Skip to main content

tv   ABC7 News 500AM  ABC  July 24, 2019 5:00am-5:59am PDT

5:00 am
now at 5:00, former special counsel robert mueller gets ready to testify on capitol hill over the russia investigation. the bay area lawmakers who will play a role in today's hearings. plus, do not try going to the dmv this morning. why they'll be closed statewide until the afternoon. >> good morning. this is not the dmv. it's much better on this wednesday, july 24th. >> just a little bar, have to admit. endless lines, take a number, wait forever. you're never more than seven minutes away from my accuweather forecast. >> should have a food cart there. i bet you could make a lot of money. >> what an idea? don't give it away. a couple of things to show you on live doppler 7. clouds at the coast not making the turn to the east like yesterday because the sea
5:01 am
breeze. today is one of the three hottest days in the forecast. mid 50s to 60s, 80s to mid 90s, even a few triple digits possible near brent wood. looking at the bay bridge toll plaza. car pool lanes are open as we can see. a lot of folks taking advantage of that. cash lanes stacked up on either side. fast track lanes moving through without any issues. we should have the metering lights flipped on closer to 5:20. nice and light with no major blocking problems. westbound 580 tracy to dublin now in the yellow at 40 minutes. westbound 4 antioch to concord in the green. we are just minutes away from robert mueller beginning his highly anticipated testimony before congress. >> let's take a live look at capitol hill. democrats are hoping mueller will reveal whether he would have charged president trump with a crime if it weren't for the justice department rule against prosecuting a sitting president. both parties have been preparing
5:02 am
for this testimony with mock hearings. sources tell abc news the democrats are framing their questions for yes or no answers. six california lawmakers will play a big role in today's hearings including house speaker nancy pelosi, congressman eric swalwell from dublin and san mateo congresswoman jackie speier. abc news will have a live special report on the mueller testimony. that begins in just a few minutes at 5:15 this morning. we'll also be streaming the entire testimony on in the meantime, if you plan on heading to the dmv this morning, don't do it. offices across the state are closed until this afternoon. >> abc 7 news reporter jobina fortson live in daly city with the update. good morning, jobina. >> reporter: good morning. there will not be a single line this morning at the dmv. i bet that caught some people's attention at home. yes, but that's because they'll be closed until 1:00. 5,000 employees will be trained
5:03 am
on real i.d. transactions. starting october 1st of 2020, you'll need a real i.d. to fly within the united states or go inside a secure federal building and/or military base. a passport does work as well. yesterday governor gavin newsom announced his plan to modernize the dmv. you can expect the dmv to start accepting credit cards, upgrading the website and hiring between 1800 and 1900 new employees. most of the workers will be temporary to help with customer service for the real i.d. >> we need to prove that we can use your tax dollars wisely. we need to prove that government can work. i think one of the most important places to start is the dmv. >> reporter: governor newsom also announced a marketing campaign. the state hiefrd a consulting firm to work with them on that. the idea is for the dmv to be utilized more. governor newsom says on the weekends it's rather slow
5:04 am
because most people don't realize the dmv is even open on saturday. reporting live in daly city, jobina fortson, abc 7 news. now to the latest on the deadly tesla crash in san francisco. abc 7 news reporter kate larsen spoke with a traffic investigation expert about the circumstances surrounding that wreck and also safety at that tenderloin intersection. >> i spoke to a retired sfpd traffic inspector who says the speed seen here in the video is what makes sunday's wreck so concerning. >> this is a pretty unusual case. >> reporter: geoff levin investigated fatal car accidents in san francisco for almost a decade and caught the police academy crash on traffic collisions. even he was surprised by this horrific crash in the tenderloin sunday caught on dash cam video. >> i didn't see braking at all. something was going on with her. i don't understand why she would go through a red light so rate at such a lie rate of speed. >> reporter: she,ni 21-year-old kelsey cambridge, who was arrested for crashing
5:05 am
into this mini cooper and then a couple. kelly and benjamin dean. benjamin was killed and kelly is in the hospital. >> they were on the curb waiting. the walk man comes on. they started walking. you really don't have anywhere to go because they were in her lane and she just hit them. >> in the second it took for her to get to the crosswalk, there's no time to react. >> no time to react. they may have even seen her half a block away and there's no time to react. she's going 45 miles an hour. she's covering 100 feet in a second. >> this guy -- why would he do that? >> it wasn't hard to find cars speeding on city streets. >> in san francisco people shouldn't drive fasteran at 25 miles an hour, if somebody were braking, it can at least
5:06 am
bring the speed down. those arevivable crashes. >> i stood at the intersection. there are newly installed traffic delineators that improve visibility. all sorts of clear traffic lights, even a new crosswalk and unobstructed views all he says contributes to the safety of the intersection. in his estimation the accident was likely driver >> we have a map of the highest injury intersections in san francisco on our website, developing news now, puerto rico's governor is expected to resign this morning according to puerto rico's top newspaper. his chief of staff stepped down yesterday. it came hours after a judge issued search warrants for the cell phones of the governor and other officials tied to crude and offensive online class. for more than a week protesters
5:07 am
have ricardo rossello's resignation because of messages and mismanagement of the government. protests held over the construction of a 30-meter telescope on ha wwaii's big island. a group wants the foundation to withdraw their money from the telescope project or move it to the canary islands. similar protests have been held daily at mt. ak kay yeah. democratic presidential hopeful pete buttigieg will be in the bay area for at least two fund-raisers. the current mayor of south bend, indiana is expected to be in menlo park. later this afternoon buttigieg will be in san francisco for another fund-raiser. in the east bay uc berkeley police are warning residents
5:08 am
about a mountain lion. it was seen yesterday on the upper fire trail near skyline ridge. several sightings have been reported in the last couple years. hardly strictly bluegrass is giving us a sneak peek of their fall lineup. >> the festival is posting medleys of confirmed acts over the next few weeks. the first includes hayes carl, betty leave vet and margot price. this year's festival will be in golden gate park the weekend of october 4th. we usually have beautiful october weather, mike, in san francisco. >> best weather of the year. >> people are often surprised that that's when we get the sunshine. we'll have some today, too, but it won't rival the temperatures we can have in october. here is a look at san jose. 63 degrees under mostly clear sky. this will be the first of our three hottest days over the next seven days. good news, at night we'll have heat relieve everywhere and the scorching weekend outside the
5:09 am
coast. that's going to be our other two hottest days. in fact, much hotter than even today. today we're looking at low to upper 90s in santa rosa, lakeport, ukiah, mid to upper 90s in fairfield. low to mid 90s from san jose southward, even near 90 in froemt. san francisco 70, that's above average. 66 at half moon bay with increasing sunshine. again, good news with the dry air. going to cool off nicely. tonight mid 50s to mid 60s around antioch, pittsburg, brentwood upper 60s. you see a little tapering thursday and friday and blistering hot saturday, sunday and to a lesser extent monday. thank you to maggie who sent me a tweet and got me up to speed here on this closure of east bay 580 heading into tracy. turns out there is a full closure. that information wasn't at the usual places we check.
5:10 am
it's from 1:00 until 6:00 a.m. we have about an hour to go. you have to get off at greenville road and get back on atali at altamont pass. we have typical delays if you're traveling westbound 205 to 580 getting out of tracy. a.c.e. having signal issues and probably will be the same between lathe rop, manteca and tracy. coming up, robert mueller's highly anticipated -- excuse me. reggie, go ahead. >> b.a.r.t. is considering building a pedestrian bridge at the antioch station. officials want your input. b.a.r.t. posted an online survey asking how you commute to the station and use the bridge to cross highway 4. we'll post a link on our website, robert mueller's highly anticipated testimony congress, abc news special report with george stephanopoulos just moments away. >> we take you outside at 5:10.
5:11 am
you can see the city as it is waking up this morning. we'll be right back.
5:12 am
dluckily her dorm iss heabout 10 minutes. from a hotel by wyndham. ashley's meeting all her in-laws, and she's about 10 minutes from a wyndham. with over 6,000 hotels across the country, a great hotel by wyndham is closer than you think. visit discover paint bleed you under your tape...... not with frogtape!
5:13 am
frogtape is the only painter's tape treated with patented paintblock technology. paintblock reacts with the water in latex paint to form a micro-barrier against paint bleed, giving you the sharpest lines possible. get professional results with frogtape... no messy lines, no paint bleed. for sharp lines every time, frog it! you can't fake the goodness the crunch of real almonds. how chocolatey chunks taste in cold milk. we keep it real. because you can't fake... delicious. special k.
5:14 am
enough, especially when triple digits are in the forecast for several days inland. heat exhaustion, you're still sweating. find cooler weather. heat stroke, you stop sweating, seek out medical attention immediately. >> mike, thank you. we're just moments away from an abc news report, robert mueller's highly anticipated testimony before congress. >> taking a live look at capitol hill. we know robert mueller arrived about 16 minutes ago, expected to address his investigation into russian meddling in the 2016 election and his report. >> this will be split into two sections. the first section we expect around 5:30 our time and go to around 8:30 our time. there will be a little bit of a
5:15 am
the justice department sent mueller a letter saying he must stay within the boundaries of a stephanopoulos tracking this today. we'll go to a special report in just a moment. it starts right now. >> this is an abc news special report. >> there were multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our election, and that allegation deserves the attention of every american. >> the mueller testimony. now reporting, george stephanopoulos. >> good morning and welcome to our special coverage of robert mueller's congressional testimony. this day has been a long time coming. for months it seemed it may not happen at all and now the stakes are high. for mueller, the members of congress questioning him, you see mueller coming in moments ago and for the president he's investigated for almost two years. that's the scene of the house judiciary committee. around 8:30 chairman nadler will swear mueller in.
5:16 am
anthree hours, expected to focu on his investigation into whether president trump obstructed justice. then two hours house intelligence committee, their focus, russia's interference in the 2016 election. mueller's key conclusion, page one of his 448-page report that the russian government did interfere in our elections in a sweeping and systematic fashion. his team of prosecuted indicted 26 russian nationals and three companies, concluding their interference helped elect donald trump. mueller detailed 100 contacts between trump and russia. guilty pleas with five oats, campaign manager, deputy campaign manager, national security adviser and personal lawyers for betwe wi
5:17 am
to the fbi and congress. on obstruction, no bottom line. mueller concluded that the justice department policy that a sitting president cannot be indicted, pvented him w frothru. mueller's report lays out evidence of several possible instances of obstruction by the president and his team. he then adds this blunt coda. if we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the president clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. based on the facts and the applicable legal standards we're unable to reach that judgment. accordingly while this report does not conclude the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him. that balanced paragraph has become a rorschach test of our politics. the president attacked mueller and claimed vindication of his report. i'm joined by our whole political team including david muir at the capitol. david, perhaps the most consequential question on the table, will mueller's appearance
5:18 am
accelerate momentum towards impeachment or wind it down once and for all? >> that's a central question. hugely consequential day at the hill. robert mueller arrived on the hill. five hours of questioning. the american people hearing from rub robert mueller in his own words. up on the hill we heard from 90 house democrats who supported the idea of impeachment. the big question today, will other democrats, other lawmakers hear anything different from robert mueller that will change their mind? house speaker nancy pelosi has said, said it again in recent day, let us see where the facts take us. she continues to make that point. we all, of course, remember what robert mueller said in may. he said i expect this is the only time i'llak to you in this manner. yet here robert mueller is here again today. this is whaed, waedueer on aner american people could hear a voice, not just the report itself. democrats are convinced many americans mueller will
5:19 am
shed new light on what he found. central to the questioning today, george, and you brought this up, those instances of possible obstruction of justice. when robert mueller handed this report to the justice department, he made no decision on obstruction. bill barr essentially clearing the president, and robert mueller will be asked is that what he wanted, did he want barr to make that decision or did he want congress? he'll likely be asked that question a multitude of different ways today. >> we know robert mueller is a reluctant witness. our chief justice correspondent pierre thomas has followed this as well. tell us more about how he's prepared, how far you expect him to go. >> george, he's been in intense preparation with small staff from is the special counsel's office. such prep has involved rehearsals with heavy focus on the most controversial questions
5:20 am
that could be asked. i think he's prepared to lay out what's in his report. the stakes are enormous for muel legacy and he knows it. this is the biggest appearance since right after the 9/11 attacks when he was fbi director. he's well aware what he says will be used in some fashion to see if democrats pursue impeachment on the president of the united states. the key will be whether the democrats are skillful enough to tease out the information in terms of what mueller will say. he wants to stick to the transcript of the report. they want to turn this into a movie where he serves as narrator. >> we see the ranking republican on the house judiciary committee joining the stage right now. i want to bring in mary bruce, senior congressional correspondent. we know this is high stakes, also, for the democrats and republicans on the committee and they've put in a lot of prep time. >> in a few moments, right behind this door, waiting for two years and they've bee
5:21 am
intensely preparing for it. spending hours, even doing mock hearings with members of their staff playing both mueller and members from the other side to try to interject and throw them off their game. that's how they've been preparing for what's been a historic moment here. i want to give you a sense of the mood here. a massive line of the public who want to witness this historic moment, george. >> mary, let's bring in chief white house correspondent john hurley in our news room as well. the president, john, when this report was summarized claimed it vindicated him. he's been on a twitter attack ever since including this morning. >> when it first came out, i asked if robert mueller had acted with integrity and he said yes. he's been on quite a tirade on twitter. i count eight tweets already this morning. he wa tweeting last night about th,omplaining a elr's iga alleging conflicts, even complaining about the fact that mueller's long-time aide aaron
5:22 am
zebley will be seated at the table next to him. while the president has said this report, this investigation exonerated him, he's clearly concerned about what's going to happen today. i expect he'll be watching. we have our team of analyst hs the studio. let me start with chris christy, republican ally of president trump. my big question, how much do you expect republicans on the committee to follow the president's lead? he's been pretty direct at attacking robert mueller. is that a smart strategy. >> there will be variability on the committee. i think some will be very aggressive against bob mueller this morning. do i think that's the right strategy? i don't. i don't think for the long-term republican interests that the right thing to do here is to really go after mueller in a big way. i think what i would try to do if i were up there, to get ofhe ttre positive
5:23 am
for the president and draw him out on that. i know there will be folks up there this morning, george, who decide they want to go into attack mode. they need to remember there's stuff in this report where people very close to the president at the time, especially on the conflict issue, say they thought it was nonsense. i think they need to be careful. some of them won't be. >> dan abrams, our chief legal analyst. we've read the report several times as members of the committee have as well. what's the big thing you're looking for. >> how much of the report we'll hear today. i think it's clear he's not going to go beyond what's in the report. everyone is going to want to hear the answer to the question, if it weren't for the office of legal counsel opinion that a sitting president can't be indicted, would you have indicted. >> never going to answer that question. swer i gng to f disappoint. the peop i publi d't reiz iredie damngnggegast t pren
5:24 am
is going to be how much of that can they get mueller to say, to repeat and i think it's going to be a combination of, number one, first undermining the president's own statements of no obstruction, no collusion. they'll try to get that out of the way more quickly. is it true you found there's no cluks? is it true -- he's going to say -- he's not going to say no. >> that would be pretty dramatic if he did. >> i think he said collusion is not a legal phrase. that's in the report. he specifically says that. the followup then is, so the answer is no. you didn't actually -- i think he'll eventually agree to it. on no obstruction, same sort of thing. beyond that, i think the democrats want him to weave the story for them. >> cecelia b you in. one of the big questions, is the public still paying attention. we know fact that
5:25 am
public attention on the russia investigation is definitely waning. dan abrams may have read the report. the fbi director said he didn't read the report. a lot of people have not read the report. >> when he told me he read the report, a week later he said i read some of it and then he said, well, i read the conclusion. >> i think a lot of people out there, including many at the top may not have read this entire report. that's what the democrats are banking on today. one analogy i read yesterday say people are not reading the book, but they will watch the movie. they will listen to this book on tape. the democrats are hoping they can shape some minds, change some minds on this. >> terry moran, our senior international correspondent, so much of this is in mueller's hands. if you tbout does he cose to b gary cooper or does he choose to continue to be as indistinct as he was in the report? >> b, he does not want to be in your movie. this is not where he wants to be
5:26 am
right now. i think one of the things he does want to do is reassure the american people that this investigation was conducted with integrity and by the book. that's where you'll see him get emotional, if at all, where his integrity or the integrity of his staff is attacked. the problem with the whole hearing is most people have made up their minds, and we live in an era of partisan epistemology. what counts as a fact depends on what team you ear on. >> democracy is a separate question. >> what it means for this, it's hard to see how it changes. >> part of that, kate shaw, was determined how the attorney general dealt with conclusions, his summary of the summary and also just before the entire report was released, coming out and summarizing it again. >> i expect opine on the attorney general's conduct.
5:27 am
the shading of the narrative was so much because of the way the attorney general kind of framed both before the report was released and the morning of the release. in terms of the letter from doj yesterday suggesting mueller not go beyond the four corners of the report, he not opine on the conduct of potential unindicted third parties, of course that means to comment on the president. the attorney general on the morning of the release of the report commented extensively on the prpt. it's a bit of a double standard to say the special counsel can't do what the attorney general -- >> he can repeat what he said in the report. >> absolutely. the letter from doj said don't go beyond that. that's what the democrats reason o the committee will try to press the special counsel on. >> on the movie that we're talking about, i worked with bob mueller post 9/11 on terrorism cases. he was also -- in that room with john ashe croft and larry thompson, always the most careful, the most precise and the least talkative of anybody
5:28 am
in the room. this is just a group of senior justice department officials. he would even opine during that. i have a hard time believing he's going to go on and act differently. >> would you expect him to read portions of the report or force members of congress to read them. >> i think he may in some of his responses, where he thinks it serves the purpose of remaining low key to say as i said in the report and read certain portions of it. i'm sure he's got a binder in front of him on the hot topics and have excerpts on the report he's going to want to repeat. he's not going to want to make news. i think that's the key for him today, he doesn't want to make any news. he's goings to say it's all smoke and it's all in the report. on bill barr, i think he will repeat what he said in those letters which is that he was uncomfortable with some of the things that the attorney general said. my guess is he can't run away from that. >> back to mary bruce outside the hearing room. we're getting close to the time
5:29 am
the gavel is supposed to fall. the members have been filing in? >> reporter: george, it is an absolutely packed hearing room. i don't think i've ever seen it this full. they're eking out every last scrap of space trying to get everyone in for this historic moment. i have to say at every seat is a full copy of the muelle report. they're expecting him to refer to it frequently. democrats, as part of their strategy, to try to get him to read aloud portions of the report. i've also seen members of the public carrying around that report. the line is massive. a tremendous amount of interest in what is about to unfold here. you can also sense the weight of the moment. lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are acutely aware of the massive stake here today. >> mary, you the judiciary committee, most of the democrats are moving toward support for impeachment. even privately chairman jerrold nadler is walking in right now, up against house speaker nancy pelosi and probably the majority of house democrats resisting
5:30 am
going too quickly. >> reporter: george, democrats know this hearing, what we're about to hear, may be their last best chance to make their case to the public for impeachment. pelosi has been watching an incredibly fine line. while we've seen a growing number calling for impeachment, she has been holding the line. she insists they need to follow the facts. that's the line you always hear from him. that it's premature to move to impeachment. the question is, what we hear today, is that going to move the needle, make more members come out and support impeachment? is there going to be a sense from the american public that they back this push? pelosi needs buy-in from the public if she's ever going to consider backing impeachment. >> chairman jerry nadler has taken his seat. the house judiciary committee would be the home of any impeachment proceedings. they have had a couple of hearings before robert mueller
5:31 am
to date. most of the white house employees have been blocked from testifying from president trump. we see robert mueller now enter the hearing room for the first time. as i said, he's an experienced witness, his 89th appearance testifying before congress as fbi director. he was up before congress in the days after 9/11. 74 years old, marine, prosecutor. confirmed by the senate as fbi director 99-0. never had any claims to have been a partisan advocate. always had support from both democrats and republicans, appointed by both democrats and republicans, senior justice official and fbi director. he will be sworn in. by his side members of his team including chief of staff aaron zebley who served with him for so many years, expected to be ale to give him some advice.
5:32 am
robert mueller has asked him to be sworn in -- >> -- on the date of the trump tower meeting -- >> you can expect this. protesters in the hearing room. probably won't be the last time today. the gavel has fallen. chairman nadler has hit the gavel. let's listen. robert mueller preparing to be sworn in. also there on his team, jonathan newer ow ski, long-time hill veteran. >> judiciary committee will come to order. the chair is authorized to declare recesses of the
5:33 am
committee at any time. we welcome everyone to today's hearing on oversight of the report on the investigation into russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. i will now recognize myself for a brief opening statement. director mueller, thank you for being here. i want to say just a few words about our themes today. responsibility, integrity and accountability. your career, for example, is a model of responsibility. you are a decorated marine officer, awarded a purple heart and bronze star for valor in vietnam, served in senior roles in the department of justice and in the immediate aftermath o of 9/11, you served as director of the fbi. two years ago you returned to public service to lead the investigation into russian interference in the 2016 elections. you conducted that investigation with remarkable integrity. for 22 months, you never
5:34 am
commented in public about your work, even when you were subjected to repeated and attac. instead, your indictments spoke for you and in astonishing detail. over the course of your investigation, you obtained criminal indictments against 37 people and entities. you secured the conviction of president trump's campaign chairman, his deputy campaign manager, his national security advisor and his personal lawyer, among others. in the paul manafort case alone, you recovered as much as $42 million so that the cost of your investigation to the taxpayers approaches zero. volum one, youin that the russian government attacked our 2016 elections, quote, in a sweeping and systematic fashion, and that the attacks were designed to benefit the trump
5:35 am
campaign. volume two walks us through ten separate incidences of obstruction of justice where in your words president trump attempted to exert undue influence over your investigation. the president's behavior included, and i quote from your report, quote, public attacks on the investigation, non-public efforts to control it and efforts in both public and private to encourage witnesses not to cooperate, closed quote. among the most shocking of these incidents, president trump ordered his white house counsel to have you fired and then to lie and deny that it had happened. he ordered his former campaign manager to convince the recused attorney general to step in and limit your work, and he attempted to prevent witnesses from cooperating with your investigation. although department policy barred you from this conduct,
5:36 am
you made clear he is not exonerated. any other person who acted in this way would have been charged with crimes. in this nation, not even the president is above the law. which brings me to this committee's work. responsibility, integrity and accountability. these are the marks by which we who serve on this committee will be measured as well. director mueller, we have a responsibility to address the evidence that you have uncovered. you recognize as much when you said, quote, the constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to the formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing, closed quote. that process begins with the work of this committee. we will follow your example, director mueller. we will act with integrity. we will follow the facts where they lead. we will consider all appropriate remedies. we will make our recommendation to the house when our work
5:37 am
concludes. we will do this work because there must be accountability for the conduct described in your report, especially as it relates to the president. thank you again, director mueller. we look forward to your testimony. it is now my pleasure to recognize the ranking member of the judiciary committee, the gentleman from georgia, mr. collins, for his opening statement. >> thank you, mr. chairman and thank you, mr. mueller, for being here. for two years leading up to the release of the mueller report and in the three months since, americans were first told what to expect and then what to believe. collusion, we were told, was in plain sight, even if the special counsel's team didn't find it. when mr. mueller produced his report and attorney general barr provided it, we read no american conspired to interfere in our elections, but learned the depths of russia's malice toward america. we are here to ask serious questions about mr. mueller's work and we will do that. after an extended unhampered
5:38 am
investigation marks the end to an investigation that closed in april. the burden of proof is extremely high and especially in light of the special counsel's thoroughness. we are told this investigation began as an inquiry as to whether russia meddled in our 2016 election. mr. mueller, you concluded they did. russia accessed democratic servers and tricked campaign insiders inrevealing protected investigation. the investigation also reviewed whether the president sought russian assistance as a candidate to win the candidacy. mr. mueller concluded he did not, his family and advisers did not. the president watched the public narrative surrounding this investigation -- assumed his guilt while he knew the extent of his innocence. volume two details the president's reaction to frustrating investigations where his innocence was established
5:39 am
early on. the president's attitude toward the investigation was understandably negative, yet the president did not use his authority to close the investigation. he asked his lawyer if mr. mueller had conflicts to disqualify him from the job, but he did not shut down the investigation. the president knew he was innocent. those are the facts of the mueller report. russia meddled in the 2016 election, the president did not conspire with the russians and nothing we hear today will change those facts. one element of this story remains, the beginnings of the fbi inestigation into the president. i look forward to mr. mueller's testimony about what he found during his review of the origins. the inspector general continues to reveal how baseless gossip can be used to launch an fbi investigation against a private citizen and eventually a president. those results will be released and we need to learn from them that law enforcement powers are never again used and turned on a private citizen or political candidate as a result of the
5:40 am
political leanings of a handful of fbi agents. the origins and conclusions of the mueller investigation are the same things, what it means to be american. every american has a voice in our democracy. we must protect the sanctity of their voice by combating election interference. every american enjoys the presumption of innocence and guarantee of due process. if we carry anything away today, it must be we increase our vigilance against foreign government interference. finally, we must agree that the opportunity cost here is too high. the months we have spent investigating from this dias failed to end the border crisis or contribute to the job market. instead it's paralyzed this committee and this house. as a side note, every week i leave my family and kids, the most important things to me, to come to this place because i believe this place is a place where we can do things and help people. 6 1/2 years ago i came to work
5:41 am
on behalf of the people of the ninth district. partisan basis. however, this year because the majority's dislike of this president and endless hearing into a closed investigation have caused us to accomplish nothing except talk about the problems of our country while our border is on fire, in crisis and everything else is stopped. this hearing is long overdue. we've had truth for months. no american conspired to throw our election. what we need today is let that truth bring us confidence and i hope, mr. chairman, closure. with that i yield back. >> thank you mr. collins. i'll now introduce today's witness. robert mueller served as director of the fbi from 2001 to 2013. most recently served as special counsel in the department of justice overseeing the investigation into russian interference in the 2016 special election. he received his b.a. from
5:42 am
princeton university, m.a. from new york university and j.d. from university of virginia. mr. mueller is accompanied by counsel aaron zebley who served as deputy special counsel on the investigation. we welcome our distinguished witness and we thank you for participating in today's hearing. now, if you would please rise, i will begin by swearing you in. raise your right hand, please. >> do you swear or affirm under penalty of perjury that the testimony you're about to give to be the truth to the best of your knowledge and belief. so help you god. let the record show the witnessed answered affirmatively. please be seated. please note that your written statement will be entered into the record in its re accordingly i ask that you summarize your testimony in five minutes. director mueller, you may begin. good morning, chairman
5:43 am
nadler and ranking member collins and the members of the committee. as you know, in may 2017, the acting attorney general asked me to serve as special counsel. i undertook that role because believed it was of mayor mount interest to the nation to determine whether a foreign adversary interfered in the presidential election. as the acting attorney general said at the time, the appointment was necessary in order for the american people to have full confidence in the outcome. my staff and i carried out this assignment with that critical objective in mind, to work quietly, thoroughly and with integrity so the public would have full confidence in the outcome. the order appointing me as special counsel directed our office to investigate russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
5:44 am
this included investigating any links or coordination between the russian government and individuals associated with the trump campaign. it also included investigating efforts to interfere with or obstruct our investigation. throughout the investigation i continually stressed two things to the team we had assembled. first, we needed to dour o work as thoroughly as possible and as expeditiously as possible. it was in the public interest for our investigation to be complete, not to last a day longer than was necessary. second, the investigation needed to be conducted fairly and with absolute integrity. our team would not leak or take other actions that could compromise the integrity of our work. all decisions were made based on the facts and the law.
5:45 am
during the course of our investigation we charged more than 30 defendants with committing federal crimes including 12 officers of russian military. seven defendants have been convicted or pled guilty. certain of the charges we brought remain pending today. for those matters i stress that the indictments contain allegations and every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. in addition to the criminal charges we brought, as required by justice department regulations, we submitted a confidential report to the attorney general at the conclusion of our investigation. the report set forth the results of our work and the reason for our charging and
5:46 am
decisions. i made limited remarks about closing the -- first our investigation found that the russian government interfered in our election in sweeping and systematic fashion. second, the investigation did not establish that members of the trump campaign conspired with the russian government in it's lex interference activities. we did not address collusion which is a legal term. rather, we focused on whether the evidence was sufficient to charge any member of the campaign with taking part in a criminal conspiracy, and it was not. third, our investigation of efforts to obstruction the investigation and lying the investigators was of critical importance. obstruction of justice strikes at the core of the government's
5:47 am
effort to find the truth and hold wrongdoers accountable. finally, as described in volume two of our report, we investigated a series of actions by the president towards the investigation. based on justice department policy and principles of fairness, we decided we would not make a determination as to whether the president committed a crime. that was our decision then and remains our decision today. let me say a further word about my appearance today. it is unusual for a prosecutor to testify about a criminal investigation. given my role as a prosecutor, there are reasons why my testimony will necessarily be limited. first, public testimony could affect several on going matters. in some of these matters, court
5:48 am
rules or judicial orders limit the disclosure of information to protect, to protect the fairness of the proceedings. consistent with longstanding justice department policy, it would be inappropriate for me to comment in any way that could affect an ongoing matter. second, the justice department has asserted privileges concerning investigative information and decisions. on going matters within the justice department and deliberations within our office. these are justice department privileges that i will respect. the department has released a letter discussing the restrictions of my testimony. i, therefore, will not be able to answer questions about certain areas that i know are of public interest. for example, i am unable to address questions about the initial opening of the fbi's russia investigation which occurred months before my appointment or matters related
5:49 am
to the so-called steal doele do. these are subject by on going review of the department. any questions of these topics should be directed to the fbi orr the justice department. as i explained when we closed the special counsel's office in may, our report contains our findings and analysis and the reasons for the decisions we made. we conducted an extensive investigation over two years. in writing the report, we stated the results of our investigation with precision. we scrutinized every word. i do not intend to summarize or describe the results of our work in a different way in the course of my testimony today. as i said on may 29th, the report is my testimony, and i will stay within that text. as i stated in may, i will not
5:50 am
comment on the actions of the attorney general or of congress. i was appointed as a prosecutor, and i intend to adhere to that role and to the department's standards that govern it. i'll be joined today by deputy special counsel aaron zebley. mr. zebley has extensive experience as a federal prosecutor and at the fbi where he served as my chief of staff. mr. zebley was responsible for the day-to-day oversight of the investigations conducted by our office. i also want to again say thank you to the attorneys, the fbi agents, the analysts, the professional staff who helped us conduct this investigation in a fair and independent manner. these individuals who spent nearly two years working onhis matter were of the highest
5:51 am
integrity. let me say one more thing. over the course of my career, i have seen a number of challenges to our democracy. the russian government's effort to interfere in our election is among the most serious. as i said on may 29th, this deserves the attention of every american. thank you, mr. chairman. >> robert mueller ending his testimony. the questions will begin by chairman nadler. >> i will begin by recognizing myself for five minutes. director mueller, the president has repeatedly claimed that your report found there was no obstruction and that it completely and totally exonerated him, but that is not what your report said. is it? >> correct. that is not what the report said. >> reading from page two of volume two of your report that's on the screen, you wrote, quote, if we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the
5:52 am
facts that the president clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, however, we are unable to reach that judgment, closed quote. now, does that say there was no obstruction is? >> no. >> in fact, you were actually unable to conclude the president did not commit obstruction of justice. is that correct? >> well, we at the outset determined that when it came to the president's culpability, we needed to go forward only after taking into account the olc opinion that indicated that a president, sitting president cannot be indicted. >> so the report did not conclude that he did not commit obstruction of justice. is that zplekt. >> that is correct. >> what about total exoneration? did you actually totally
5:53 am
exonerate the president? >> no. >> now, in fact, your report expressly states it does not exonerate the president? >> it does. >> your investigation actually found, quote, multiple acts by the president that were capable of exerting undue influence over law enforcement investigations, including the russian interference and obstruction investigations. is that correct? >> correct. >> now, director mueller, can you explain in plain terms what that finding means so the american people can understand it? >> well, the finding indicates that the president was not -- that the president was not exculpated for the acts that he allegedly committed. >> in fact, you were talking about incidents, quote, in which the president sought to use his official power outside usual channels, unquote, to exert
5:54 am
undue influence over your investigations. is that right? >> that's correct. >> now, am i correct that on page seven of volume two of your report you wrote, quote, the president became aware that his own conduct was being investigated in an obstruction of justice inquiry. at that point, the president engaged in a second phase of conduct involving public attacks on the investigation, non-public efforts to control it and efforts in both public and private to encourage witnesses not to cooperate with the investigation, closed quote. so president trump's efforts to exert undue influence over your investigation intensified after the president became aware that he personally was being investigated? >> i stick with the language that you have in front of you. which came from page seven of volume two. >> now, is it correct that if you concluded that the president committed the crime of obstruction, you could not publicly state that in our report or here today?
5:55 am
>> can you repeat the question. >> is it correct that if you had concluded that the president committed the crime of obstruction, you could not publicly state that in your report other here today? >> i would say you could -- the statement would be that you would not indict, and you would not indict because under the olc opinion, a sitting president cannot be indicted, it would be unconstitutional. >> you could not state that because of the olc opinion if that had been your conclusion? >> the olc opinion with some guide, yes. >> under department of justice policy, the president could be prosecuted for obstruction of justice crimes after he leaves office, correct? >> true. >> thank you. did any senior white house official refuse a request to be interviewed by you or your team? >> i don't believe so. well, let me take that back. i would have to look at it, but i'm not certain that that was the case. >> did the president refuse a
5:56 am
request to be interviewed by you and your team? >> yes. >> is it true you tried for more than a year to try to secure an interview with the president? >> yes. >> is it true you and your team advised the president's lawyer that, quote, an interview with the president is vital to our investigation, closed quote? >> yes. >> is it true that you also, quote, stated it is in the interest of the presidency and the public for an interview to take place, closed quote? >> yes. >> but the president still refused to sit for an interview by you and your team. >> true. >> did you also ask him to provide written answers to questions under ten possible episodes of obstruction of justice crimes involving him? >> yes. >> did he provide any answers to a single question about whether he engaged in trucks crimes? >> i would have to check on that. i'm not certain. >> director mueller, we're grateful you're here to explain your investigation and findings. having reviewed your work, i believe anyone else would engage in the conduct described in your report, would have been criminally prosecuted.
5:57 am
your work is vitally important to this committee and the american people because no one is above the law. i'll now recognize the gentleman from georgia, mr. collins. >> thank you mr. chairman. reiterating the five-minute rule. i have several questions, many of which you just answered. i'll talk slowly. i'm said to talk fast. in your press conference you said -- the work speaks for itself. i would not provide information beyond that which is already public in any appearance before congress. do you stand by that statement? >> yes. >> since closing the special counsel's office, have you conducted any official interviews or obtained any new information from your role as special counsel? >> in the wake of the report? >> since the closing of the office in may of 2019. >> the question was? >> have you conducted any new
5:58 am
interviews? >> no. >> you can confirm you're no longer special counsel, correct? zblim' no longer special counsel. >> at any time of the investigation was your investigation curtailed or stopped or hindered? >> no. >> were you or your team provided any questions by members of congress ahead of your hearing today? >> no. >> your report states your investigative team included 19 lawyers and approximately lawyers and analysts. >> can you repeat that. >> 40 fbi agents, 19 lawyers and analysts. >> generally, gentlemen. >> 2800 subpoenas, executed 500 search warrants, obtained 240 -- >> that went a little fast for me. >> in your report -- i'll make this very simple. you did a lot of work, right? >> that i'll agree to. >> a lot of subpoenas. >> a lot of subpoenas. >> we'll walk this really slow.
5:59 am
>> a lot of search warrants. >> a lot of search wants. you're very thorough, in your opinion very thorough? >> yes, yes. >> you listed this in your report, correct? >> yes. >> is it true the evidence gathered during your investigation -- given the questions you have just answered, is it true the evidence gathered during your investigation did not establish that the president was involved in the underlying crime related to russian election interference as stated in volume one, page seven? >> we found insufficient evidence of the president's culpability. >> so that would be a yes? >> pardon? >> that would be a yes? >> yes. >> isn't it true the evidenced did not establish the president or those close to him were involved in the charged russian computer hacking or the 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
6:00 am
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


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on