LIVE UPDATES: Trump not exonerated, Mueller testifies, could be charged after leaving office
Former special counsel Robert Mueller is on Capitol Hill for historic testimony before lawmakers in back-to-back House hearings on his probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible obstruction of justice by President Donald Trump.
Democrats on the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees labored for months to bring the 74-year-old Mueller before Congress to answer lingering questions about his 22-month investigation.
Mueller was reluctant to appear before Congress, and only agreed to appear under subpoena from both panels. “The report is my testimony,” he said in his only public statement on the report in May.
“Donald Trump junior had direct communications with WikiLeaks during the campaign period. On October 3, 2016. WikiLeaks penned another message to Trump Jr. asking: “You guys to have a link to Clinton. Julian Assange responded to that, he had already done so. This behavior at the very least disturbing?
With a screenshot of a CNN chyron from earlier Wednesday reading “Mueller: Trump was not exonerated,” Turner pressed Mueller on the issue.
“Your investigation is not a witch hunt, is it?” Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., asked.
“It is not a witch hunt,” Mueller said.
“When the president said the Russian interference was a hoax, that was false, wasn’t it,” Schiff asked.
“True,” Mueller answered.
“The president’s son said when he was approached about dirt on Hillary Clinton, that the Trump campaign would love it,” Schiff said.
“That’s generally what was said, yes,” Mueller said.
“The president himself called on the Russians to hack Hillary’s emails?,” Schiff said.
“There’s a statement by the president in those general lines,” Mueller responded.
“Numerous times during the campaign, the president praised the releases of the Russian-hacked emails through Wikileaks?” Schiff asked.
“That did occur,” Mueller said.
“Your report, for those who have taken the time to study it, is methodical and it is devastating, for it tells the story of a foreign adversary’s sweeping and systematic intervention in a close U.S. presidential election,” he said in an opening statement.
“That should be enough to deserve the attention of every American, as you well point out. But your report tells another story as well. For the story of the 2016 presidential election is also a story about disloyalty to country, about greed, and about lies,” he continued.
“Your investigation determined that the Trump campaign – including Trump himself – knew that a foreign power was intervening in our election and welcomed it, built Russian meddling into their strategy, and used it.
“Disloyalty to country. Those are strong words, but how else are we to describe a presidential campaign which did not inform the authorities of a foreign offer of dirt on their opponent, which did not publicly shun it, or turn it away, but which instead invited it, encouraged it, and made full use of it?” he said.
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