evidence, as you lay out in your report, that the president wanted to fire you because you were investigating him for stluks, isn't that correct? >> that's what it says in the report, yes. i stand behind the report. >> director mueller, that shouldn't happen in america. no president should be able to
escape investigation by abusing his power. but that's what you testify to in your report. the president ordered you fired. white house counsel knew it was wrong. the president knew it was wrong. in your report there's evidence that the president should not have made those calls to mcgahn. but the president did it anyway. he did it anyway. anyone else who blatantly interfered with a criminal investigation like yours would be arrested and indicted on charges of obstruction of justice. director mueller, you determined that you were barred from indicting a sitting president. we've already talked about that today. that is exactly why this committee must hold the president accountable. i yield back. >> the gentleman yields back. the gentle lady from alabama. >> director mueller, you just
said in response to two different lines of questioning that you would refer -- as it relates to this firing discussion, i would refer you to the report and the way it was characterized in the report. importantly, the president never said fire mueller or end the investigation and one doesn't necessitate the other. mcgahn, in fact, did not he sign. he stuck around for a year and a half. on march 24th, attorney general barr informed the committee he received the special counsel's report and it was not until april 18th that the attorney general released the report to congress and the public. when you submitted your report to the attorney general, did you deliver a redacted version of the report so he would be able to release it to congress and the public without delay pursuant to his announcement of his intention to do so during his confirmation hearing? >> i'm not going to engage in discussion about what happened after the production of our report. >> had the attorney general asked you to provide a redacted
version of the report? >> we worked on the redacted versions together. >> did he ask you for a version where the grand jury material was separated? >> i can't get into details. >> is it your belief that an unredacted version of the report could be released to congress or the public? >> that's not in my purview. >> -- why did you not take a similar action so congress could review this material? >> we had a process that we were operating on in the attorney general's office. >> are you aware of any attorney general going to court to receive similar permission to unredact 6e material? >> i'm not aware of that being done. >> the attorney general released the special counsel's report with minimal redactions and even lesser redacted version to
congress. did you write the report with the expectation that it would be released publicly? >> no, we did not have an expectation. we write the report understanding that it was demanded by a statute and would go to the attorney general for further review. >> and pursuant to the special counsel regulations, who is the only party that must receive the charging decision resulting from the special counsel's investigation? >> with regard to the president or generally? >> generally. >> attorney general. >> at attorney general's barr confirmation hearing he made it clear he indicated he planned to release to it the general public. do you remember how much were written at that point? >> i do not. >> were there changes in tone or substance after the announcement that the report would be made available to congress and the public? >> i can't get into that. >> senator kamala harris asked
mr. barr if he looked at all the underlying evidence that the special counsel's team gathered. he stated he had not. i'm going to ask you, did you personally review all of the underlying evidence gathered in your investigation? >> to the extent it came through the special counsel's office, yes. >> did any single member of your team revoou all the upped lying evidence gathered during the course of your investigation? >> as has been recited here today, a substantial amount of work was done, whether it be search warrants -- >> my point is there was no one member of the team that looked at everything. >> that's what i'm trying to get at. >> it's fair to say that in an investigation as comprehensive as yours, it's normal that different members of the team would have different sets of documents and few, if anyone, would have reviewed all the underlying -- >> thank you, yes. >> how many of the approximately 500 interviews conducted by the special counsel did you attend personally? >> very few. >> on march 27, 2019, you wrote
a letter to the attorney general essentially complaining about the media coverage of your report. you wrote and i quote, the summary letter the department sent to congress and released to the public late in the afternoon of march 24 did not fully capture the context, nature and substance of this office's works and conclusions. we communicated that concern to the department on march 24th. there's public confusion about critical aspects of the result of our investigation. who wrote that march 27th letter? >> i can't get into who wrote it, the internal deliberations. >> you signed it. >> what i will say is the letter stands for itself. >> why did you write a formal letter since you already called the attorney general to express those concerns. >> can't get into those internal deliberations. >> did you authorize the letters released to the media or was it leaked? >> i have no knowledge on either. >> you went nearly two years without a leak. why was that letter leaked? >> i can't get into it.
>> was this letter written and leaked for the express purpose of attempting to change the narrative about the conclusions of your report. was anything in barr's letter -- >> time of the gentle lady has expired. >> can he answer the question. >> was anything in attorney general barr's letter refrpd to as the principle conclusions letter dated march 24th inaccurate? >> i'm not going to get into that. >> the time of the gentle lady has expired. the gentle lady from california. >> director mule ever, as you know, we are focusing on five obstruction episodes today. i would like to ask you about the second of those five obstruction episodes. it's in the section of your report be gaining on page 113 of volume ii entitled, quote, the president orders mcgahn to deny that the president tried to fire the special counsel, end quote. on january 25th, 2018, "the new york times" reported that, quote, the president had ordered
mcgahn to have the department of justice fire you. is that correct? >> correct. >> that story related to the events you already testified about here today. the president's calls to mcgahn to have you removed, correct? >> correct. >> after the news broke, did the president go on tv and deny the story? >> i do not know. >> in fact, the president said, news. a typical "new york times" fake story, end quote. correct? >> correct. >> but your investigation actually found substantial evidence that mcgahn was ordered by the president to fire you, correct? >> yes. >> did the president's personal lawyer do something the following day in response to that news report? >> i'd refer you to the coverage of this in the report. >> on page 114, quote, on january 26, 2018, the president's personal counsel called mcgahn's attorney and said that the president wanted mcgahn to put out a statement
denying that he had been asked to fire the special counsel, end quote. did mcgahn do what the president asked? >> i refer you to the report. >> communicating through his personal attorney, mcgahn refused because he said, quote, that the times story was accurate in reporting that the president wanted the special counsel removed. isn't that right? >> i believe it is, but i refer you again to the report. >> so mr. mcgahn through his personal attorney told the president that he was not going to lie. is that right? >> true. >> did the president drop the issue? >> i refer to the write-up of this in the report. >> next the president told the white house staff secretary, rob porter, to try to pressure mcgahn to make a false denial. is that correct? >> that's correct. >> what did he actually direct porter to do? >> i'd send you back to the report. >> on page 113 it says, quote,
the president then directed porter to tell mcgahn to create a record to make it clear that the president never directed mcgahn to fire you, end quote. is that correct? >> that is as is stated in the report. >> you found, quote, if president said he wanted mcgahn to write a letter to the file for our records? >> correct. >> to be clear, the president is asking his white house counsel, don mcgahn to create a record that mcgahn believed to be untrue while you were in the midst of investigating the president for obstruction of justice, correct? >> generally correct. >> and mr. mcgahn was an important witness in that investigation, wasn't he? >> i'd have to say yes. >> did the president tell porter to threaten mcgahn if he didn't create the written denial? >> i'd refer you to the write-up of it in the report. >> in fact, didn't the president say, quote, and this is on page
116, if he doesn't write a letter, then maybe i'll have to get rid of him, end quote? >> yes. >> did porter deliver that threat? >> i again refer you to the discussion as found on page 115. >> okay. but the president still didn't give up, did he? the president told mcgahn directly to deny that the president told him to have you fired. canctly what happened?hat >> i can't beyond what's in the report. >> well, on page 116, it says the president met him in the oval office. quote, the president began the oval office meeting by telling mcgahn that "the new york times" story didn't look good, and mcgahn needed to correct it. is that correct? >> it's correct as it's written in the report, yes. >> the president asked mcgahn whether he would do a correction, and mcgahn said, no.
correct? >> that's accurate. >> well, mr. mueller, thank you for your investigation uncovering this very disturbing evidence. my friend, mr. richmond will have additional questions on the subject, however, it is clear to me if anyone else had ordered a witness to create a false record and cover up acts that are subject of a law enforcement investigation, that person would be facing criminal charges. i >> the fbi interviews joseph on february 10th, 2017. in that interview he lied. you point that out on page 193. he denied. he also falsely stated. in addition he omitted. three times he lie to the fbi. yet you didn't charge him with a crime. >> did you say 193?
>> volume 1, 193. why didn't you charge him with a crime? >> i can't get into investigations -- >> you charged a lot of other people with false statements. let's remember this. in 2016 the fbi did something they probably haven't done before. they spied on two american citizens associated with the presidential campaign, george papadopoulos and carter page. with carter page they went to the fisa court and used the dossier as part of the reason they were able to get the warrant and spy on carter page. with george papadopoulos they didn't go to the court, they used human sources. from the moment george papadopoulos joined the trump campaign you have all these people swirling around him. all these people meeting in rome and london. the fbi even sent a lady