Skip to main content

tv   Good Morning America  ABC  July 24, 2019 7:00am-9:00am PDT

7:00 am
>> 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 posing as somebody else.
7:01 am
even dispatched her to london to spy on george papadopoulos. in one of these meetings george papadopoulos is talking to a foreign diplomat and he tells the diplomat russians have dirt on clinton. that diplomat contacts the fbi and the fbi opens an investigation based on that fal fact. you point that out on page one of the report. july 21, 2016 you open the investigation based on that information. diplomat tells -- excuse me george papadopoulos tells the diplomat russians have dirt on clinton. who told george papadopoulos? how defined ouid he find out? >> i can't get into it. >> yes, you can. in page 192 of the report you tell us who told him.
7:02 am
the mysterious professor who works in london, this is the guy who tells george papadopoulos. he starts it all. when the fbi interviews him he lies three times and yet you don't charge him with a crime. you charge rick gaits, michael cohen, michael flynn you charge them. the guy who puts this country through the who saga he lies. you guys don't charge him. i'm curious as to why. >> i can't get into it. it's obvious i think that we can't get into charging decisions. >> when the fbi interviewed him in february, when the special counsel's office interviewed him, did he lie to you guys to? >> i can't get into that. >> did you interview him? >> i can't get into it. >> aots you can't get
7:03 am
into. you can charge 13 russians no one's ever heard of or seen, no one's ever going to hear of them, no one's ever going to see them. you can charge all kinds of people around the president with false statements, but the guy who puts this whole story in motion, you can't charge him. i think that's amazing. >> i'm not certain i agree with your characterizations. >> i'm reading from your report. he told george papadopoulos. george papadopoulos tells the d diplomat. the diplomat tell it s the fbi. the fbi starts the investigation. the central figure who launches it all lies to us and you guys don't hunt him down and interview him again and charge him with a crime. here's the good news. >> the president was falsely accused of conspiracy. james comey when we deposed him
7:04 am
told us they have nothing. at the end of your 22-month investigation you find no conspiracy. what do the democrats want to do? keep investigating. keep going. maybe a better course of action, maybe a better course of action is to figure out how the false accusations started. maybe it's to figi.here toodnew. exactly what bill barr is doing. thank goodness for that. that's what the attorney jerngel is doing. >> time for the gentleman has expired. in a moment we'll take a very brief five-minute break. i ask everyone in the room to remain seated and quiet while the witness exits the room. i also want to announce to those in the audience that you may not be guaranteed your seat if you leave the hearing room at this time.
7:05 am
>> there we have it after about the first hour and a half of robert mueller's testimony, about halfway through, they'll take a five-minute break. i want to start with mary bruce. mary, we saw two different strategies at play by the democrats and republicans. the democrats might have wanted to bring robert mueller's report to life. they had him say that's what i wrote. the republicans raising questions about the entire approach of robert mueller. >> george, the strategies were very clear straight out the gate. we saw jerrold nadler, his first line of questioning was to get robert mueller to say no his report did in the exonerate the president. very clearly we saw democrats trying to get through the ten incidents of possible obstruction, to under score his report didn't exonerate the
7:06 am
president. the republicans are trying to put to bed the issue of collusion, picking apart the report to highlight there was no criminal conspiracy. then they were trying to discredit the investigation. george, both sides knew robert mueller is known forgivi giving word answers. it's a hearing of rapid fire where mueller is kicking through the different questions. the question is whether it's resonating with the american people. >> david muir also at the capital. at times it appeared robert mueller was having trouble following the questioning. >> it did appear that way. it's probably why he wanted his deputy chief of staff beside him, to sit beside him and help him point out the page numbers in the report continually being
7:07 am
cited by democrats and republicans. you heard robert mueller giving one-word answers. particularly on the democratic side of the questioning when they were trying to press on the points that mary mentioned, the potential examples of obstruction of justice mueller said i turn back to the report. the democrat would read from mueller's report. there were questions about whether we would hear robert mueller read from the report. law makers are choosing to read it for him. to go back to the two key points mary mentioned did you totally exonerate the president, mueller saying no on that. that tense back and forth a moment ago on the democratic side about don mcgahn, the president's lawyer, who was mentioned a multitude of times in the mueller report, a series of back and forth questions on whether or not don mcgahn had been told to lie about the public narrative and mueller
7:08 am
repeatedly turning back to the report. >> dan abrams it seems like the democrats are trying to create a written record in this hearing that would lay the predicate for going forward with impeachment proceedings. don mcgahn appears to be a key witness. the president calling him a liar. robert mueller calling him a credible witness. >> you need to hear from don mcgahn now. that's the key. from the democratic perspective to me it's been a bit of a bust. they needed this to come to life. they needed to be able to tell that story you're talking about. it hasn't felt like a story. robert mueller has not been defending himself against allegation that is there were 12 plus angry people out to get donald trump on his team. he started to talk about the integrity of the team. when they're accusations being made, he's not defending them at all. he's not defending why they wrote section two. he's not properly answering the
7:09 am
question about the fbi job. >> let me take that to chris christie. that was a surprise to me as well. robert mueller is not wanting to say one word more than he has to. >> this is what i said before it started. my experience with bob mueller having worked with him for seven years when we would get into a room with a group of people where you were having a conversation bob mueller always said the least and was always the most careful. i think you're seeing that this morning. the democrats have left a lot of opportunities on the table. congressman ratcliffe made points that we as bros cuproseco not exonerate people. >> the special counsel is supposed to write a point about that. >> the point is the democrats didn't follow up and say did you intend for us to do this since you felt you could not.
7:10 am
that's the biggest mistake the democrats have made. >> it seems to be the biggest unanswered question on the table, is that what robert mueller intended? he didn't want to take the bait on barr either. >> i want to take it to jon karl. we've not heard from the president since the hearing began, jon. any reporting on the white house reaction? >> we're told the president has been watching. a person close to the president tells us, quote, this is a zero for the democrats. the president has not been tweeting. he's been watching. they clearly think the democrats have not done what they intended to do here. george, this is in the the moment that democrats had been expecting. they expected this to be a dramatic culmination, hearing directly from the special counsel. you heard a lot of one-word answers, apparent confusion from robert mueller. not the moment they hoped for. there was a moment of clarity in the beginning with the
7:11 am
questioning from jerry nadler on the question of whether or not mueller wanted to interview president trump. we've reported a long the way he tried very hard. he was very clear in his q&a with nadler that that effort went on throughout the investigation and he felt an interview with the president was vital to the investigation and he never got that interview. i found that especially interesting because the president told me directly on more than one occasion that he fully intended and willing to be interviewed under oath by the special counsel. obviously never happened. >> his team fought it every step of the way. pierre thomas you covered robert mueller a long time. we know robert mueller was a reluctant witness today. he fought over the restrictions and the timing. he didn't want to appear. he said his report was the testimony. it appeared there were questions from republicans raised how involved he was in the overall preparation of the report and the investigation itself.
7:12 am
>> that's right, george. mueller is not a made for television person. you're seeing that play out today. he's extremely -- as governor christie said, extremely careful in how he approaches these types of things. he's trying to say within the report. he's trying to defend the conclusions of the report by agreeing with the democrats where he sees fit. in terms of the attacks by the republicans he's perfectly content to ignore them. i think the thing he's been most animated about is trying to make this point that what the russians did in terms of attacking the election was sweeping and systematic. >> we just got a tweet from president trump cecelia. he's retweeting chris wallace saying it's been a disaster for the democrats. he's weighing in at the halfway mark. >> and quarterbacking and watching. he said he would be watching a little bit. the president has a light
7:13 am
schedule today. he's in washington. he has an open schedule. we expect him to be watching. we heard the preview attack lines coming out of the white house. they said the democrats want a do over of the do over of the do over. we'll hear that throughout the course of the day. we have to go back to mueller's opening statement. he came out swinging in a way. he contradicted what the president has been saying all along, the crux of his argument that he was totally exonerated. mueller said no. there may not be giant bombshells or revelations after that. hearing the special counsel on the record say the president of the united states was not exonerated by this investigation is big news. >> i did not reach the conclusion of no collusion and no obstruction. that gets to the question kate shaw one of the things the congressmen are trying to do is saying this is not a case that
7:14 am
could be prosecuted. robert mueller said i didn't even look at that. the question for the democrats is it a case robert mueller intended for them to pursue. >> the democrats didn't step in and pick up those lines of questioning. mueller says this is a unique situation when he responds to one of the questions. it's unique because he didn't have available the option of indicting the president. with leaving open the question, you know, the next sort of natural line is so the report discusses other constitutional mechanisms for addressing presidential misconduct. what are those mechanisms? clearly the report is referencing impeachment. >> will he say -- >> they need to ask. it's in the report. it's in a footnote. it's there. will he way in substantively on whether this is impeachable conduct? i doubt it. i think they should try.
7:15 am
>> terry, we've seen hearings like this in the past. the watergate hearings, the iran contra hearings. this one does seem remarkable. there doesn't seem to be anyone on either side who is going to move one inch from the party line. >> that's right. what you have is a story telling competition. you've got the mess of facts. the country is kind of confused about them. the democrats came in with a difficult challenge. tell a new story to the american public about something they think they already know. >> jerrold nadler is back at the podium.
7:16 am
you see jerrold nadler there with congressman collins as we wait for robert mueller to return to the hearing room. about another hour and a half of questioning is expected. chris christie, i don't know if you know the answer to this. what do you think robert mueller's team is telling him? >> i think they'll tell him continue to do what you're doing. take your time. they'll probably tell him to push back a little bit. i'm sure those folks are disturbed and we're surprised that he hasn't pushed back on the integrity of his
7:17 am
investigation. >> and his own integrity. >> the democrats have to do something different. they're not moving the ball politically. it's an impeachment -- >> they need to listen to the e >> the gentleman from louisiana. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. mueller, congressman deutch addressed trump's request to mcgahn to fire you. representative bass talked about the president's request of mcgahn to deny the fact the president made that request. i want to pick up where they left off. i want to pick up with the president's personal lawyer. in fact, there was evidence that the president's personal lawyer was alarmed at the president meeting with mr. mcgahn to discuss the refusal of mcgahn's
7:18 am
in the "new york times" report about firing you, correct? >> correct. >> the president's counsel was so alarmed about the meeting with mcgahn that he called mr. mcgahn's counsel and said that mcgahn could not resign no matter what happened in the oval office that day, correct? >> correct. >> it's accurate to say the president knew he was asking mcgahn to deny facts that mcgahn, quote, had repeatedly said were accurate, unquote, isn't that right? >> correct. >> your investigation also found, quote, by the time of the oval office meeting with the president the president was aware, one, that mcgahn did not think the story was false, two, did not want to issue a statement or create a written record denying facts that mcgahn believed to be true, the president nevertheless persisted
7:19 am
and asked mcgahn to repud yat facts that mcgahn repeatedly said were accurate, correct? >> generally true. >> i believe that's on page 119. thank you. in other words the president was trying to force mcgahn to say something that mcgahn did not believe to be true? >> that's accurate. >> i want to reference you to a slide on page 120. it says, substantial evidence indicates that in repeatedly urging mcgahn to dispute he was ordered to have the special counsel terminated, the president acting for the purpose of influencing mcgahn's account in order to deflect or prevent further scrutiny of the president's conduct towards the investigation. >> that's accurate. >> can you explain what you meant there? >> i believe it as it appears in the report.
7:20 am
>> it's fair to say the president tried to protect himself by asking staff to falsify records relevant to an ongoing investigation? >> i would say that's generally a summary. >> would you say that that action, the president trying to hamper the investigation by asking staff to -- >> i would refer you to the report if i could for review of that episode. >> thank you. the president's attempt to get mcgahn to create a false written record were related to mr. trump's concerns about your obstruction of justice inquiry correct? >> i believe that to be true. >> in fact at that same oval office meeting did the president also ask mcgahn, quote, why he told special counsel's office investigators that the president told him to have you removed, unquote? >> that was the question, sir?
7:21 am
>> let me go to the next one. the president criticized mcgahn for telling your office about the june 17, 2017 events when he told mcgahn to have you removed, correct? >> correct. >> in other words the president was criticizing his white house counsel for telling law enforcement officials what he believed to be the truth? >> again, go back to the text of the report. >> well, let me go a little bit further. would it have been a crime if mr. mcgahn lied to you about the president ordering him to fire you? >> i don't want to speculate. >> okay. is it true that you charged multiple people associated with the president for lying to you during your investigation? >> that is accurate. >> the president also complained that his staff were taking notes during the meeting about firing mcgahn, is that correct? >> that's what the report says. yeah, the report.
7:22 am
>> in fact, it's completely appropriate for the president's staff, especially his counsel, to take notes during a meeting, correct? >> i rely on the wording of the report. >> well, thank you, director mueller for your investigation into whether the president attempted to obstruct justice by ordering mcgahn to create a false record. it's clear any other person would be charged with a crime. we'll hold the president accountable because no one is above the law. >> the gentleman from florida. >> director mueller, can you state with confidence that the steele dossier was of russian's disin gn? >>ny openi sta that part of the building of the case pre-dated me by at least ten
7:23 am
months. >> paul manafort's alleged crimes pre-dated you. you had no problem charging him. this pre-dated the attorney general. he didn't have any problem answering the question. when the senator asked the attorney general the same question, he said i can't state that with confidence. that's one of the areas i'm reviewing. i'm concerned about it. i don't think it's entirely speculative. if something isn't entirely speculative, it must have factual basis. you identify no factual basis that it was part of the misinformation campaign. christopher steele's reference in your report, he reported to the fbi that sceenior russian ministry figures told him -- i'm quoting -- there was extensive evidence of conspiracy between the trump campaign team and the kremlin.
7:24 am
here's my question. did russians tell that to christopher steele or did he make it all up and was he lying to the fbi? >> let me back up for a second. i'll say as i said earlier with regard to the steele, that's beyond my purview. >> it's exactly your purview. only one of two things is possible. either steele made this whole thing up and there were never russians telling him of the vast conspiracy or russians lied to steele. if russians lied to steele that would seem to be precisely your purview. you stated in your opening that the organizing principal was to fully and thoroughly investigate russia's interference. you weren't interested in that and if if steel was lying. you should have charged him with lying like you charged other people. you say nothing about this in your report. >> well sir --
7:25 am
>> you write 3500 words about the june 9th meeting. you write on page 103 of your report the president's legal team suggested -- i'm quoting from your report -- that the meeting might have been a set up by individuals working with the firm that produced the steele reporting. i'll ask you an easy question. on the week of june 9th who did the russian lawyer meet with more frequently the trump campaign or glenn simpson who was acting as an operative for the democratic national committee? >> this is under investigation elsewhere. >> i get that -- >> if i could finish, sir. consequently it's not within my purview. the department of justice and the fbi should be responsive to questions on this issue. >> it's absurd to suggest an operative for the democrats was meeting with this russian lawyer the day before and day after the
7:26 am
trump tower meeting, yet you don't reference it. glenn simpson testified he had dinner the day before and the day after this meeting with the trump team. do you have any basis to believe that steele was lying? >> it's not my purview. others are investigating -- >> it's not your purview to look into whether or not steele is lying. it's not your purview to look into whether russians are lying to the trump campaign. it's your not your purview to look into whether glenn simpson is lying. i look at the inspector general's report, page 404. page stated trump's not ever going to be president, right? peter strzok replied no he's not. we'll stop it. there's somebody identified as attorney number two, page 419. hell no.
7:27 am
then added viva la resistance. they both worked on your team, didn't that? >> who? i heard peter strzok? >> the guy that said -- >> peter strzok worked for me for a period of time. so did the other guy. here's what i'm noticing. when people associated with trump you threw the book at them. when christopher steele lied, nothing. when glenn simpson met with russians, nothing. maybe the -- >> time of the gentlemanex >> mr. mueller, obstruction of justice is a serious crime that strikes at the core of an investigator's effort to find the truth, correct?
7:28 am
>> it has three elements? >> true. >> first is an obstructive act. >> correct. >> that could include taking an action that would delay or interview with an ongoing investigation as set forth in volume 2 page 87 and 88 of your report, true? >> i'm sorry. could you repeat the question? >> an obstructive act could include taking an action that would delay or interfere with an ongoing investigation? >> that's true. >> your investigation determined that president trump took steps to terminate the special counsel, correct? >> correct. >> does ordering the head of a criminal investigation constitute an obstructive act? >> that would be -- i would refer you to the report. >> let me refer you to page 87 and 88 of volume 2 where you conclude the attempt to remove
7:29 am
the special counsel would qualify as an obstructive act if it would obstruct the grand jury proceedings that would flow from the inquiry? >> yes. >> the presence of an obstructive act in connection with an official proceeding? >> true. >> does the investigation into the potential wrong doing of donald trump constitute an official proceeding? >> that's an area i cannot get into. >> president trump tweeted on june 16, 2017 quote i'm being investigated for firing the fbi director by the man who told me to fire the fbi director. witch hunt. the june 16th tweet was cited on page 89, volume 2 constitutes a public acknowledge of president
7:30 am
trump that he was under criminal investigation, correct? >> i think generally correct. >> one day later on saturday, june 17th, president trump called white house counsel don mcgahn at home and directed him to fire the special counsel, true? >> i believe to be true. i may have stated in response to questions some. >> that is correct. president trump told don mcgahn, quote, mueller has to go, closed quote, correct? >> correct. >> your report found on page 89, volume 2 that received indicates by june 17th the president knew his conduct was under investigation by a federal prosecutor who could present any evidence of crime toss a grand jury, true? >> true. >> the second element having been satisfied. the third element is corrupt intent, true? >> true. >> that exists if the president
7:31 am
acting to obstruct a proceeding for the improper purpose of protecting his own interests, correct? >> that's generally correct. the only thing i would say is we are going through the three elements of the proof of the obstruction of justice charges when the fact of the matter is we got -- excuse me one second. >> mr. mueller, let me move on in the interest of time. learning about the appointment of special counsel donald trump stated to the attorney general oh, my god this is terrible. this is the end of my presidency. i'm fed. is that correct? >> correct. >> is it fair to say donald trump viewed this investigation as adverse to his own interest? >> generally that's true. >> the president knew he should not have directed don mcgahn to
7:32 am
fire the special counsel, correct? >> where is that quote? >> page 90 volume 2. there's evidence the president knew he should not have made those calls to mcgahn. >> that's accurate. >> the investigation found substantial evidence that president trump urged mcgahn to dispute he was ordered to have the special counsel terminated, correct? >> correct. >> the investigation found substantial evidence when the president ordered don mcgahn to fire the special counsel and lie about it, donald trump, one, committed an obstructive act, two connected to a proceeding, three did so with corrupt intent. those are the elements of obstruction of justice. this is the united states of america. no one is above the law. no one. the president must be held accountable one way or the other. >> let me just say if i might, i don't subscribe necessarily to
7:33 am
your dash the way you analyze that. i'm not saying it's out of the ballpark. i'm not supportive of that analytical charge. >> thank you. >> thank you mr. chairman. mr. mueller, over here. >> hi. >> thank you for your service. you joined the marines and led a rifle platoon in vietnam where you earned commendations. you served as an assistant united states attorney here in d.c., u.s. district attorney for massachusetts and later northern district of california, and the fbi director. thank you. i appreciate that. having reviewed your biography it puzzles me why you handled your duties in this case the way you did. the report contradicts what you taught young attorneys at the department of justice including to ensure the defendant is treated fairly. the prosecutor is not the party
7:34 am
of an ordinary party, but to a sovereignty. justice shall be done and the prosecutor may strike hard blows, but not foul ones. by listing the ten factual situations and not reaching a conclusion crow shifted the burden of proof to the president, forcing him to defend his innocence by denying him a legal forum to do so. i never heard of a prosecutor declining a case, but then holding a press conference. you noted you had a legal duty to prosecutor decline charges despite this you disregarded that duty. as a former prosecutor i'm troubled with your legal analysis. you discussed ten separate factual patterns and then you failed to apply the elements of the applicable statutes. i looked at the ten factual
7:35 am
situations and read the case law. looking at the flynn matter for example, the four statutes that you cited for possible obstruction, when i look at those concerning the flynn matter, 1503 isn't applicable. there wasn't a grand jury impanelled. director comey was not an officer of the court as defined by the statute. 1505 criminalizes acts that would obstruct or impede. the manual states that the fbi investigation is not a pending proceeding. 1512 b 3 talks about intimidation, threats, force to tamper with a witness. general flynn was not a witness and certainly director comey was not a witness. 1512 c 2 talks about tampering
7:36 am
with the record as joe biden de as being debated on the senate floor, he called this a statute criminalizing document shredding. there's nothing in your report alleging the president destroyed any evidence. what i have to ask you and what i think people are working around in this hearing is -- let me lay foundation. the ethical rules require that a prosecutor have a reasonable probability of conviction to bring a charge, is that correct? >> sounds generally accurate. >> okay. the regulations concerning your job as special counsel state that your job is to provide the attorney general with a confidential report of decisions reached by your office. you recommended declining prosecution of president trump and anyone associated with his campaign because there was insufficient evidence to convict for a charge of conspiracy with
7:37 am
russia in the election, is that fair? >> that's fair. >> was there sufficient evidence to convict president trump or anyone else with obstruction of justice? >> we didn't make the calculation. >> how could you not? >> the office of legal counsel indicates we could not indict a sitting president. one of the tools that the prosecutor would use is not there. >> let me just stop. you made the decision on the russian interference. you couldn't have indicted the president on that. you made the decision on that. when it came to obstruction you threw a bunch of stuff up against the wall to see what you could stick. >> i would not agree with that c characterization. we provided to the attorney general our opinion of the case, those cases that were brought, those cases that were declined. the one case where the president
7:38 am
cannot be charged with a crime. >> okay. but the -- could you charge the president with a crime after he left office? >> yes. >> you believe he committed -- you could charge the president of the united states with obstruction of justice after he left office? >> yes. >> under the ethical standards? >> i'm not certain because i haven't looked at the ethical standards. the on or about oc opinion is that a prosecutor cannot bring a charge against a sitting president, but can continue the investigation to see if there are other persons brought into the conspiracy. >> the time has expired. the general man from rhode island. >> i would like to ask you being on page 90, by curtail you mean
7:39 am
limit. >> right. >> because mr. mcgahn refused the order to fire you the president asked others. >> correct. >> was corey lewandowski one individual? >> remind me. >> did he have any official position in the trump administration? >> i don't believe so. >> your report describes an incident in the oval office involves mr. lewandowski at -- >> i'm sorry what's the citation sir? >> page 91, a meeting between mr. lewandowski and the president. >> okay. >> that was two days after the president called don mcgahn and ordered him to fire you, is that correct? >> apparently. >> after mr. mcgahn refused to fire you. the president came up with a new
7:40 am
plan. that was to have a private citizen try to limit your investigation. what did the president tell mr. lewandowski to do? he dictated a message for mr. lewandowski and asked him to write it done, is that correct? >> true. >> did you and your team see this handwritten message? >> i'm not going to get into what we may or may not have included. >> the message directed sessions -- i'm quoting -- to give a public speech saying he planned to meet with the special prosecutor to explain it's very unfair and let the special prosecutor move forward for future elections. >> i see that. thank you. >> mr. lewandowski was instructed by the president of the united states to deliver a message from the president to the attorney general that directed him to limit your investigation, correct? >> correct. >> at this time mr. sessions was still recused from oversight of
7:41 am
your investigation, correct? >> i'm sorry. >> the attorney general was recused from oversight? >> yes. >> he would have had to violate his own departments rules, correct? >> i'm not going to get into the details. i refer you to page 91 and 92 of the report. >> if the attorney general followed through with the president's request it would have ended your investigation into the president and his campaign as you note on page 97, correct? >> could you -- >> page 97 you write taken together the president's directives indicate that sessions was being instructed to tell the special counsel to ends the existing investigation into the president and his campaign with the special counsel being permitted to move forward with investigating election meddling for future elections. >> generally true. >> the attempt to obstruct justice is a crime?
7:42 am
>> that's correct. >> mr. lewandowski tried to meet with the attorney general. >> true. >> he tried to meet with him in his office so he was assured there wasn't a public log. >> according to what we gathered in the report. >> the meeting never happened. i quote, if sessions doesn't meet with the lewandowski should tell sessions he was fired, correct? >> correct. >> lewandowski then asked mr. deerborn to deliver the message and he refuses to deliver it because he doesn't feel comfortable, is that correct? >> generally correct. >> just so we're clear, mr. mueller, two days after don mcgahn refused to carry out the president's order to fire you, the president directed a private citizen to tell the attorney general of the united states to limit your investigation to future elections ending your
7:43 am
investigation into the 2016 trump campaign, is that correct? >> i'm not going to adopt your characterization. facts laid out in the report are accurate. >> on page 97 you write substantial evidence indicates that the president's effort to have sessions limit the scope to future elections was intended to prevent further investigative scrutiny of the president and his campaign conduct, is that correct? >> generally. >> so mr. mueller, you have seen the letter where 1,000 former republican and democrat federal prosecutors read your report and said anyone but the president who committed those acts they would be charged with obstruction of justice, do you agree with that? >> those -- >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. mueller, your team wrote in the report, quote, top of page 2
7:44 am
volume 1, you said that you came to the conclusion that the investigation did not establish that members of the trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the russian government. that's an accurate statement? >> that's accurate. >> when did you personally come to that conclusion? >> can you remind me which paragraph? >> top of page two, volume 1. >> okay. exactly which paragraph on two? >> the investigation did not establish -- >> i see. what was your question? >> when did you personally reach that conclusion? >> well, we were ongoing for two years. >> you were ongoing. you wrote it at some point during that period. at some point you came to a conclusion that i don't think
7:45 am
there's a -- there's not a conspiracy going on. there was no conspiracy between this president -- i'm not talk about this president's team. i'm talking about this president and the russians. >> developing a criminal case you get pieces of information, witnesses and the like and you make your case. >> right. >> when you make a decision on a particular case, depends on a number of factors. >> i understand all that. >> i can't say specifically that we reached a decision on a particular defendant at a particular point in time. >> it was sometime before you wrote the report. you wrote the report dealing with a myriad of issues. certainly sometime before that you reached a decision with regard to the president himself, i don't find anything here. fair enough? >> i'm not certain i agree with that. >> you waited for the last minute when you were writing the report? >> no. there were various aspects.
7:46 am
>> there are various aspects that happen. somewhere along the pike you come to the conclusion there's nothing there for this defendant. >> i can't speak to that. >> you can't say when. i'm asking the sworn witness. mr. mueller, evidence suggests on may 10, 2017, six days before you were appointed special counsel mr. rose ev rosenthal c you about the appointment of that special counsel. >> i don't have any knowledge of that. >> you don't recall or you don't have any knowledge.
7:47 am
there's evidence that suggests that phone call took place and that's what was said. on may 12, 2017 five days before you were appointed special counsel you met with mr. rosenthal in person. did you discuss that there would be a special counsel appointed then? >> i've gone into waters that don't allow me to give you an answer. it's the internal conversations and the indicting -- >> it has nothing to do with indicting. four days before you were appointed special counsel you met with former attorney general sessions and rosenstein and spoke about special at >> offhand no. >> on may 16th, the day before you were appointed special counsel you met with the president and rod rosenstein, do
7:48 am
you remember that meeting? >> yes. >> did you discuss at any time in that meeting mr. comey's termination? >> no. >> did you discuss at any time in that meeting the appointment of special counsel, not necessarily you, but in general terms? >> i can't get into discussions on that. >> how many times did you speak to mr. rosenstein before the day you got appointed regarding the apartment appointment of a special counsel? >> i can't tell you how many times. >> you don't recall or you -- >> i don't recall. >> thank you. how many times did you speak with mr. comey about any investigations prior to may 17, 2017? >> zero. >> okay. now, my time has expired. >> the time of the gentleman has expired. the gentleman from california. >> director mueller, going back to the president's obstruction
7:49 am
via corey lewandowski, it was referenced that 1,000 former prosecutors who served under republican and democrat wrote a letter about the president's conduct. are you familiar with that letter? >> yes. >> some of the people that signed that letter are people you worked with, is that right? >> quite probably yes. >> people you respect? >> quite probably. >> in that letter they said all this conduct trying to control and impede the investigation of the president is similar to conduct we have seen charged against other public officials and people in powerful positions. are they wrong? >> they have a different case. >> you want to sign that letter, director mueller? >> they have a different case. >> director mueller, thank you for your service going back to the '60s when you served in
7:50 am
vietnam. because of our limited time i'll ask to enter this letter into the record under unanimous consent and yield to my colleague from california mr. lieu. >> thank you, director mueller, for your service including your service as a marine where you earned a bronze star. i would like to turn to the elements of obstruction of justice as applied to the president's attempts to curtail your investigation. the first element requires an obstructive act, correct? >> correct. >> i would direct you to page 97 of volume 2. you wrote there, quote, sessions was being instructed to tell the special counsel to end the existing investigation into the president and his campaign, unquote. that's in the report, correct? >> correct. >> that would be evidence of an
7:51 am
obstructive act because it would naturally obstruct the investigation correct? >> correct. >> turn to the second element of the crime of obstruction of justice which requires a nexus to an official proceeding. you wrote, quote, by the time the president's initial one on one meeting with lewandowski on june 19, 2017, the existence of a grand jury investigation supervised by the special counsel was public knowledge. that's in the report? >> correct. >> that would constitute evidence of a nexus to an official proceeding because a grand jury investigation is an official proceeding, correct? >> yes. >> i would turn to the final element of the crime of obstruction of justice. on page 97 do you see where there's the intent section on that page? >> i do. >> would you be willing to read the first sentence? >> starting with? >> substantial evidence.
7:52 am
read the first sentence would you? >> i'm happy to have you read it. >> you wrote quote substantial evidence indicates that the president's effort to have sessions limit the scope of the special counsel's investigation to few clur elections was intended to prevent further scrutiny of the president and his campaign's conduct, unquote. that's in the report? >> correct. that's in the report and i rely on the report to indicate what's happening in the paragraphs we've been discussing. >> thank you. to recap what we heard, we heard that the president ordered former white house counsel don mcgahn to fire you. the president ordered don mcgahn to cover that up and create a false paper trail. now we heard the president ordered corey lewandowski to tell jeff sessions to limit your investigation so you stop
7:53 am
investigating the president. i believe a reasonable person looking at these facts could conclude that all three elements of the crime of obstruction of justice have been met. i would like to ask you, the reason again you did not indict donald trump is because of ooc opinion stating you cannot indict a sitting president, correct? >> that is correct. >> the fact that the orders by the president were not carried out, this is not a defense to obstruction of justice because the statute itself is broad. it says as long as you endeavor or attempt to obstruct justice, that would constitute a crime. >> i'm not getting into that at this juncture. >> thank you. based on the evidence we have heard today i believe a reasonable person could conclude at least three crimes of obstruction of justice by the president occurred. we'll hear about two additional crimes. that would be the witness tampering of michael cohen and
7:54 am
paul manafort. >> i'll add i'm going through the elements with you and that does not mean that i subscribe to what you're trying to prove through those elements. >> time for the gentleman is expired. the gentle lady from arizona. i'm sorry the gentleman from california. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. mueller, thanks for joining us. you had three discussions with rod rosenstein about your appointment as special counsel. >> i have no reason to dispute that. >> then you met with the president on the 16th with rod present and on the 17th you were appointed as special counsel. were you meeting with the president on the 16th with knowledge you were under consideration for the appointment as special counsel? >> i don't believe i was under consideration for special counsel. i had served two terms as fbi
7:55 am
director. >> the answer is no? >> the answer is no. >> greg jarret describes your office as the team of partisans. there's a growing concern that political bias caused important facts to be omitted from your report to cast the president in a negative light. john dowd lives a message for michael flynn's lawyer in november of 2017. the edited version in your report makes it appear he was improperly asking for confidential information. that's all we would know except the judge in the flynn case ordered the entire transcript released in which dowd makes it clear that's not what he was suggesting. why did you edit the transcript? >> we didn't do anything to hide. >> you omitted the part where he says we need some kind of heads
7:56 am
up. you omitted the portion where he says without giving any confidential information. >> i'm not going to go further. >> you discuss con stan teen discussions withmanafort. you said he had ties to russian intelligence. that's all we know from your report. we've learned from news articles he was actually a u.s. state department intelligence source. nowhere in your report is he identified. why was that -- >> i don't credit what you're saying occurred. >> were you aware he was -- >> i'm not going to go into the ins and outs of what we had in the course of our investigation. >> did you interview him? >> pardon? >> did you interview? >> i can't go into the discussion of our investigation.
7:57 am
>> that is the basis of your report. the problem we're having is we have to rely on your report for an accurate reflection of the evidence and we're starting to find out that's not proof. your report famously links russian troll farms with the russian government. in a hearing on may 28th, the judge both you and mr. barr for producing no evidence to support this claim. why did you say russia was responsible for the troll farms when you supplied no evidence to support it? >> i'm not getting into that any further. >> you have left the impression with the country that it was the russian government behind the troll farms. when you're called upon to produce evidence in court, you failed to do so. >> i dispute your
7:58 am
characterization of what occurred. >> the judge considered holding prosecutors in criminal contempt. she backed off after your hastily called press conference which you made the distinction between the russian government and the russian troll farms. did your press conference have anything to do with the threat to hold prosecutors in contempt the previous day for improper evidence? >> what was the question? >> did your may 29th press conference have anything to do with the fact the previous day the judge threatened to hold your prosecutors in contempt for misrepresenting evidence? >> no. >> the fundamental problem, as i said, we have to take your word of your team faithfully, accurately, impartially describing all the evidence in the mueller report. we're finding more instances
7:59 am
where this isn't the case. it's starting to look like having desperately having tried to make a legal case against the president, you made a political case instead. >> i don't think you reviewed a report as thorough, as fair, as consistent as the report in front of us. >> the time is expired. the gentleman from maryland. >> let's go to a fourth episode of obstruction of justice in the form of witness tampering urging witnesses not to cooperate with law enforcement. it's a felony. you found the president engaged in efforts to encourage witnesses not to cooperate with the investigation, is that right. >> that is correct.
8:00 am
do you have a citation? >> page 7, volume 2. one of these witnesses with michael cohen who ultimately pled guilty to lying to congress about the $1 billion trump tower deal. after the fbi searched cohen's home, the president called him personally he said to check in and told him to hang in there and stay strong, is that right? >> if it's in the report as stated, yes it's right. >> also in the report are a series of calls made by other friends of president, one reached out to say he was with the boss in mar-a-lago and the president said he loves you. his name is redacted. another redacted friend called to say the boss loves you. a third redacted friend said everyone knows the boss has your back. do you remember that? >> generally, yes. >> when the news -- in fact
8:01 am
cohen said that following the receipt of these messages i'm quoting page 147, he believed he had the support of the white house if he continued to tow the party line and he determined to stay on message and be part of the team. that's page 147. do you remember generally finding that? >> generally, yes. >> robert costello a lawyer close to the president's legal team emailed cohen to say you are loved. they are in our corner. sleep well tonight and you have friends in high places. that's on the screen major 147. >> i see that. >> when the news first broke that cohen arranged pay offs to stormy daniels cohen stuck to the party line. he said publicly neither the trump organization or the trump campaign was a party and neither
8:02 am
reimbursed him. trump's personal attorney at that point quickly texted cohen to say, quote, client says thank you for what you do. mr. mueller, who is the capital c client thanking cohen for what he does? >> can't speak to that. >> the assumption in the context suggests very strongly it's president trump. >> i can't speak to that. >> cohen later broke and pled guilty to campaign finance offenses and admitted they were made at the direction of candidate trump. do you remember that? >> after the guilty plea the president changed his tune towards mr. cohen, didn't he? >> i would say -- i rely on what's in the report. >> he made the suggestion that cohen family members committed crimes. he targeted his father-in-law and suggested he was guilty of committing crimes, right? >> generally accurate. >> on page 154 you give a
8:03 am
powerful summary of the changing dynamics. you said -- i'm happy to have you read it. >> i have it in front of me. >> would you like to read it? >> i would. could you read it out loud? >> i would be happy to have you read it. >> the evidence concerning this sequence of events could support that the president used inducements in order to get cohen to not cooperate and then turned to attacks and intimidation to undermine cohen's credibility once he began cooperating. >> i believe that's accurate. >> in my view if anyone else engaged in these actions they would be charged with witness tampering. in america no person is so high as to be above the law. i yield back. >> the gentleman yields back. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
8:04 am
recently, mr. mueller, mr. lieu was asking you questions. the reason you didn't indict the president was because of the ooc opinion. you answered that is correct. that's not what you said in the report. it's not what you attorney attorney general barr. in a joint statement you released with doj on may 29th after your press conference your office issued a joint statement with the department of justice that said the attorney general previously stated that the special counsel repeatedly affirmed that he was not saying that but for the ooc opinion he would have found the president obstructed joustice.lear the office concluded it would not reach a determination one way or the other whether the president committed a crime.
8:05 am
there is no conflict between these statements. mr. mueller, do you stand by your joint statement with doj you issued on may 29th as you sit here today? >> i would have to look at it more closely before i say i agree with it. >> well, you know, my conclusion is that what you told mr. lieu really contradicts what you said in the report and specifically what you said apparently repeatedly to attorney general barr that -- then you issued a joint statement on may 29th saying that the attorney general has previously stated that the special repeatedly concurred he was not saying but for the ooc report we would not have found the president obstructed justice. mr. mueller, there's been a lot of talk about firing the special counsel and curtailing the
8:06 am
investigation. were you ever fired, mr. mueller? >> was it what? >> were you ever fired? >> not that i know. >> no. were you allowed to complete your investigation unencumbered? >> yes. >> you resigned when you closed the office in may 2019, is that correct? >> that is correct. >> thank you. mr. mueller, on april 18th the attorney general held a press conference in conjunction with the public release of your report. did attorney general barr say anything inaccurate either in his press conference or his march 24th letter to congress summarizing the principal conclusions of your report? >> what you are not mentioning is the letter we sent on march 27th to mr. barr that raised some issues. that letter speaks for itself.
8:07 am
>> then i don't see how you could -- that could be since ag barr's letter detailed the principal conclusions of your report and you have said before that that there wasn't anything inaccurate. in fact you had this joint statement. let me go on to another question. mr. mueller, rather than purely relying on the evidence provided on witness and documents i think you relied on media. how many times did you cite "the washington post" in your report? >> how many times i what? >> cited the "washington post" in your report? >> i don't have knowledge of that figure. that's it. i don't have knowledge of that figure. >> i counted about 60 times. how many times did you cite "the new york times"? >> i have no idea. >> i have counted about 75
8:08 am
times. how many times did you cite fox news? >> as with the other two, i have no idea. >> about 25 times. i've got to say it looks like volume 2 is mostly regurgitated press stories. there's almost nothing in volume 2 that i couldn't already hear or know by having a $50 cable news subscription. your investigation cost the american tax payers $25 million. you cited media reports nearly 200 times. in a small footnote number 7, volume two this summarizes various news stories not for the truth of the information but rather to place candidate trump's reaction.
8:09 am
are you concerned the american public took the news stories -- >> the time is expired. >> can mr. mueller answer the question? >> no. we're running short on time. >> i said the gentle lady from washington. >> thank you. director mueller, turn to the fifth of the obstruction episodes that's whether president trump engaged with witness tampering with paul manafort whose foreign ties were critical to your investigation into russian interference in our election. your office got indictments against manafort and trump deputy campaign manager rick gates, correct? >> correct. >> your office found after a grand jury indicted them manafort told gates not to plead guilty because, quote, he talked to the president, the president's person counsel and they were going to take care of
8:10 am
us. is that correct? >> that's accurate. >> one day after manafort's conviction on eight felony charges the president said that flipping was not fair and almost ought to be out lawed, is that correct? >> i'm aware of that. >> in this context what does it mean to flip? >> have somebody cooperate in a criminal investigation? >> how essential is that cooperation to any efforts to combat crime? >> i'm not going to go beyond that. >> thank you. in your report you concluded that president trump and rudy giuliani made repeated statements suggesting a pr don was a possibility for manafort while making it clear that the president didn't want manafort to flip and cooperate, correct? >> correct. >> witness tampering can be shown where someone encourages another person to not cooperate with law enforcement, is that correct? >> correct. >> you also discuss the
8:11 am
president's motive. you say that as court proceedings moved forward against manafort president trump, quote, discussed with aidewhether and it what way manafort might be cooperating and whether manafort knew any information harmful to the president? >> that was a request from -- >> page 123, volume 2. when someone tries to stop another person fwr workirom worh law enforcement, it seems clear this is a classic definition of witness tampering. mr. manafort cooperated with your office and entered a plea graemt, then he broke that agreement. can you describe what he did? >> i refer you to the court proceedings on that issue. >> on page 127, you told the court that mr. manafort lied about a number of matters material to the investigation
8:12 am
and you said that manafort's lawyers also regularly briefed the president's lawyers on topics discussed and the information that manafort provided in interviews with the special counsel's office. >> the course of that? >> 127, volume 2. >> if it's from the report, i support it. >> two days after you told the court that manafort broke his plea agreement by lying, did president trump tell the press that mr. manafort was, quote, very brave because he did not flip? page 128, volume 2. >> if it's in the report, i support it as it is set forth. >> in your report you make a serious conclusion about the evidence. let me read to you from your report. evidence concerning the president's conduct towards manafort indicates that the president intended to encourage manafort to not cooperate with
8:13 am
the government. it is clear that the president both publicly and privately discouraged mr. manafort's cooperation while also dangling the promise of a pardon if he stayed loyal and didn't share what he knew about the president. anyone else who did these things would be prosecuted for them. we must ensure no one is above the law. thank you for being here. yield back. >> the gentleman from pennsylvania. >> thank you. mr. mueller, over here. i'm sorry. mr. mueller, are you familiar with the expired independent counsel statute. it's the statute under which ken starr was appointed? >> what? i'm sorry. >> are you familiar with the independent counsel statute? >> now or previous? >> the one with ken starr was appointed? >> i'm not sure. >> the clinton administration allowed it to expire after ken
8:14 am
starr's investigation. the final report was a major reason why the statute was allowed to expire. even president clinton's ag expressed concerns. i'll quote ag reno. she said on one hand the american people have an interest in knowing the outcome of an investigation. on the other hand the report requirement cuts against many of the most basic traditions and practices of american law enforcement. under our system we presume innocence and value privacy. we believe information obtained during a criminal investigation should in most cases be made public only if there's an indictment and prosecution, not any lengthy and detailed report filed after a decision has been made not to prosecute. the final report provides a forum for unfairly airing a target's dirty laundry. it creates another incentive for
8:15 am
an independent counsel to ov overinvestigaove overinvestigate in order to avoid criticism. mr. mueller, those are ag reno's words. didn't you do exactly what she feared? didn't you publish a lengthy report unfairly airing the defendant's dirty laundry? >> i disappegree with that. can i finish? >> quickly. >> i operate under the current statute, not the previous statute. >> did any of the witnesses have an opportunity to be cross-examin cross-examined? >> i'm not going to answer that. >> did you allow the people mentioned in your report to challenge how they were characterized? >> i'm not getting into that.
8:16 am
>> ag barr stated during his confirmation hearing that he would make your report public, did you write your report knowing it would be made public? >> no. >> did that alter the contents you included? >> i can't speak to that. >> despite the expectations that your report would be released to the public you left out ex kul p tory evidence, correct? >> i disagree with you. >> you said there was evidence you left out. >> you make a choice as to what goes into a -- >> isn't it true that on page 1, volume 2, you state quoting the statute that you had an obligation to prosecut prosecut
8:17 am
not prosecute? >> that's generally the case. >> you made a decision not to prosecute, correct? >> we made a decision not to decide whether to prosecute or not. >> you compiled nearly 450 pages of the very worst information you gathered against the target of your investigation who happens to be the president of the united states and you did this knowing that you were not going to recommend charges and the report would be made public. >> not true. >> mr. mueller, as a former officer in the united states jag core i prosecuted nearly 100 terrorists, i cross examined the butcher in defense or our navy s.e.a.l.s.
8:18 am
i'm well versed in the legal system. the drafting of some of the information in this report without an indictment without bros ku prosecution flies in the face of the american justice. i found those facts and the entire process unamerican. i yield the rest of my time to jim jordan. >> mr. mueller, the third fisa renewal happens when you were in office. >> i'm not going to talk to that. >> the time has expired. >> director mueller, a couple of my colleagues wanted to ask you about lies. let's talk about lies. according to your report witnesses lied to your office and to congress. those lies materially impaired the investigation of russia interference according to your report. other than the individuals who pled guilty to crimes based on lying to you and your team did other witnesses lie to you?
8:19 am
>> there are probably some witnesses in terms of those who are not telling the full truth and those who are out right liars. >> thank you very much. it's fair to say there are limits on what evidence was available to your investigation of russia election interference and obstruction of justice. >> that's true. that's usually the case. >> lies by trump campaign officials and administration officials impeded your investigation. >> i would generally agree with that. >> thank you so much, director mueller. you'll be hearing more from me in the next hearing. i yield the balance of my time. >> mr. mueller, let me welcome you. thank you for your service to our country. you're a hero. vietnam war vet. >> thank you, sir.
8:20 am
>> we have gone in-depth of five possible episodes of obstruction. there's so much more. i have want to focus on the president's conduct concerning michael flynn, the president's national security adviser. the white house counsel and the president were informed that mr. flynn lied to government authorities about his communication with the russian ambassador during the trump campaign in transition. is this correct? >> correct. >> if a hostile nation knows a u.s. official has lied publicly, that can be used to blackmail that government official, correct? >> i'm not going to speak to that. i don't disagree necessarily, but i'm not going to speak anymore to that issue. >> thank you very much, sir. flynn resigned on february 13, 2016. the next day when the president was having lunch wh governor
8:21 am
chris christie did the president say now that we fired flynn the russia thing is over, closed quote, is that correct? >> correct. >> is it true that christie responded by saying no, way and this russia thing is far from over closed quote? >> that's the way we have it in the report. >> thank you. after the president met with christie later that same day the president arranged to meet with fbi director james comey alone in the oval office, correct? >> correct, particularly if you have the citation? >> volume 2. >> thank you. >> according to comey the president told him, quote, i hope you can see your way to letting this thing go, to letting flynn go. he's a good guy and i hope you can let it go.
8:22 am
closed quote. page 40, volume 2. >> accurate. >> what did comey understand the president to be asking? >> i'm not going to be getting into what was in mr. comey's mind. >> comey understood this to be a direction because of the president's position and the circumstances of the one to one meeting, page 40, volume 2. >> it's in the report and i support it as being in the report. >> thank you, sir. even though the president publicly denied telling comey to drop the investigation you found, open quote, substantial evidence corroborating comey's account, is that correct? >> correct. >> the president fired comey may 9th, is that correct? >> i believe that's the accurate date. >> page 77, volume 2. you found substantial evidence that the catalyst for the
8:23 am
president's firing of comey was comey's unwillingness to openly state that the president was not personally under investigation. >> i'm not going to delve into the details. if it's in the report i support it and it appropriately appears in the report. >> that's page 75, volume 2. >> thank you. >> the very next day the president told the russian foreign minister, i just fired the head of the fbi. he was crazy, a real nut job. i faced great pressure because of russia. that's taken off. i'm not under investigation, closed quote. is that correct? >> that's what was written in the report. >> time of the gentlemanexpire. >> thank you. >> the gentleman from virginia. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. mueller, we've heard a lot about what you're not going to talk about. let's talk about something you should be able to talk about the
8:24 am
law itself. particularly an interpretation of section 1512c. it's an obstruction of justice created as far as auditing for public companies. on page 164, volume 2 it was explained as closing a loophole with respect to document shredding. to read the statute whoever alters, destroys an object or attempts to do so to use the object in an official proceeding or impedes any official proceeding should be confined to prison. your analysis proposes to give that clause a broader
8:25 am
interpretation. first your analysis prohibits any act of the proceeding with an improper motive. plus it proposes the sweeping action of lawful acts if those acts influence a proceeding. mr. mueller, i would ask you in analyzing the obstruction you state that you recognize that the department of justice and the courts have not definitively resolved these issues, correct? >> correct. >> you would agree not everyone in the justice department agreed with your legal theory? >> i'm not going to be involved in a discussion on that. >> di withr interpretation of the correct? >> i leave that to the attorney general. >> prosecutors sometimes incorrectly apply the law. >> i would agree with that.
8:26 am
>> members of your legal team have had their convictions overturned when -- >> i don't know what you're referring to. >> one of your top prosecutors adam wiseman obtained a conviction which was overturned that rejected the legal theory advanced by wiseman, correct? >> i'm not going to get into that. >> let me read from that. >> may i finish? >> yes. >> i'm not going to get into a discussion on that. i'll refer you to that citation that you gave mef at the out sit f for the lengthy discussion. to the extent i have anything to say about it it's in the report. >> i'm reading from your report. i'll read the decision of the supreme court reversing mr. wiseman. it's striking how little
8:27 am
culpability the instruction is required. the jury was told that if they believed the conduct was lawful they could convict. it also covered innocent conduct. >> let me just say -- >> let me move on. i have limited time. i'm concerned about the implications of your theory. to emphasize how broad your theory is, on october 11, 2015 during the fbi investigation into hillary clinton's use of private email serve president obama said he doesn't think it was a problem. assuming his comments influenced the investigation couldn't president obama be charged under your interpretation of obstruction of justice? >> i refer to the report. let me say that andrew wiseman
8:28 am
is one of the most talented attorneys we have on board. he has run a very -- >> i have limited time. andrew mccabe was called that fbi agents were pursuing the official clinton probe. the doj was officials pissed off. this seems to be an example with somebody wanting to influence an investigation. couldn't that person be charged with obstruction as long as a person -- >> i refer you to our dissertation on those issues that appears in the report. >> mr. mueller, i would argue that it says -- >> time of the gentleman was
8:29 am
expired. our intent was to conclude the meeting. we will ask to go below the five-minute timeframe to finish. i go to the gentle lady from pennsylvania. >> i want to ask you about the wikileaks stumps. the person refused to sit down for an in person interview correct? >> correct. >> the only answers are in appendix c to your report. >> that's true. >> looking at appendix c on page five you asked the president a dozen questions about whether he had knowledge that wikileaks possessed or might possess the emails stolen by the russians. >> i apologize. can you start again? >> sure.
8:30 am
appendix c, page five. you asked the president a dozen questions about whether he had knowledge that wikileaks possessed the stolen emails that might be released in a way helpful to his campaign or harmful to the clinton campaign, is that correct? >> yes. >> in february of this year mr. trump's personal attorney michael cohen testified to congress under oath that, quote, mr. trump knew from roger stone in advance about the wikileaks drop of emails. that's a matter of public record? >> are you referring to the report? >> this was testimony before congress by mr. cohen. >> i'm not familiar with what he testified to before congress. >> okay. let's look at an event described on page 18 of volume 2 of your report. according -- we'll put it up on a slide. according to deputy campaign
8:31 am
manager rick gates in the summer of 2016 he and candidate trump were on the way to an airport shortly after wikileaks released its first set of stolen emails. gates told your investigators that candidate trump was on a phone call and when the call ended trump told gates that more releases of damaging information would be coming. do you recall that? >> if it's in the report, i support it. >> that's on page 18 of volume 2. on page 77 of volume 2 your report stated, quote, in addition some witnesses said that trump privately sought information about future wikileaks releases, is that correct? >> correct. >> in appendix c where the president answered written questions he said, quote, i don't recall discussing wikileaks with him, nor do i recall being aware of mr. stone
8:32 am
discussing wikileaks with individuals in my campaign, is that correct? >> if it's in the report, it's correct. >> is it fair to say the president denied discussing wikileaks with mr. stone? >> i'm sorry. could you repeat? >> is it fair that the president denied knowledge of himself or anyone else discussing wikileaks dumps with mr. stone? >> okay. >> with that i would yield back. >> thank you, ma'am. >> thank you, mr. chair. mr. mueller, over here. did you interview for the fbi director job one day before you were appointed as special counsel? >> my understanding i was not applying for job. i was asked to give my input on what it would take to do the job, which triggered the interview you're talking about. >> you don't recall on may 16,
8:33 am
2017 you interviewed with the president regarding the fbi director job? >> i interviewed with the president. >> about the fbi director job. >> it was about the job, but not me applying for the job. >> your statement is you didn't apply for the fbi director job? >> that's correct. >> did you tell the vice president that the fbi director position would be the one position you would come back for? >> i don't recall that. >> you don't recall? >> no. >> given your 22 months of investigation, tens of millions dollars spent, did you obtain any evidence at all that any american voter changed their vote as a result of russian interference? >> i can't speak to that. >> there's not any evidence in that document that any voter changed their vote based on that. >> that was outside our purview. >> russian meddling was outside your purview? >> the impact of that meddling
8:34 am
was under taken by other agencies. >> you stated that you would not get into the details of steele dossier however in volume 2 you mentioned the unverified obligations. how long did it take you to reach the conclusion it was unverified? >> i'm not going to speak to that. >> it's in your report multiple times and you're not willing to tell us how you came to the conclusion it was unverified? >> true. >> when did you become aware the unverified steele dossier was supplied in the carter documentation? >> i'm sorry? >> when did you become aware the unverified steele dossier was included in the iffisa application? >> you can't tell this committee
8:35 am
whether you interviewed christopher steele? >> as i said at the outset, that's one of the investigations that is being handled by others in the department of justice. >> you're testifying about this investigation today. i'm asking you directly did any members of your team or you interview christopher steele? >> i'm not going to answer that question, sir. >> you had two years to investigate. not once did you consider to investigate how an unverified document was used to spy on the opposition? did you do any investigation? >> i don't accept your characterization. >> what would you say? >> i won't speak anymore to it. >> you won't speak anymore to it, but you won't agree with my characterization, is that correct? >> yes. >> the fisa application says
8:36 am
source's one research into candidate trump's, the fbi belie believes source one's reporting was credible. do you agree with the fbi? >> i'm not answering. >> you're not going to answer questions recording christopher steele or your interviews? >> that was one of the investigations i cannot speak to. >> how if you interviewed an individual that you're testifying to today and you closed that investigation how it's not within your purview and -- >> i have nothing to add. >> i can guarantee the american people want to know. i'm glad the ag is looking into this because you're unwilling to answer the questions for the
8:37 am
american people. you're refusing to answer those questions. can't the president fire the fbi director at any time without reason under article one of the constitution? >> yes. >> article two. >> yes. >> can he also fire you as special counsel without any reason? >> i believe that to be the case. >> under article two. >> hold on. you said without any reason. i know special counsel can be fired. i'm not sure it's for whatever reason. >> you testified you weren't fired. you were able to complete your investigation in full, is that correct? >> i'm not going to add to what i stated before. >> my time is expired. >> the gentle lady from pennsylvania. from texas. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, mr. mueller for being with us close to the afternoon now. to ask you about the president's
8:38 am
answers relating to roger stone. roger stone was indicted for multiple federal crimes. the in dietsmedictment suggests mr. stone discussed future releases of wikileaks. i'll keep my questions to publicly available information. >> let me say at the outset -- i don't mean to disrupt you. i'm not -- i would like some demarkation of that which is applicable to this, but also in such a way that it does not hinder the other prosecution taking place in d.c. >> i'm only going to be talking about the questions you asked in writing to the president. mr. stone's indictment states the following, quote, stone was contacted by senior trump officials to inquire about future releases of organization
8:39 am
one. organization one being wikileaks. the indictment continues, quote, stone told the trump campaign about potential future releases of damaging material by wikileaks. in short the indictment alleges that stone was asked by the trump campaign to get information about more wikileaks releases and that stone in fact did tell the trump campaign about potential future releases, correct? >> yes, ma'am. i see you're quoting from the indictment. the indictment is a public document, but i feel uncomfortable talking about it. >> the indictment is of record. >> i understand that. >> i'm reading straight from it. turning back to the president's answers to your questions, the president denied ever discussing future wikileaks releases with stone and denied knowing whether
8:40 am
anyone else on his campaign had those discussions. if you learned that other witnesses, putting aside the president, other witnesses lied to your investigators in response to specific questions, whether in writing or in an interview, could they be charged with false statement crimes? >> i'm not going to speculate. i think you're asking for me to speculate given a set of circumstances. >> let's put it more specific. what if i made a false statement to an investigator on your team, could i go to jail for up to five years? >> yes, although it's congress so -- >> that's the point, though. no one is above the law. >> that's true. >> not you, not the congress, certainly not the president. i think it's just troubling to have to hear some of these things. that's why the american people deserve to learn the full facts of the misconduct described in
8:41 am
your report for which any other person would have been charged with crimes. thank you for being here. again, the point has been under scored many times. i'll repeat it. no one is above the law. >> thank you, ma'am. >> the gentleman from north dakota. >> mr. mueller, how many people on your staff did you fire during the course of the investigation? >> how many people? >> did you fire. >> i'm not going to discuss that. >> you fired -- according to the inspe inspector general's report attorney number two and peter strzok, true? >> yes. >> peter strzok said he was fired because you were concerned about the appearance of independence. do you agree? >> say that again. >> he said you were fired partially because you were worried about preserving the
8:42 am
appearance of independence with the special counsel's >>he statement was by whom? >> peter strzok at this hearing. >> i'm not familiar with that. >> did you fire him because you were worried about the appearance of independence of the investigation? >> no he was transferred as a result of incidents involving texts. >> do you agree that your office did not only have an obligation with independence, but to operate with the appearance of independence? >> absolutely. we struggled to do that over two years. part of that was making certain -- >> andrew wiseman is one of your top attorneys? >> yes. >> did he have a role of selecting members of your team? >> some. >> andrew wiseman attended hillary clinton's election party. did you know that? >> i don't know when i know that. >> he wrote i am proud and in
8:43 am
awe about her disobeying a direct order from the president. >> i'm not going to talk about that. >> is that not a conflict of interest? >> i'm not going to talk about that. >> are you aware that jeannie lee repsentedil c involvgernalid you know that be came on the team? >> no. >> aaron zebley represented justin cooper who destroyed one of clinton's mobile devices. i'm not even talking about the 49 people that donated to the campaign. >> can i speak to the hiring? >> sure. >> we hired the people that can do the job. i've been in this business for 25 years. in those 25 years i haven't asked someone about their
8:44 am
political affiliation. it's not done. i care about the individual being able to do the job and do the job seriously and with integrity. >> this isn't about you vouching for the team. this is about doing you had to be aware no matter what this report concluded half the country was going to be skeptical about your team. 285.8 talks about the appearance of conflicts of interest. the interest of justice demands no perceived bias exists. i can't imagine a single prosecutor or judge would be comfortable with these circumstances where over half the team had a direct relationship with the opponent. >> when we hired 19 lawyers over a period of time, 14 of them
8:45 am
were transferred from elsewhere in the department of justice. only five came from outside. >> and a half of them had a direct relationship with the opponent of the person you were investigating. that's my point. i wonder if not a single word in the report was changed, but if we changed president trump and hillary clinton. if a team of lawyers, worked for, donated thousands of dollars to and went to trump parties inside of clinton's i don't think we would be here. my colleagues would have spent your team of being bought and paid for by the trump campaign and we couldn't trust a single word of this report. they would still be accusing of the president of conspiracy with russia. with that i yield back. >> the gentleman from colorado. >> director mueller, thank you for your service to our country.
8:46 am
i would like to talk about obstruction. that's the evidence showing the president directing his son and his communication director to issue a false public statement in june of 2017 about a meeting between his campaign and russian individuals at trump tower in june of 2016. according to your report, mr. trump junior was the only trump associate who participated in that meeting and declined to be interviewed by your office, is that correct? >> yes. >> did he ever invoke his fifth amendment right? >> i'm not going to answer that. >> you posed written questions to the president about his knowledge of the trump tower meeting. you asked him about whether he drafted a false press statement, the president didn't answer that question, correct? >> i don't have it in front of me. i take your word. >> appendix c, c-13 states as
8:47 am
much. your investigation found that hope hicks, president's communication director, in june of 2017 was shown emails that set up the trump tower meeting and she told your office she was shocked by the emails because they looked really bad. true? >> do you have the citation? >> page 100 of volume 2. while you're flipping to that page, i'll tell you on page 99 of volume 2 the emails stated according to your report that the prosecutor of russia offered the trump campaign with official documents and information that would incriminate hillary in support of mr. trump. trump junior responded if it's what you say i love it and he kushner and manafort met with the russian attorneys and several other russians at trump tower on june 9, 2016, correct?
8:48 am
>> generally accurate. >> isn't it true that ms. hicks told your office she hawent multiple times to the president to urge him they should be fully transparent and the president said no? >> accurate. >> the reason was the emails the president was sure would not leak. >> generally correct. >> did the president direct miss hicks to say that trump junior took a brief meeting and it was about russian adoptions because trump junior's statement to "the new york times" said too much? >> okay. >> correct. >> let me just check one thing. yes. >> according to ms. hicks the president still directed her to say the meeting was only about
8:49 am
russian adoption, correct? >> yes. >> despite knowing that to be untrue. >> yes. >> thank you,irto mueller. i yield. >> mr. mueller, over here on the far right. you've been asked a lot of questions here today. you performed as most expected. you stuck closely to your report and declined to answer many of our questions. as the closer for the republican side, i want to highlight what we heard. you spent two years and nearly $30 million tax payer dollars to prepare a 450-page report which you describe as very thorough. millions of americans maintain genuine concerns about your work ba because of your bias of your team members which included 14 democrats and 0 republicans. >> can i -- >> excuse me.
8:50 am
it's my time. they donated more than $60,000 to the hillary clinton campaign. your team included peter strzok and lisa page. they have the text messages that confirmed they openly mocked and hated donald trump and his supporters and vowed to take him out. mr. ratcliffe asked you earlier, quote, can you give me an example other than donald trump where the justice department determined that there was no prosecution, you answered i cannot. you and your team had serious c confli conflicts. this is stated in the report and yet president trump cooperated fully with the investigation. he knew he did nothing wrong and encouraged all witnesses to cooperate rate and produced more
8:51 am
than 1.4 million pages of information. your report acknowledges that a volume of evidence exists of the president telling many people, quote, the president was concerned about the impact of the russian investigation on his ability to govern and to address ma matters of national security. your report also acknowledged the supreme court has said the president's removal powers are at their zenith. the president's power of removal furthers the president's ability to ensure the laws are executed and that would include the attorney general. in spite of all that, nothing happened to stop or impede your investigation. nobody was fired by the president. nothing was curtailed. the investigation continued for 22 long months. as you concluded in volume one the evidence did not establish that the president was involved
8:52 am
in an underlying crime related to russian interference and the evidence did not establish that the president or those close to him were involved in conspiracies or had an unlawful relationship with any russia official. the president became increasingly frustrated as the american people did with the effects on our country. he vented this to his lawyer and on twitter. while the president on social media, none of whethose were targets of your investigation. the president never mislead congress, the doj or the special counsel. there will be great frustration about the fact that you wouldn't answer any questions about the
8:53 am
origins of this s, the christopr steele dossier. there's one primary reason you were called here today, our colleagues on the other side of the aisle want political cover. they have wanted you to tell them they should impeach the president. the one thing you said clearly is your report is complete and thorough and you stand by it and all its content, is that right? >> true. >> mr. mueller, your report does not recommend impeachment does it? >> i'm not going to talk about recommendations. >> it does not conclude impeachment would be appropriate? >> i'm not going to talk about that issue. >> that's one of the many things you wouldn't talk about today. we can all draw conclusions.
8:54 am
i thank you for your service of them glad this will come to a conclusion soon and i yield back. >> i want to announce that our intent was to conclude around 11:45. we have a few remaining democratic members. they'll be limiting their questions. we expect to finish within 15 minutes. the gentle lady from georgia. >> your investigation of the russian attack and obstruction of justice was extraordinary. you convicted seven individuals, five of whole top trump campaign or white house aides. charges are remaining against others. let me start with the trump
8:55 am
campaign aides. they're paul manafort, rick gates, michael flynn, michael cohen, george papadopoulos, correct? >> correct. >> the sixth trump associate will face trial later this year, correct? >> yes. >> that's roger stone, correct? >> correct. >> i'm not certain what you said about stone. he's in another court system as i indicated before. >> exactly. >> i don't want to discuss. >> correct. thank you. there are many other charges as well, correct? >> sir, i want to youo ch your team and the work you did. in less than two years your team was able to uncover an incredible amount of information related to russia's attacks on
8:56 am
our election and obstruction of justice. there's still more we have to learn. despite unfair attacks by the president and even here today, your work has been substantive and fair. the work has laid the critical foundation for our investigation and i thank you. i thank you. with that i yield back the balance. >> the gentleman from arizona. >> thank you. director mueller, i'm disappointed that some questioned your motives throughout this process. i want to take a moment to remind the american people of who you are. you are a marine. you served in vietnam and earned a bronze star and purple heart, correct? >> correct. >> which president appointed you to be the united states attorney for massachusetts? >> which senator? >> which president? >> i think that was president
8:57 am
bush. >> according to my notes it was president ronald reagan. >> my mistake. >> under whose administration did you serve as the assistant attorney general in charge of the doj's criminal division? >> which president? >> that would be george bush one. >> that is correct george h.w. bu bush. after that you took a job at a law firm. after a couple years you did something extraordinary. you left that lucrative position to prosecute homicides in d.c., is that correct? >> correct. >> when you were named director of the fbi which president appointed you? >> bush. >> the senate confirmed you with a vote of 98-0. >> surprising. >> you were sworn in as director just one week before the september 11th attacks. >> true. >> you helped protect this
8:58 am
nation against another attack. when your ten-year term retired, the senate voted unanimously to extend your term, correct? >> true. >> when you were asked in 2017 to take the job as special counsel the president fired james comey. the justice department and the fbi were in turmoil. you must have known it was an extraordinary challenge. why did you accept? >> i'm not going to get into that. it's off track. it was a challenge. >> some people attacked the political motives of your team, even suggested your investigation was a witch hunt. when you considered people to join your team, did you ever once ask their political affiliation? >> never once. >> in your entire career have you ever made a hiring decision based upon a person's political affiliation? >> no. >> i'm not surprised. >> the capabilities we have
8:59 am
shown in the report discussed here today was as a result of a team of agents and lawyers who were exemplary and were hired because of the value they could contribute and getting the job done. >> sir, you're a patriot. in listening to your testimony today you acted fairly and with restraint. there were circumstances where you could have filed charges against other people, but you declined. not every prosecutor does that, certainly not one on a witch hunt. the attacks made on your team intensified because it is damning. let me also say something you were right outhnly remedy f sins for conesto an. i yield back. >> the gentle lady from pennsylvania. >> good morning, director mueller. >> got you. sorry. >> thank you.
9:00 am
i have wanted to ask you about public confusion connected with attorney general barr's release of your report. i'll be sir, in that letter and several other times d you convey to the attorney general that the quote, introductions and executive sum mares of our report accurately summarize the work? >> i have to say the letter itself speaks for itself. >> those were your words in that letter? continuing with your letter, you wrote to the attorney general, quote, the summary letter that the department sent to congress and released to the public late in the afternoon of march 4th did not fully capture the context, nature and substance of this office's work and conclusions, end quote, is that correct sf. >> again, i rely on the letter itself for its terms.

82 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on