Jul 24, 2019
Robert Mueller Testimony Transcript: House Congressional Testimony
Robert Mueller testified before both the House Judiciary Committee and House Intelligence Committee on July 24, 2019. Mueller took questions from several members of Congress on his report, which involved primarily Russian interference in the 2016 election
See the full transcript of over 6 hours of testimony below.
Robert Mueller Opening Remarks
Robert Mueller: 00:02 Good morning. Chairman Adler, 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 I believe that it was of paramount interest to the nation to determine whether a foreign adversary had 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 that 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. 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.
Robert Mueller: 01:24 Throughout the investigation, I continually stressed two things to the team that we had assembled. First, we needed to do our work as thoroughly as possible and as expeditiously as possible. It was in the public interest for our investigation to be complete and 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. During the course of our investigation, we charged more than 30 defendants with committing federal crimes, including 12 officers of the Russian military. Seven defendants have been convicted or pled guilty. Certain of the charges we brought remain pending today, and for those matters, I stress that the indictments contained allegations and every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Robert Mueller: 02:35 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 reasons for our charging and declination decisions. The attorney general later made the report largely public. As you know, I made a few limited remarks about our report when we closed the special counsel’s office in May of this year, but there are certain points that bear emphasis.
Robert Mueller: 03:16 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 a Russian government in its election interference activities. We did not address collusion, which is not 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 obstruct the investigation and lie to investigators was of critical importance. Obstruction of justice strikes at the core of the government’s effort to find the truth and to hold wrongdoers accountable. Finally, as described in volume two of our report, we investigated a series of actions by the president towards the investigation.
Robert Mueller: 04:19 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 it 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 and given my role as a prosecutor, there are reasons why my testimony will necessarily be limited.
Robert Mueller: 04:55 First, public testimony could affect several ongoing matters. In some of these matters. Court rules or judicial orders, limited disclosure of information to protect, to protect the fairness of the proceedings. And 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, ongoing 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 on my testimony.
Robert Mueller: 05:46 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 to the so-called Steele Dossier. These matters are subject of ongoing review by the department. Any questions on these topics should therefore be directed to the FBI or the Justice Department.
Robert Mueller: 06:20 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 in my testimony today. As I said on May 29th, the report is my testimony and I will stay within that text. And as I stated in May, I will not 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 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. And Mr. Zebley was responsible for the day-to-day oversight of the investigations conducted by our office.
Robert Mueller: 07:41 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 on this matter, were of the highest integrity. And 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, and as I said on May 29th, this deserves the attention of every American. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Jerry Nadler Speaks
Jerry Nadler: 00:00 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.
Jerry Nadler: 00:13 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. You were rewarded a Purple Heart and the Bronze Star for valor in Vietnam. You served in senior roles at the Department of Justice, and in the immediate aftermath 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 commented in public about your work, even when you were subjected to repeated and grossly unfair personal attacks. Instead, your indictments spoke for you and in astonishing detail.
Jerry Nadler: 01:12 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. And in your report, you offer the country accountability as well. In volume one, you find that the Russian government attacked our 2016 elections, “In a sweeping and systematic fashion,” and that the attacks were designed to benefit the Trump campaign. Volume two walks us through 10 separate incidents of possible 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, “Public attacks on the investigation, non-public efforts to control it, and efforts in both public and private to encourage witnesses not to cooperate.”
Jerry Nadler: 02:28 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 indicting the president for this conduct, you made clear that he is not exonerated. Any other person who acted in this way would have been charged with crimes, and in this nation not even the president is above the law.
Jerry Nadler: 03:11 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 recognized as much when you said, “The Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing.” 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 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.
Jerry Nadler: 04:13 It is now my pleasure to recognize the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, the gentleman from Georgia, Mr. Collins, for his opening statement.
Doug Collins Speaks
Doug Collins: 00:00 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 to every American, we read no American conspired with Russia to interfere in our elections, but learned the depths of Russia’s malice toward America.
Doug Collins: 00:28 We are here to ask serious questions about Mr. Mueller’s work and we will do that. After an extended, unhampered investigation, today marks an end to Mr. Mueller’s involvement in an investigation that closed in April. The burden of proof for accusations that remain unproven is extremely high, and especially in light of the special counsel’s thoroughness.
Doug Collins: 00:48 We are told this investigation began as an inquiry into whether Russia meddled in our 2016 election. Mr. Mueller, you concluded they did. Russians accessed Democrat servers and disseminated sensitive information by tricking campaign insiders into revealing protected information. The investigation also reviewed whether Donald Trump, the President, sought Russian assistance as a candidate to win the presidency. Mr. Mueller concluded he did not. His family or advisors did not.
Doug Collins: 01:16 In fact, the report concludes no one in the President’s campaign colluded, collaborated, or conspired with the Russians. The President watched the public narrative surrounding this investigation assume his guilt while he knew the extent of his innocence. Volume two of Mr. Mueller’s report details the President’s reaction to frustrating investigation where his innocence was established early on. The President’s attitude toward the investigation was understandably negative. Yet the President did not use his authority to close the investigation.
Doug Collins: 01:45 He asked his lawyer if Mr. Mueller had conflicts that disqualified Mr. Mueller 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 Russian and nothing we hear today will change those facts.
Doug Collins: 02:07 But one element of this story remains, the beginnings of the FBI investigation into the President. I look forward to Mr. Mueller’s testimony about what he found during his review of the origins of the investigation. In addition, the Inspector General continues to review 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 will need to learn from them to ensure government intelligence and law enforcement powers are never again used and turned on a private citizen or a potential or a political candidate as a result of the political leanings of a handful of FBI agents.
Doug Collins: 02:41 The origins and conclusion 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 that we increase our vigilance against foreign election interference while we ensure our government officials don’t weaponize their power against the constitutional rights guaranteed to every US citizen.
Doug Collins: 03:10 Finally, we must agree that the opportunity cost here is too high. The months we have spent investigating from this dais failed to end the border crisis or contribute to the growing job market. Instead we have gotten stuck and it’s paralyzed this committee and this house. And 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 actually do things and help people.
Doug Collins: 03:35 Six and a half years ago, I came here to work on behalf of the people of the ninth district in this country, and we accomplished a lot in those first six years on a bipartisan basis with many of my friends across the aisle sitting on this dais with me today. However, this year, because the majority’s dislike of this President and the endless hearing and 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 to let that truth bring us confidence and I hope, Mr. Chairman, closure. With that, I yield back.
Chairman Jerry Nadler Questioning
Jerry Nadler: 00:00 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?
Robert Mueller: 00:13 Correct, that is not what the report said.
Jerry Nadler: 00:15 Now reading from page two of volume two of your report that’s on the screen, you wrote, “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, however, we are unable to reach that judgement.” Now does that say there was no obstruction?
Robert Mueller: 00:41 No.
Jerry Nadler: 00:42 In fact, you were actually unable to conclude the president did not commit obstruction of justice. Is that correct?
Robert Mueller: 00:49 Well, we, at the outset, determined that we… 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, a sitting president, cannot be indicted.
Jerry Nadler: 01:13 So the report did not conclude that he did not commit obstruction of justice. Is that correct?
Robert Mueller: 01:20 That is correct.
Jerry Nadler: 01:21 And what about total exoneration? Did you actually totally exonerate the president?
Robert Mueller: 01:26 No.
Jerry Nadler: 01:27 No, in fact, your reports expressly states it does not exonerate the president.
Robert Mueller: 01:32 It does.
Jerry Nadler: 01:33 And your investigation actually found, “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?
Robert Mueller: 01:47 Correct.
Jerry Nadler: 01:49 Now, Director Mueller, can you explain, in plain terms, what that finding means, so the American people can understand it?
Robert Mueller: 01:56 Well, the finding indicates that the president was not exculpated for the acts that he allegedly committed.
Jerry Nadler: 02:15 In fact, you were talking about incidents, “in which the president sought to use his official power outside of usual channels,” to exert undue influence over your investigations. Is that right?
Robert Mueller: 02:27 That’s correct.
Jerry Nadler: 02:28 Now, am I correct that on page seven of volume two of your report, you wrote, “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, nonpublic efforts to control it, and efforts in both public and private to encourage witnesses not to cooperate with the investigation.” So President Trump’s efforts to exert undue influence over your investigation intensified after the president became aware that he personally was being investigated?
Robert Mueller: 03:06 I stick with the language that you have in front of you.
Jerry Nadler: 03:09 Which…
Robert Mueller: 03:11 Which comes from page seven volume two.
Jerry Nadler: 03:14 Now, is it correct that if you concluded that the president committed the crime of obstruction, you could not publicly state that in your report or here today?
Robert Mueller: 03:23 Can you repeat the question, sir?
Jerry Nadler: 03:25 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 or here today?
Robert Mueller: 03:34 Well, I would say you, I could… The statement would be that you would not indict, and you would not indict because under the OLC opinion, a sitting president, excuse me, cannot be indicted, be unconstitutional.
Jerry Nadler: 03:50 Okay, so you could not state that because of the OLC opinion, if that would have been your conclusion.
Robert Mueller: 03:54 Well, OLC opinion with some guide, yes.
Jerry Nadler: 03:57 But under Department of Justice policy, the president could be prosecuted for obstruction of justice crimes after he leaves office. This correct?
Robert Mueller: 04:06 True.
Jerry Nadler: 04:07 Thank you. Did any senior White House official refuse a request to be interviewed by you and your team?
Robert Mueller: 04:14 I don’t believe so. Well, I take, let me take that back. I would have to look at it, but I’m not certain that that was the case.
Jerry Nadler: 04:23 Did the president refuse the request to be interviewed by you and your team?
Robert Mueller: 04:26 Yes.
Jerry Nadler: 04:27 Yes. And is it true that you tried for more than a year to secure an interview with the president?
Robert Mueller: 04:32 Yes.
Jerry Nadler: 04:33 And is it true that you and your team advised the president’s lawyer that, “An interview with the president is vital to our investigation”?
Robert Mueller: 04:41 Yes. Yes.
Jerry Nadler: 04:42 And is it true that you also, “Stated that it is in the interest of the presidency and the public for an interview to take place”?
Robert Mueller: 04:51 Yes.
Jerry Nadler: 04:52 But the president still refused to sit for an interview by you or your team?
Robert Mueller: 04:55 True. True.
Jerry Nadler: 04:58 And did you also ask him to provide written answers to questions on the 10 possible episodes of obstruction of justice crimes involving him?
Robert Mueller: 05:06 Yes.
Jerry Nadler: 05:07 Did he provide any answers to a single question about whether he engaged in obstruction of justice crimes?
Robert Mueller: 05:12 I would have to check on that, I’m not certain.
Jerry Nadler: 05:14 Director Muller, we are grateful that you are 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. Your work is vitally important to this committee and the American people because no one is above the law.
Pramilia Jayapal Questioning
Pramilia J.: 00:11 Thank you. Director Mueller, let’s turn to the fifth of the obstruction episodes in your report. And that is the evidence of whether President Trump engaged in witness tampering with Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort, whose foreign ties were critical to your investigation into Russia’s interference in our elections.
Pramilia J.: 00:29 And this starts at volume two, page 123. Your office got indictments against Manafort and Trump Deputy Campaign Manager Rick Gates in two different jurisdictions, correct?
Robert Mueller: 00:41 Correct.
Pramilia J.: 00:42 And your office found that after a grand jury indicted them, Manafort told Gates not to plead guilty to any charges because quote, “He had talked to the president’s personal counsel and they were going to take care of us.” Is that correct?
Robert Mueller: 00:56 That’s accurate.
Pramilia J.: 00:57 And according to your report, one day after Manafort’s conviction on eight felony charges, quote, “The president said that flipping was not fair and almost ought to be outlawed.” Is that correct?
Robert Mueller: 01:10 I’m aware of that.
Pramilia J.: 01:11 In this context, Director Mueller, what does it mean to flip?
Robert Mueller: 01:14 Have somebody cooperate in a criminal investigation.
Pramilia J.: 01:17 And how essential is that cooperation to any efforts to combat crime?
Robert Mueller: 01:22 Well, I’m not going to go beyond that. Characterizing that effort.
Pramilia J.: 01:24 Thank you. In your report, you concluded that President Trump and his personal counsel, Rudy Giuliani, quote, “Made repeated statements suggesting that a pardon was a possibility for Manafort while also making it clear that the president did not want Manafort to flip and cooperate with the government.” End quote. Is that correct?
Robert Mueller: 01:41 Correct.
Pramilia J.: 01:42 And as you stated earlier, witness tampering can be shown where someone with an improper motive encourages another person not to cooperate with law enforcement. Is that correct?
Robert Mueller: 01:52 Correct.
Pramilia J.: 01:53 Now on page 123 of volume two, you also discuss the president’s motive and you say that as court proceedings move forward against Manafort, President Trump quote “Discussed with aids, whether and in what way Manafort might be cooperating and whether Manafort knew any information that would be harmful to the president.” End quote. Is that correct?
Robert Mueller: 02:15 And that was a quote from?
Pramilia J.: 02:17 From page 123, volume two.
Robert Mueller: 02:19 I have it. Thank you. Yes.
Pramilia J.: 02:21 And when someone tries to stop another person from working with law enforcement and they do it because they’re worried about what that person will say. It seems clear from what you wrote that this is a classic definition of witness tampering. Now, Mr. Manafort did eventually decide to cooperate with your office and he entered into a plea agreement, but then he broke that agreement. Can you describe what he did that caused you to tell the court that the agreement was off?
Robert Mueller: 02:48 I refer you to the court proceedings on that issue.
Pramilia J.: 02:49 So, on page 127 of volume two, you told the court that Mr. Manafort lied about a number of matters that were material to the investigation and you said that the Manafort’s lawyers also quote “Regularly briefed the president’s lawyers on topics discussed and the information that Manafort had provided in interviews with the special counsel’s office.” Does that sound right?
Robert Mueller: 03:09 And the source of that is?
Pramilia J.: 03:11 That’s page 127, volume two. That’s a direct quote.
Robert Mueller: 03:14 If it’s from the report, yes I support it.
Pramilia J.: 03:16 Thank you. And two days after you told the court that Manafort broke his plea agreement by lying repeatedly, did President Trump tell the press that Mr. Manafort was quote, “Very brave because he did not flip.” This is page 128 of volume two.
Robert Mueller: 03:31 If it’s in the report, I support it as it is set forth.
Pramilia J.: 03:35 Thank you. Director Mueller, in your report, you make a very serious conclusion about the evidence regarding the president’s involvement with the Manafort criminal proceedings. Let me read to you from your report. “Evidence concerning the president’s conduct toward Manafort indicates that the president intended to encourage Manafort to not cooperate with the government. It is clear that the president, both publicly and privately, discouraged Mr Manafort’s cooperation or flipping while also dangling the promise of a pardon if he stayed loyal and did not share what he knew about the president.” Anyone else who did these things would be prosecuted for them. We must ensure that no one is above the law and I thank you for being here, Director Mueller.
Robert Mueller: 04:17 Thank you.
Pramilia J.: 04:17 Yield back.
Rep. Val Demings Questioning
Val Demings: 00:00 Director Mueller, a couple of my colleagues right here wanted to talk to you or ask you about lies. So let’s talk about lies. According to your report, page nine, volume one, 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 plead guilty to crimes based on their lying to you and your team, did other witnesses lie to you?
Robert Mueller: 00:27 I think there are a probably a spectrum of witnesses in terms of those who are not telling the full truth and those who are outright liars.
Val Demings: 00:37 Thank you very much. Outright liars. It is fair to say then that there were limits on what evidence was available to your investigation of both Russia election interference and obstruction of justice?
Robert Mueller: 00:48 That’s true and it’s usually the case.
Val Demings: 00:51 And that lies by Trump campaign officials and administration officials impeded your investigation?
Robert Mueller: 01:00 I would generally agree with that.
Val Demings: 01:02 Thank you so much, Director Mueller. You will be hearing more from me in the next hearing, so I yield the balance of my time to Mr. Correa. Thank you.
Rep. Ken Buck Questioning
Ken Buck: 00:01 Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Mueller, over here.
Robert Mueller: 00:04 Hi.
Ken Buck: 00:05 Hi. I want to start by thanking you for your service. You joined the Marines and led a rifle platoon in Vietnam, where you earned the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and other commendations. You served as an Assistant United States Attorney, leading the Homicide Unit here in D.C., U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts and, later, Northern District of California, Assistant Attorney General for DOJ’s Criminal Division, and the FBI Director. So, thank you, I appreciate that.
Ken Buck: 00:29 But having reviewed your biography, it puzzles me why you handled your duties in this case the way you did. Your report contradicts what you taught young attorneys at the Department of Justice, including to ensure that every defendant is treated fairly or, as Justice Sutherland said in the Berger case, “A prosector is not the representative of an ordinary party to a controversy, but of a sovereignty whose interest in a criminal prosecution is not that it shall win a case, but that justice shall be done, and that the prosector may strike hard blows, but he is not at liberty to strike foul ones.”
Ken Buck: 01:02 By listing the ten factual situations and not reaching a conclusion about the merits of the case, you unfairly shifted the burden of proof to the president, forcing him to prove his innocence while denying him a legal form to do so. And I’ve never heard of a prosecutor declining a case and then holding a press conference to talk about the defendant.
Ken Buck: 01:23 You noted eight times in your report that you had a legal duty under the regulations to either prosecute or decline charges; despite this, you disregarded that duty. As a former prosecutor, I’m also troubled with your legal analysis. You discussed 10 separate factual patterns involving alleged obstruction, and then you failed to separately apply the elements of the applicable statues.
Ken Buck: 01:47 I looked at the 10 factual situations, and I read the case law, and I have to tell you, just looking at Flynn matter, for example, the four statutes that you cited for possible obstruction, 1503, 1505, 1512(b)(3), and 1512(c)(2), when I look at those, concerning the Flynn matter, 1503 is inapplicable because there wasn’t a grand jury or trial jury empaneled, and Director Comey was not an officer of the court, as defined by the statute.
Ken Buck: 02:19 Section 1505 criminalizes acts that would obstruct or impede administrative proceedings, those before Congress or an administrative agency, the Department of Justice Criminal Resource 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, at the time, was not a witness, and certainly Director Comey was not a witness.
Ken Buck: 02:46 And 1512(c)(2) talks about tampering with a record, and as Joe Biden described the statute as being debated on the Senate floor, he called this a statute criminalizing document shredding, and there’s nothing in your report that alleges that the president destroyed any evidence.
Ken Buck: 03:08 So, what I have to ask you, and what I think people are working around in this hearing, is, let me lay a little foundation for you, the ethical rules require that a prosecutor have a reasonable probability of conviction to bring a charge. Is that correct?
Robert Mueller: 03:24 Sounds generally accurate.
Ken Buck: 03:26 Okay. The regulations concerning your job as special counsel state that your job is to provide the Attorney General with a confidential report explaining the prosecution or declination 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 Russian interference in the 2016 election. Is that fair?
Robert Mueller: 03:52 That’s fair.
Ken Buck: 03:54 Was there sufficient evidence to convict President Trump or anyone else with obstruction of justice?
Robert Mueller: 04:01 We did not make that calculation.
Ken Buck: 04:03 How could you not have made the calculation, with the regulation-
Robert Mueller: 04:06 Because the OLC opinion, Office of Legal Counsel, indicates that we cannot indict a sitting president, so one of the tools that a prosecutor would use is not there.
Ken Buck: 04:16 Okay. But let me just stop, you made the decision on the Russian interference, you couldn’t have indicted the president on that, and you made the decision on that. But when it came to obstruction, you threw a bunch of stuff up against the wall to see what would stick, and that is fundamentally not fair.
Robert Mueller: 04:32 I would not agree to that characterization at all. What we did is provide to the Attorney General, in the form of a confidential memorandum, our understanding of the case, those cases that were brought, those cases that were declined, and that one case where the president cannot be charged with a crime.
Ken Buck: 04:53 Okay. But could you charge the president with a crime after he left office?
Robert Mueller: 04:59 Yes.
Ken Buck: 05:00 You believe that you could charge the President of the United States with obstruction of justice after he left office?
Robert Mueller: 05:05 Yes.
Ken Buck: 05:06 Ethically? Under the ethical standards?
Robert Mueller: 05:08 Well, I’m not certain because I haven’t looked at the ethical standards, but OLC opinion says that the prosector cannot bring a charge against a sitting president, nonetheless continue the investigation to see if there are any other persons who might be drawn into the conspiracy.
Chairman: 05:26 Time of the gentleman has expired. The gentleman from Rhode Island.
Rep. Zoe Lofgren Questioning
Zoe Lofgren: 00:00 Director Mueller, as you’ve heard from the chairman, we’re mostly going to talk about obstruction of justice today but the investigation of Russia’s attack that started your investigation is why evidence of possible obstruction is serious. To what extent did the Russian government interfere in the 2016 presidential election?
Robert Mueller: 00:21 Could you repeat that, ma’am?
Zoe Lofgren: 00:22 To what extent did the Russian government interfere in the 2016 presidential election?
Robert Mueller: 00:28 Well, particularly when it came to a computer crimes and the like, the government was implicated.
Zoe Lofgren: 00:35 So, you wrote in volume one that the Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion. You also described in your report that the then Trump campaign Chairman Paul Manafort shared with a Russian operative Kilimnik the campaign strategy for winning democratic votes in Midwestern states in internal polling data of the campaign. Isn’t that correct?
Robert Mueller: 01:02 Correct.
Zoe Lofgren: 01:04 They also discussed the status of the Trump campaign and Manafort’s strategy for winning democratic votes in Midwestern states. Months before that meeting, Manafort had caused internal data to be shared with Kilimnik, and the sharing continued for some period of time after their August meeting. Isn’t that correct?
Robert Mueller: 01:23 Accurate.
Zoe Lofgren: 01:24 In fact, your investigation found that Manafort briefed Kilimnik on the state of the Trump campaign and Manafort’s plan to win the election, and that briefing encompassed that campaign’s messaging, its internal polling data. It also included discussion of battleground states, which Manafort identified as Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Minnesota. Isn’t that correct?
Robert Mueller: 01:45 That’s correct.
Zoe Lofgren: 01:46 Did your investigation determine who requested the polling data to be shared with Kilimnik?
Robert Mueller: 01:52 Well, I would direct you to the report and [inaudible 00:01:57] what we have in the report with regard to that particular issue.
Zoe Lofgren: 01:59 We don’t have the redacted version. That’s maybe another reason why we should get that for volume one. Based on your investigation, how could the Russian government have used this campaign polling data to further its sweeping and systematic interference in the 2016 presidential election?
Robert Mueller: 02:15 That’s a little bit out of our path.
Zoe Lofgren: 02:20 Fair enough. Did your investigation find that the Russian government perceived it would benefit from one of the candidates winning?
Robert Mueller: 02:30 Yes.
Zoe Lofgren: 02:31 Which candidate would that be?
Robert Mueller: 02:35 Well, it would be Trump. The president.
Zoe Lofgren: 02:39 Correct. Now, the Trump campaign wasn’t exactly reluctant to take Russian help. You wrote a it expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts. Isn’t that correct?
Robert Mueller: 02:51 That’s correct.
Zoe Lofgren: 02:52 Now, what was the investigations determination regarding frequency with which the Trump campaign made contact with the Russian government?
Robert Mueller: 03:05 Well, I would have to refer you to the report on that.
Zoe Lofgren: 03:08 Well, we went through and we counted 126 contacts between Russians or their agents and Trump campaign officials or their associates. So would that sound about right?
Robert Mueller: 03:25 I can say I understand this statistic and believe it. Yeah, I understand that statistic.
Zoe Lofgren: 03:33 Mr. Mueller, I appreciate your being here and your report. From your testimony and the report, I think the American people have learned several things. First, the Russians wanted Trump to win. Second, the Russians went on a sweeping cyber influence campaign. The Russians hacked the DNC and they got the democratic game plan for the election. The Russian campaign chairman met with Russian agents and repeatedly gave them internal data, polling, and messaging in the battleground states. So while the Russians were buying ads and creating propaganda to influence the outcome of the election, they were armed with inside information that they had stolen through hacking from the DNC and that they had been given by the Trump campaign chairman, Mr Manafort. My colleagues will probe the efforts undertaken to keep this information from becoming public, but I think it’s important for the American people to understand the gravity of the underlying problem that your report uncovered. With that, Mr Chairman, I would yield back.
Rep. Karen Bass Questioning
Rep. Karen Bass: 00:01 Thank you Mr. Chair. Director Mueller, as you know, we are focusing on five obstruction episodes today. I would like to ask you about the second of those five obstruction episodes. It is in the section of your report beginning on page 113 of volume two entitled, “The President orders McGahn to deny that the President tried to fire the special counsel.” On January 25th, 2018 the New York Times reported that, “The president had ordered McGahn to have the Department of Justice fire you.” Is that correct?
Robert Mueller: 00:33 Correct.
Rep. Karen Bass: 00:35 And that story related to the events you already testified about here today, the president’s calls to McGahn to have you removed, correct?
Robert Mueller: 00:43 Correct.
Rep. Karen Bass: 00:44 After the news broke, did the president go on TV and deny the story?
Robert Mueller: 00:48 Do not know.
Rep. Karen Bass: 00:50 In fact, the president said, “Fake news folks, fake news, a typical New York Times fake story,” correct?
Robert Mueller: 00:58 Correct.
Rep. Karen Bass: 01:00 But your investigation actually found substantial evidence that McGahn was ordered by the president to fire you, correct?
Robert Mueller: 01:07 Yes.
Rep. Karen Bass: 01:08 Did the president’s personal lawyer do something the following day in response to that news report?
Robert Mueller: 01:14 I’d refer you to the coverage of this in the report.
Rep. Karen Bass: 01:17 On page 114, “On January 26, 2018 the president’s personal counsel called McGahn’s attorney and said that the president wanted McGahn to put out a statement denying that he had been asked to fire the special counsel.” Did McGahn do what the president asked?
Robert Mueller: 01:38 I refer you to the report.
Rep. Karen Bass: 01:40 Communicating through his personal attorney, McGahn refused because he said, That the Times story was accurate in reporting that the president wanted the special council removed.” Isn’t that right?
Robert Mueller: 01:54 I believe it is, but I refer you again to the report.
Rep. Karen Bass: 01:57 Okay. So Mr. McGahn, through his personal attorney, told the president that he was not going to lie. Is that right?
Robert Mueller: 02:04 True.
Rep. Karen Bass: 02:05 Did the president drop the issue?
Robert Mueller: 02:08 I refer to the write up of this in the report.
Rep. Karen Bass: 02:11 Okay. Next, the president told the White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter to try to pressure McGahn to make a false denial. Is that correct?
Robert Mueller: 02:20 That’s correct.
Rep. Karen Bass: 02:21 What did he actually direct Porter to do?
Robert Mueller: 02:24 And then I would send you back to the report.
Rep. Karen Bass: 02:26 Okay. Well on page 113 it says, “The president then directed Porter to tell him again to create a record to make it clear that the president never directed McGahn to fire you.” Is that correct?
Robert Mueller: 02:42 That is as it’s stated in the report.
Rep. Karen Bass: 02:45 And you found, “The president said he wanted McGahn to write a letter to the file for our records,” correct?
Robert Mueller: 02:52 Correct.
Rep. Karen Bass: 02:54 And to be clear, the president is asking his White House counsel, Don McGahn, to create a record that McGahn believed to be untrue while you were in the midst of investigating the president for obstruction of justice, correct?
Robert Mueller: 03:10 Generally correct.
Rep. Karen Bass: 03:11 And Mr McGahn was an important witness in that investigation, wasn’t he?
Robert Mueller: 03:14 I would have to say yes.
Rep. Karen Bass: 03:16 Did the president tell Porter to threaten McGahn if he didn’t create the written denial?
Robert Mueller: 03:23 I’d refer you to the write up of it in the report.
Rep. Karen Bass: 03:26 In fact, didn’t the president say quote, and this is on page 116, “If he doesn’t write a letter, then maybe I’ll have to get rid of him.”
Robert Mueller: 03:34 Yes.
Rep. Karen Bass: 03:35 Did Porter deliver that threat?
Robert Mueller: 03:39 I again refer you to the discussion, it’s found on page 115.
Rep. Karen Bass: 03:45 Okay. But the president still didn’t give up, did he? So the president told McGahn directly to deny that the president told him to have you fired. Can you tell me exactly what happened?
Robert Mueller: 04:00 I can’t beyond what’s in the report.
Rep. Karen Bass: 04:02 Well, on page 116 it says the president met him in the Oval Office. “The president began the Oval Office meeting by telling McGahn that the New York Times story didn’t look good and McGahn needed to correct it.” Is that correct?
Robert Mueller: 04:20 It’s correct, so as it’s written in the report, yes.
Rep. Karen Bass: 04:23 The president asked McGahn whether he would do a correction and McGahn said no. Correct?
Robert Mueller: 04:31 That’s accurate.
Rep. Karen Bass: 04:32 Well, Mr. Mueller, thank you for your investigation uncovering this very disturbing evidence. My friend, Mr. Richmond, will have additional questions on the subject. However, it is clear to me if anyone else had ordered a witness to create a false record and cover up acts that are subject of a law enforcement investigation, that person would be facing criminal charges. I yield back my time.
Rep. Cedric Richmond Questioning
Cedric Richmond: 00:00 Mr. Mueller, Congressman Dutch addressed Trump’s request to McGahn to fire you. Representative Bass talked about the president’s question of McGahn to deny the fact the president made that request. I want to pick up where they left off, and 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 prospect of the president meeting with Mr. McGahn to discuss Mr. McGahn’s refusal to deny the New York Times report about the president trying to fire you. Correct?
Robert Mueller: 00:39 Correct.
Cedric Richmond: 00:42 In fact, the president’s council was so alarmed by the prospect of the president’s meeting with McGahn that he called Mr. McGahn’s council and said that McGahn could not resign no matter what happened in the Oval Office that day. Correct?
Robert Mueller: 00:58 Correct.
Cedric Richmond: 01:00 So, it’s accurate to say that the president knew that he was asking McGahn to deny facts that McGahn, quote, had repeatedly said were accurate, unquote. Isn’t that right?
Robert Mueller: 01:11 Right.
Cedric Richmond: 01:15 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 and asked McGahn to repudiate facts that McGahn had repeatedly said were accurate. Isn’t that correct?
Robert Mueller: 01:44 Generally true.
Cedric Richmond: 01:44 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.
Robert Mueller: 01:56 That’s accurate.
Cedric Richmond: 01:58 I want to reference you to a slide, and it’s on page 120. It says, “Substantial evidence indicates that, in repeatedly urging McGahn to dispute that he was ordered to have the special council terminated, the president acted for the purpose of influencing McGahn’s account in order to deflect or prevent further scrutiny of the president’s conduct towards the investigation.”
Robert Mueller: 02:29 That’s accurate.
Cedric Richmond: 02:31 Can you explain what you meant there?
Robert Mueller: 02:34 I’m just going to leave it as it appears in the report.
Cedric Richmond: 02:38 It’s fair to say the president tried to protect himself by asking staff to falsify records relevant to an ongoing investigation.
Robert Mueller: 02:46 I would say that’s generally a summary.
Cedric Richmond: 02:49 Would you say that action, the president tried to hamper the investigation by asking staff to falsify records relevant to your investigation?
Robert Mueller: 03:00 I’m just going to have to refer you to the report if I could for review of that episode.
Cedric Richmond: 03:06 Thank you. Also, 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?
Robert Mueller: 03:17 I believe that to be true.
Cedric Richmond: 03:19 In fact, at that same Oval Office meeting, did the president also ask McGahn why he had told, quote, why he had told special councils office investigators that the president told him to have you removed, unquote?
Robert Mueller: 03:34 And what was the question, Sir, if I might …
Cedric Richmond: 03:36 Let me go to the next one. The president, quote, criticized McGahn for telling your office about the June 17th, 2017 events when he told McGahn to have you removed. Correct?
Robert Mueller: 03:49 Correct.
Cedric Richmond: 03:53 In other words, the president was criticizing his White House council for telling law enforcement officials what he believed to be the truth.
Robert Mueller: 04:02 Again, go back to the text of the report.
Cedric Richmond: 04:07 Well, let me go a little bit further. Would it have been a crime if Mr. McGahn had lied to you about the president ordering him to fire you?
Robert Mueller: 04:15 I don’t want to speculate.
Cedric Richmond: 04:18 Okay. Is it true that you charged multiple people associated with the president for lying to you during your investigation?
Robert Mueller: 04:24 That is accurate.
Cedric Richmond: 04:26 The president also complained that his staff were taking notes during the meeting about firing McGahn, is that correct?
Robert Mueller: 04:36 That’s what the report says. Yeah, the report.
Cedric Richmond: 04:40 But in fact, it’s completely appropriate for the president’s staff, especially his councils, to take notes during the meeting, correct?
Robert Mueller: 04:47 I rely on the wording of the report.
Cedric Richmond: 04:51 Well, thank you, Director Mueller for your investigation into whether the president attempted to obstruct justice by ordering his White House council Don McGahn to lie to protect the president and then to create a false record about it. It is clear that any other person who engaged in such conduct would be charged with a crime. We will continue our investigation, and we will hold the president accountable because no one is above the law.
Robert Mueller: 05:14 Thank you.
Rep. Deutch Questioning
Mr Deutch: 00:00 Director, Mueller, the most important question I have for you today is why. Director Mueller, why did the President of the United States want you fired?
Robert Mueller: 00:12 Oh, I can’t answer that question.
Mr Deutch: 00:17 Well, on page 89 in your report on volume two, you said, and I quote, “Substantial evidence indicates that the President’s attempts to remove the Special Counsel were linked to the Special Counsel’s oversight of investigations that involve the President’s conduct and, most immediately, to reports that the President was being investigated for potential obstruction of justice.” Close quote.
Mr Deutch: 00:51 Director Mueller, you found evidence as you lay out in your report that the President wanted to fire you because you were investigating him for obstruction of justice. Isn’t that correct?
Robert Mueller: 01:04 That’s what it says in the report, yes, and I go, I stand by in the report.
Mr Deutch: 01:09 Director Mueller. That shouldn’t happen in America. No president should be able to escape investigation by abusing his power, but that’s what you testified to in your report. The President ordered you fired. The White House Council knew it was wrong. The President knew it was wrong. In your report, it says there’s also evidence the President knew he should not have made those calls to McGahn but the President did it anyway. He did it anyway. Anyone else who blatantly interfered with a criminal investigation like yours would be arrested and indicted on charges of obstruction of justice. Director Mueller, you determined that you were barred from indicting a sitting president. We’ve already talked about that today. That is exactly why this committee must hold the President accountable.
Rep. Deutch Questioning (continued)
Ted Deutch: 00:02 Director Mueller, I’d like to get back to your findings covering June of 2017. There was a bombshell article that reported that the President of the United States was personally under investigation for obstruction of justice and you said in your report on page 90, volume two, and I quote, “News of the obstruction investigation prompted the President to call McGahn and seek to have the special counsel removed.” Close quote.
Ted Deutch: 00:26 And then in your report you wrote about multiple calls from the President to White House Counsel Don McGahn, and regarding the second call you wrote, and I quote, “McGahn recalled that the President was more direct, saying something like, ‘Call Rod, tell Rod that Mueller has conflicts and can’t be the Special Counsel.’ McGahn recalled the President telling him, ‘Muller has to go,’ and, ‘Call me back when you do it.'”
Ted Deutch: 00:55 Director Mueller, did McGahn understand what the President was ordering him to do?
Robert Mueller: 01:00 I direct you to what we have written in the report in terms of characterizing his feelings.
Ted Deutch: 01:04 And in the report it says, “McGahn understood the President to be saying that the Special Counsel had to be removed.” You also said on page 86 that, “McGahn considered the President’s request to be an inflection point and he wanted to hit the brakes and he felt trapped and McGahn decided he had to resign.” McGahn took action to prepare to resign, isn’t that correct?
Robert Mueller: 01:31 I direct you again to the report.
Ted Deutch: 01:33 And in fact, that very day he went to the White House and quoting your report, you said, “He then drove to the office to pack his belongings and submit his resignation letter.”
Robert Mueller: 01:46 That is directly from the report.
Ted Deutch: 01:47 It is. And before he resigned, however, he called the President’s chief of staff, Reince Priebus, and he called the President’s senior advisor, Steve Bannon. Do you recall what McGahn told them?
Robert Mueller: 02:03 What’s said will appear in the report.
Ted Deutch: 02:05 It is. It is. And it says on page 87, “Priebus recalled that McGahn said that the President asked him to do crazy expletive.” In other words, crazy stuff. The White House Counsel thought that the President’s request was completely out of bounds. He said the President asked him to do something crazy, it was wrong, and he was prepared to resign over it. Now, these are extraordinarily troubling events, but you found White House Counsel McGahn to be a credible witness, isn’t that correct?
Robert Mueller: 02:43 Correct.
Ted Deutch: 02:46 Director Mueller, the most important question I have for you today is why. Director Mueller, why did the President of the United States want you fired?
Robert Mueller: 02:59 Oh, I can’t answer that question.
Ted Deutch: 03:04 Well, on page 89 in your report, on volume two, you said, and I quote, “Substantial evidence indicates that the president’s attempts to remove the special counsel were linked to the special council’s oversight of investigations that involve the president’s conduct and most immediately to reports that the president was being investigated for potential obstruction of justice.”
Ted Deutch: 03:38 Director Mueller, you found evidence, as you lay out in your report, that the president wanted to fire you because you were investigating him for obstruction of justice. Isn’t that correct?
Robert Mueller: 03:51 That’s what it says in the report. Yes. And I stand behind the report.
Ted Deutch: 03:56 Director Muller, that shouldn’t happen in America. No president should be able to escape investigation by abusing his power. But that’s what you testified to in your report. The president ordered you fired. The White House Council knew it was wrong. The president knew it was wrong. In your report, it says there’s also evidence the president should not have made those calls to McGahn, but the president did it anyway. He did it anyway. Anyone else who blatantly interfered with a criminal investigation like yours would be arrested and indicted on charges of obstruction of justice. Director Mueller, you determined that you were barred from indicting a sitting president. We’ve already talked about that today. That is exactly why this committee must hold the president accountable.
Rep. Madeleine Dean Questioning
Madeleine Dean: 00:00 Good morning, Director Mueller. Madeleine Dean.
Robert Mueller: 00:06 Ah, gotcha. Sorry.
Madeleine Dean: 00:07 Thank you. I wanted to ask you about public confusion connected with Attorney General Barr’s release of your report. I will be quoting your March 27th letter. Sir, in that letter, and at several other times, did you convey to the Attorney General that the “Introductions and executive summaries of our two volume report accurately summarize this office’s work and conclusions.”?
Robert Mueller: 00:35 I’d have to say that the letter itself speaks for itself.
Madeleine Dean: 00:39 And those were your words in that letter. Continuing with your letter, you wrote to the Attorney General that “The summary letter that the Department sent to Congress and released to the public late in the afternoon of March 24th did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this Office’s work and conclusions.” Is that correct?
Robert Mueller: 01:00 Again, I rely on the letter itself for its terms.
Madeleine Dean: 01:04 Thank you. What was it about the reports, context, nature, substance, that the Attorney General’s letter did not capture?
Robert Mueller: 01:12 I think we captured that in a March 27th responsive letter.
Madeleine Dean: 01:17 And this is from the 27th letter. What were some of the specifics that you thought-
Robert Mueller: 01:22 I direct you to the letter itself.
Madeleine Dean: 01:24 Okay. You finished that letter by saying, “There is now public confusion about critical aspects as a result of our investigation.” Could you tell us specifically some of the public confusion you identified?
Robert Mueller: 01:39 Not generally. Again, I go back to the letter. The letter speaks for itself
Madeleine Dean: 01:41 And could Attorney General Barr have avoided public confusion if he had released your summaries and executive introduction and summaries?
Robert Mueller: 01:49 I don’t feel comfortable speculating on that.
Madeleine Dean: 01:52 Shifting to May 30th, the Attorney General in an interview with CBS News said that you could have reached … “You could have reached a decision as to whether it was criminal activity,” on the part of the President. Did the Attorney General or his staff ever tell you that he thought you should make a decision on whether the president engaged in criminal activity?
Robert Mueller: 02:13 I’m not going to speak to what the Attorney General was thinking or saying.
Madeleine Dean: 02:19 If the Attorney General had directed you or ordered you to make a decision on whether the President engaged in criminal activity, would you have so done?
Robert Mueller: 02:29 I can’t answer that question in the vacuum.
Madeleine Dean: 02:33 Director Mueller, again, I thank you for being here. I agree with your March 27th letter. There was public confusion, and the President took full advantage of that confusion by falsely claiming your report found no obstruction. Let us be clear, your report did not exonerate the president. Instead, it provided substantial evidence of obstruction of justice, leaving congress to do its duty. We shall not shrink from that duty. I yield back.
Rep. Ben Cline Questioning
Ben Cline: 00:00 Thank you, Mr Chairman.
Ben Cline: 00:01 Mr. Mueller, we’ve heard a lot about what you’re not going to talk about today, so let’s talk about something that you should be able to talk about. The law itself, the underlying obstruction statute, and your creative legal analysis of the statutes in Volume 2.
Ben Cline: 00:15 Particularly, under interpretation of 18 U.S.C. § 1512 C, section 1512 C is an obstruction of justice statute created as part of auditing a financial regulations for public companies. And as you write on page 164 of Volume 2, this provision was added as a floor amendment in the Senate and explained as closing a certain loophole with respect to document shredding. And to read the statute, whoever corruptly alters, destroys, mutilates, or conceals a record document or other object or attempts to do so with the intent to impair the object’s integrity or availability for use in an official proceeding, or otherwise obstructs influences or impedes any official proceeding or attempts to do so shall be fined under the statute or in prison not more than 20 years or both.
Ben Cline: 01:00 Your analysis and application of the statute proposes to give Clause C-2 a much broader interpretation than commonly used. First, your analysis proposes to read Clause C-2 in isolation, reading it as a freestanding, all-encompassing provision prohibiting any act influencing a proceeding if done with an improper motive.
Ben Cline: 01:17 And second, your analysis of the statute proposes to apply this sweeping prohibition to lawful acts taken by public officials exercising their discretionary powers if those acts influence a proceeding.
Ben Cline: 01:31 So, Mr. Mueller, I’d ask you … in analyzing the obstruction, you state that you recognize that the Department of Justice and the courts have not definitively resolve these issues. Correct?
Robert Mueller: 01:43 Correct.
Ben Cline: 01:45 You’d agree that not everyone in the Justice Department agreed with your legal theory of the obstruction of justice statutes, correct?
Robert Mueller: 01:51 I’m not going to be involved in discussion on that at this juncture.
Ben Cline: 01:55 In fact, the Attorney General himself disagrees with your interpretation of the law. Correct?
Robert Mueller: 02:00 I leave that to the Attorney General to identify it.
Ben Cline: 02:03 And you would agree that prosecutors sometimes incorrectly apply the law, correct?
Robert Mueller: 02:07 I would have to agree with that one. Yes.
Ben Cline: 02:08 And members of your legal team, in fact, have had convictions overturned because they were based on an incorrect legal theory, correct?
Robert Mueller: 02:14 I don’t know to what you advert. We’ve all-
Ben Cline: 02:17 Well-
Robert Mueller: 02:17 … who have spent time in the trenches trying cases have not won every one of those cases.
Ben Cline: 02:21 Well, let me ask you about one in particular. One of your top prosecutors, Andrew Weissmann, obtained a conviction against auditing firm Arthur Andersen, lower court, which was subsequently overturned in a unanimous Supreme Court decision that rejected the legal theory advanced by Weissmann, correct?
Robert Mueller: 02:34 Well, I’m not going to delve into the-
Ben Cline: 02:36 Well, let me read from that. Maybe it’ll [inaudible 00:02:38] your memory.
Robert Mueller: 02:38 May I just finish my answer?
Ben Cline: 02:41 Yes.
Robert Mueller: 02:41 To say that I’m not going to be getting involved in the discussion on that. I will refer you to that citation that you gave me at the outset for the lengthy discussion on just what you’re talking about. And to the extent that I have anything to say about it, it is what we have already put into the report on that.
Ben Cline: 02:58 And I am reading from your report when discussing this section, and I’ll read from the decision of the Supreme Court unanimously reversing Mr. Weissmann when he said, “Indeed, it’s striking how little culpability the instructions required. For example, the jury was told that even a petitioner honestly and sincerely believed his conduct was lawful, the jury could convict. The instructions also diluted the meaning of corruptly such that it covered innocent conduct.”
Robert Mueller: 03:21 Well, let me just say I put a word for-
Ben Cline: 03:22 Let me move on. I have limited time.
Robert Mueller: 03:24 Excuse-
Ben Cline: 03:24 Your report takes the broadest possible reading of this provision and applying it to the president’s official acts. And I’m concerned about the implications of your theory for over criminalizing conduct by public officials and private citizens alike. To emphasize how broad your theory of liability is, I want to ask you about a few examples.
Ben Cline: 03:39 On October 11th, 2015, during the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, President Obama said, “I don’t think it posed a national security problem.” And he later said, “I can tell you that this is not a situation in which America’s national security was endangered.”
Ben Cline: 03:53 Assuming for a moment that his comments did influence the investigation, couldn’t President Obama be charged under your interpretation with obstruction of justice?
Robert Mueller: 04:02 Well, again, I refer you to the report. But let me say with Andrew Weissmann, who is one of the more talented attorneys that we have on board, he is.
Ben Cline: 04:10 Okay. Well, I’ll take that-
Robert Mueller: 04:11 Over a period of time, he has run a number of units-
Ben Cline: 04:16 I have very limited time.
Robert Mueller: 04:18 [crosstalk 00:04:18] crime.
Ben Cline: 04:18 In August 2015, a very senior DOJ official called FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe expressing concern that FBI agents were still openly pursuing the Clinton Foundation probe. The DOJ official was apparently “very pissed off,” quote unquote. McCabe questioned this official asking, “Are you telling me I need to shut down a validly predicated investigation?” To which the official replied, “Of course not. This seems to be a clear example of somebody within the executive branch attempting to influence an FBI investigation.”
Ben Cline: 04:45 Under your theory, couldn’t that person be charged with obstruction as long as the prosecutor could come up with a potentially corrupt motive?
Robert Mueller: 04:53 I refer you to our lengthy dissertation on exactly those issues that appears at the end of the report.
Ben Cline: 04:59 Mr. Mueller, I’d argue that it says above the Supreme Court, “Equal justice under law,” or not.
Speaker 3: 05:04 Time of the gentleman has expired.
Ben Cline: 05:05 Not stretched-
Speaker 3: 05:06 Our intent was-
Rep. Lou Correa Questioning
Rep. Lou Correa: 00:01 Mr. Mueller. First of all, let me welcome you. Thank you for your service to our country. You are a hero, Vietnam War vet, wounded war vet. We won’t forget your service to our country.
Robert Mueller: 00:11 Thank you, sir.
Rep. Lou Correa: 00:11 If I may begin because of time limits. We have gone in depth on only five possible episodes of obstruction. There’s so much more and I want to focus in on another section of obstruction, which is the President’s conduct concerning Michael Flynn, the president’s national security advisor. In early 20-7, the White House Council and the President were informed that Mr. Flynn had lied to government authorities about his communications with the Russian ambassador during the Trump campaign in transition. Is this correct?
Robert Mueller: 00:46 Correct.
Rep. Lou Correa: 00:48 If a hostile nation knows that a US official has lied publicly, that can be used to blackmail that government official, correct?
Robert Mueller: 00:57 I’m going to speak to that. I don’t disagree with it necessarily, but I’m not going to speak to any more to that issue.
Rep. Lou Correa: 01:03 Thank you very much, sir. Flynn resigned on February 13, 2016 and the very next day when the President was having lunch with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, did the President say, “Now, that we fired Flynn, the Russia thing is over.” Is that correct?
Robert Mueller: 01:23 Correct.
Rep. Lou Correa: 01:25 And is it true that Christie responded by saying, “No way and this Russia thing is far from over?”
Robert Mueller: 01:34 That’s the way we have it in the report.
Rep. Lou Correa: 01:37 Thank you. And after President met with Christie later that same day, the President arranged to meet with then FBI director James Comey alone in the Oval Office, correct?
Robert Mueller: 01:51 Correct, particularly if you have the citation to the-
Rep. Lou Correa: 01:55 Page 39, 40 Volume 2.
Robert Mueller: 01:58 Thank you very much.
Rep. Lou Correa: 02:00 And according to Comey, the President told him “I hope you can see your way to clear to letting this thing go, to letting Flynn go. He’s a good guy and I hope you can let it go.” Page 40, Volume 2.
Robert Mueller: 02:18 Accurate.
Rep. Lou Correa: 02:19 What did Comey understand the President to be asking?
Robert Mueller: 02:22 I’m not going to get into what was in Mr. Comey’s mind.
Rep. Lou Correa: 02:26 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.
Robert Mueller: 02:36 Well, I understand it’s in the report and I support it as being in the report.
Rep. Lou Correa: 02:42 Thank you, sir. Even though the President publicly denied telling Comey to drop the investigation, you found “Substantial evidence corroborating Comey’s account over the President’s.” Is this correct?
Robert Mueller: 02:57 Correct.
Rep. Lou Correa: 02:59 The President fired Comey on May 9th. Is that correct, sir?
Robert Mueller: 03:03 I believe that’s the accurate date.
Rep. Lou Correa: 03:06 That’s Page 77, Volume 2. You found substantial evidence that the catalyst for the President’s firing of Comey was Comey’s “unwillingness to publicly state that the President was not personally under investigation.”
Robert Mueller: 03:23 I’m not going to delve more into the details of what happened. If it’s in the report then I’m supportive because it’s already been reviewed and appropriately appears in the report.
Rep. Lou Correa: 03:31 And that’s page 75 Volume 2.
Robert Mueller: 03:33 Thank you.
Rep. Lou Correa: 03:34 Thank you. And in fact, 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.” Is that correct?
Robert Mueller: 03:55 If that’s what was written in the report. Yes.
Speaker 3: 03:58 Time of the gentleman has expired.
Rep. Lou Correa: 04:01 Thank you, sir.
Speaker 3: 04:01 Gentleman from Virginia.
Rep. John Ratcliffe Questioning
John Ratcliffe: 00:00 Good morning, Director. If you’ll let me quickly summarize your opening statement this morning, you said in volume one on the issue of conspiracy, the Special Counsel determined that the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government, its election interference activities. And then in volume two, for reasons that you explain, the Special Counsel did not make a determination on whether there was an obstruction of justice crime committed by the President. Is that fair?
Robert Mueller: 00:27 Yes, sir.
John Ratcliffe: 00:27 All right. Now, in explaining the Special Counsel did not make what you called a “traditional prosecution or declamation decision”, the report on the bottom of page two of volume two reads as follows: “The evidence we obtained about the President’s actions and intent presents difficult issues that prevent us from conclusively determining that no criminal conduct occurred. Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”
John Ratcliffe: 00:54 Now, I read that correctly?
Robert Mueller: 00:56 Yes.
John Ratcliffe: 00:57 All right. Now, your report, and today you said that all times the Special Counsel team operated under was guided by and followed Justice Department policies and principles. So which DOJ policy or principle sets forth a legal standard that an investigated person is not exonerated if their innocence from criminal conduct is not conclusively determined?
Robert Mueller: 01:19 Can you repeat that last part of that question?
John Ratcliffe: 01:21 Yeah. Which DOJ policy or principle set forths a legal standard that an investigated person is not exonerated if their innocence from criminal conduct is not conclusively determined? Where does that language come from, Director? Where is the DOJ policy that says that?
John Ratcliffe: 01:41 Let me make it easier, is there-
Robert Mueller: 01:44 I’m sorry, go ahead.
John Ratcliffe: 01:45 Can you give me an example other than Donald Trump where the Justice Department determined that an investigated person was not exonerated because their innocence was not conclusively determined?
Robert Mueller: 01:55 I cannot, but this is a unique situation.
John Ratcliffe: 01:57 You can’t, time is short, I’ve got five minutes, let’s just leave it at you can’t find because I’ll tell you why. It doesn’t exist. The Special Counsel’s job, nowhere does it say that you were to conclusively determine Donald Trump’s innocence or that the Special Counsel report should determine whether or not to exonerate him. It’s not in any of the documents, it’s not in your appointment order, it’s not in the Special Counsel regulations, it’s not in the OLC Opinions, it’s not in the Justice manual, and it’s not in the Principles of Federal Prosecution.
John Ratcliffe: 02:23 Nowhere do those words appear together, because, respectfully, respectfully, Director, it was not the Special Counsel’s job to conclusively determine Donald Trump’s innocence or to exonerate him. Because the bedrock principle of our justice system is a presumption of innocence. It exists for everyone, everyone is entitled to it, including sitting Presidents. And because there is a presumption of innocence, prosecutors never, ever need to conclusively determine it.
John Ratcliffe: 02:53 Now, Director, the Special Counsel applied this inverted burden of proof that I can’t find and you said doesn’t exist anywhere in the Department policies, and you used it to write a report. And the very first line of your report, the very first line of your report says, and you read this morning, it authorizes the Special Counsel to provide the Attorney General with a confidential report explaining the prosecution or declination decisions reached by the Special Counsel. That’s the very first word of your report, right?
Robert Mueller: 03:25 That’s correct.
John Ratcliffe: 03:27 Here’s the problem, Director. The Special Counsel didn’t do that. On volume one, you did. On volume two, with respect to potential obstruction of justice, the Special Counsel made neither a prosecution decision or a declination decision. You made no decision, you told us this morning and in your report that you made no determination.
John Ratcliffe: 03:49 So respectfully, Director, you didn’t follow the Special Counsel regulations. It clearly says, “Write a confidential report about decisions reached.” Nowhere in here does it say, “Write a report about decisions that weren’t reached.”
John Ratcliffe: 04:05 You wrote 180 pages, 180 pages about decisions that weren’t reached, about potential crimes that weren’t charged or decided. And respectfully, respectfully, by doing that, you managed to violate every principle and the most sacred of traditions about prosecutors not offering extra prosecutorial analysis about potential crimes that aren’t charged.
John Ratcliffe: 04:29 So Americans need to know this as they listen to the Democrats and Socialists on the other side of the aisle, as they do dramatic readings from this report, that volume two of this report was not authorized under the law to be written. It was written to a legal standard that does not exist at the Justice Department. And it was written in violation of every DOJ principle about extra prosecutorial commentary.
John Ratcliffe: 04:54 I agree with the Chairman this morning when he said Donald Trump is not above the law. He’s not, but he damn sure shouldn’t be below the law, which is where volume two of this report puts him…
Rep. Hank Johnson Questioning
Hank Johnson: 00:00 Thank you, director Mueller I’d like to get us back on track here. Your investigation found that president Trump directed White House counsel, Don McGahn to fire you isn’t that correct?
Robert Mueller: 00:14 True.
Hank Johnson: 00:15 And the president claimed that he wanted to fire you because you had supposed conflicts of interest isn’t that, correct?
Robert Mueller: 00:22 True.
Hank Johnson: 00:23 Now you had no conflicts of interests that required your removal isn’t that a fact?
Robert Mueller: 00:28 Correct.
Hank Johnson: 00:28 And in fact, Don McGahn advised the president that the asserted conflicts were, in his words, silly and not real conflicts. Isn’t that true?
Robert Mueller: 00:39 I have never referred to the report on that episode.
Hank Johnson: 00:42 Well, page 85 of volume two speaks to that, and also director Mueller, DOJ ethics officials confirmed that you had no conflicts that would prevent you from serving as special counsel isn’t that, correct?
Robert Mueller: 00:56 That’s correct.
Hank Johnson: 00:57 But despite Don McGahn and the Department of Justice guidance, around May 23rd, 2017 the president “prodded” McGahn, to complain to Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein, about these supposed conflicts of interests, correct?
Robert Mueller: 01:17 Correct.
Hank Johnson: 01:18 And, McGahn declined to call Rosenstein or Rosenstein, I’m sorry. Telling the president that, “It would look like still trying to meddle in the investigation, and knocking out Mueller would be another fact used to claim obstruction of justice,” isn’t that correct?
Robert Mueller: 01:37 Generally so, yes.
Hank Johnson: 01:39 And in other words, director Mueller, the White House counsel told the president that if he tried to remove you, that that could be another basis to allege that the president was obstructing justice, correct?
Robert Mueller: 01:53 That is generally correct, yes.
Hank Johnson: 01:55 Now I’d like to review what happened after the president was warned about obstructing justice. On Tuesday, June-
Robert Mueller: 02:04 I’m sorry congressman do you have a citation for that?
Hank Johnson: 02:09 Yes. Volume two, page 81 –
Robert Mueller: 02:13 Thank you.
Hank Johnson: 02:14 … And 82. Now I’d like to review what happened after the president was warned about obstructing justice. It’s true that on Tuesday, June 13th, 2017 the president dictated a press statement stating he had “No intention of firing you,” correct?
Robert Mueller: 02:33 Correct.
Hank Johnson: 02:35 But the following day, June 14th, the media reported for the first time, that you were investigating the president for obstructing of justice, correct?
Robert Mueller: 02:46 Correct.
Hank Johnson: 02:48 And then after learning for the first time that he was under investigation, the very next day the president “issued” a series of tweets acknowledging the existence of the obstruction investigation, and criticizing it isn’t that correct?
Robert Mueller: 03:03 Generally so.
Hank Johnson: 03:04 And then, on Saturday June 17th, two days later, the president called Don McGahn at home from Camp David on a Saturday to talk about you isn’t that, correct?
Robert Mueller: 03:18 Correct.
Hank Johnson: 03:19 What was the significant about that first weekend phone call that Don McGahn took from president Trump?
Robert Mueller: 03:29 I’m going to ask you to rely on what we wrote about those instance.
Hank Johnson: 03:32 Well you wrote in your report that on, at page 85 volume two, that on Saturday, June 17th, 2017, the president called McGahn at home to have the special counsel removed. Now did the President call Don McGahn more than once that day?
Robert Mueller: 03:53 Well, I gave a-
Hank Johnson: 03:54 I think it was too close.
Speaker 3: 03:57 Talk into the mic please.
Robert Mueller: 03:57 I’m sorry about that.
Hank Johnson: 03:58 On page 85 of your report, you wrote “On the first call, McGahn recalled that the president said something like, “You got to do this, you got to call Rod,”” correct?
Robert Mueller: 04:11 Correct.
Hank Johnson: 04:12 And your investigation and report found that Don McGahn was perturbed, to use your words, By the president’s request to call Rod Rosenstein to fire him, isn’t that correct?
Robert Mueller: 04:24 Well, there was a continuous colicky, it was a continuous involvement of Don McGahn-
Hank Johnson: 04:33 And he-
Robert Mueller: 04:34 … responding to the presidents entreaties.
Hank Johnson: 04:36 And he did not want to put himself in the middle of that. He did not want to have a role in asking the attorney general to fire the special counsel, correct?
Robert Mueller: 04:48 Well, I would, again refer to you to the report and the way it is characterized in the report.
Hank Johnson: 04:54 Thank you. At volume two, page 85, it states that, he didn’t want to have the attorney general … He didn’t want to have a role in trying to fire the attorney general. So at this point, I [inaudible 00:05:09] you’re back.
Rep. Jackson Lee Questioning
Ms. Jackson Lee: 00:00 Thank you Mr Chairman. Director Mueller. Good morning. Your exchange with the gentlelady from California demonstrates what is at stake. The Trump campaign chair, Paul Manafort was passing sensitive voter information and poller data to a Russian operative. And there were so many other ways that Russia subverted out democracy. Together with the evidence in Volume One I cannot think of a more serious need to investigate. So now I’m going to ask you some questions about obstruction of justice as it relates to Volume Two. On page 12 of Volume Two you state, “We determined that there were sufficient factual and legal basis to further investigate potential obstruction of justice issues involving the president”. Is that correct?
Robert Mueller: 00:48 And do you have the citations ma’am?
Ms. Jackson Lee: 00:50 Page 12 Volume Two.
Robert Mueller: 00:54 And which portion of that page?
Ms. Jackson Lee: 00:56 That is, “We determined that there was a sufficient factual and legal basis to further investigate potential obstruction of justice issues involving the president”. Is that correct?
Robert Mueller: 01:07 Yes.
Ms. Jackson Lee: 01:08 Your report also describes at least 10 separate instances of possible obstruction of justice that were investigated by you and your team. Is that correct?
Robert Mueller: 01:16 Yes.
Ms. Jackson Lee: 01:17 In fact, the table of contents serves as a very good guide of some of the acts of that obstruction of justice that you investigated, and I put it up on the screen. On page 157 of Volume Two you described those acts and they range from the president’s effort to curtail the special counsel’s investigation, the president’s further efforts to have the attorney general take over the investigation, the president’s orders, Don McGahn to deny that the president tried to fire the special counsel and many others. Is that correct?
Robert Mueller: 01:49 Yes.
Ms. Jackson Lee: 01:51 I direct you now to what you wrote, Director Mueller, “The president’s pattern of conduct as a whole sheds light on the nature of the president’s acts and the inferences that can be drawn about his intent”. Does that mean you have to investigate all of his conduct to ascertain true motive?
Robert Mueller: 02:10 No.
Ms. Jackson Lee: 02:11 And when you talk about the president’s pattern of conduct that are include the 10 possible acts of obstruction that you investigated, is that correct? When you talk about the president’s pattern of conduct, that would include the 10 possible acts of obstruction that you investigated? Correct?
Robert Mueller: 02:25 I direct you to the report for how that is characterized.
Ms. Jackson Lee: 02:30 Thank you. Let me go to the screen again. And for each of those 10 potential instances of obstruction of justice, you analyze three elements of the crime of obstruction of justice and obstructive acts, a nexus between the act and an official proceeding, and corrupt intent. Is that correct?
Robert Mueller: 02:48 Yes.
Ms. Jackson Lee: 02:48 You wrote on page 178 Volume Two in your report about corrupt intent, “Actions by the president to end a criminal investigation into his own conduct to protect against personal embarrassment or legal liability would constitute a core example of corruptly motivated conduct”. Is that correct?
Robert Mueller: 03:08 Yes.
Ms. Jackson Lee: 03:09 To the screen again, even with the evidence you did find, is it true, as you note on page 76 of Volume Two, that “The evidence does indicate that a thorough FBI investigation would uncover facts about the campaign and the president personally that the president could have understood to be crimes or that would give rise to legal, personal and political concerns”?
Robert Mueller: 03:31 I rely on the language with the report.
Ms. Jackson Lee: 03:33 Is that relevant to potential obstruction of justice? Is that relevant to potential obstruction of justice?
Robert Mueller: 03:39 Yes.
Ms. Jackson Lee: 03:40 You further elaborate on page 157 “Obstruction of justice can be motivated by a desire to protect non-criminal personal interests to protect against investigations where underlying criminal liability falls into a gray area or to avoid personal embarrassment”. Is that correct?
Speaker 3: 03:55 Yes.
Robert Mueller: 03:58 I have on the screen…
Ms. Jackson Lee: 04:01 Is that correct on the screen?
Robert Mueller: 04:02 Can you repeat the question now that I have the language on the screen?
Ms. Jackson Lee: 04:07 Is it correct? As you further elaborate, “Obstruction of justice can be motivated by direct desire to protect non-criminal personal interests to protect against investigations where underlying criminal liability falls into a gray area”-
Robert Mueller: 04:19 Yes.
Ms. Jackson Lee: 04:20 “Or to avoid”. Is that true?
Robert Mueller: 04:21 Yes.
Ms. Jackson Lee: 04:21 And is it true that the impact? Pardon?
Robert Mueller: 04:25 Can you read the last question?
Ms. Jackson Lee: 04:30 The last question was [crosstalk 00:04:28]-
Robert Mueller: 04:31 I make certain I got it accurate.
Ms. Jackson Lee: 04:31 No. The last question was the language on the screen, asking you if that’s correct.
Robert Mueller: 04:38 Yes.
Ms. Jackson Lee: 04:39 Okay. Does a conviction of obstruction of justice result potentially in a lot of years of time in jail.
Robert Mueller: 04:50 Yes. Well, again, can you repeat the question just to make certain that I have it accurate?
Ms. Jackson Lee: 04:58 Does obstruction of justice warrant a lot of time in a jail if you were convicted?
Robert Mueller: 05:03 Yes.
Rep. Mike Johnson Questioning
Mike Johnson: 00:00 Mr. Mueller, you’ve been asked over here on the far right, sir. You’ve been asked a lot of questions here today and to be frank, you performed as most of us expected. You have stuck closely to your report and you have declined to answer many of our questions on both sides. As the closer for the Republican side, I know you’re glad to get to the close, I want to summarize the highlights of what we have heard and what we know. You spent two years and nearly 30 million tax payer dollars in unlimited resources to prepare a nearly 450 page report which you described today as very thorough. Millions of Americans today maintain genuine concerns about your work in large part because of the infamous and widely publicized bias of your investigating team members, which we now know included 14 Democrats and zero Republicans. Campaign finance reports later showed …
Robert Mueller: 00:46 Can I?
Mike Johnson: 00:46 That team. Excuse me, it’s my time. That team of Democrat investigators you hired donated more than $60,000 to the Hillary Clinton campaign and other Democratic candidates. Your team also included Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, which had been discussed today, and they had the lurid text messages that confirmed they openly mocked and hated Donald Trump and his supporters and they vowed to take him out. Mr. Ratcliffe asked you earlier this morning, quote, “Can you give me an example other than Donald Trump where the justice department determined that an investigated person was not exonerated because their innocence was not conclusively determined?” unquote. You answered, “I cannot.” Sir, that is unprecedented. The president believed from the very beginning that you and your special counsel team had serious conflicts. This is stated in the report and acknowledged by everybody, and yet President Trump cooperated fully with the investigation. He knew he had done nothing wrong and he encouraged all witnesses to cooperate with the investigation and produce more than 1.4 million pages of information and allowed over 40 witnesses who were directly affiliated with the White House or his campaign.
Mike Johnson: 01:50 Your report acknowledges on page 61, volume 2 that a volume of evidence exist of the president telling many people privately, quote, “The president was concerned about the impact of the Russian investigation on his ability to govern and to address important foreign relations issues and even matters of national security.” And on page 174, volume 2 your report also acknowledges that the Supreme Court has held, quote, “The president’s removal powers are at their zenith with respect to principal officers. That is officers who must be appointed by the president and who report to him directly. The president’s exclusive and illimitable power of removal of those principal officers furthers the president’s ability to ensure that the laws are faithfully executed,” unquote. And that would even include the attorney general. Look, in spite of all of that, nothing ever happened to stop or impede your special counsel’s investigation. Nobody was fired by the president, nothing was curtailed.
Mike Johnson: 02:41 And the investigation continued unencumbered for 22 long months. As you finally concluded in volume 1, the evidence, quote, “Did not establish that the president was involved in an underlying crime related to Russian election interference,” unquote. And the evidence, quote, “Did not establish that the president or those close to him were involved in any Russian conspiracies or had an unlawful relationship with any Russian official,” unquote. Over those 22 long months that your investigation dragged along, the president became increasingly frustrated, as many of the American people did, with its effects on our country and and his ability to govern. He vented about this to his lawyer and his close associates and he even shared his frustrations, as we all know on Twitter. But while the president’s social media accounts might have influenced some in the media or the opinion of some of the American people, none of those audiences were targets or witnesses in your investigation.
Mike Johnson: 03:30 The president never affected anybody’s testimony. He never demanded to end the investigation, or demanded that you be terminated and he never misled Congress, the DOJ, or the special counsel. Those, sir, are undisputed facts. There will be a lot of discussion I predict today and great frustration throughout the country about the fact that you wouldn’t answer any questions here about the origins of this whole charade, which was the infamous Christopher Steele dossier, now proven to be totally bogus, even though it is listed and specifically referenced in your report. But as our hearing is concluding, we apparently will get no comment on that from you. Mr Mueller, there’s one primary reason why you were called here today and by the … By the Democrat majority of our committee. Our colleagues on the other side of the isle just want political cover. They desperately wanted you today to tell them they should impeach the president, but the one thing you have said very clearly today is that your report is complete and thorough and you completely agree with and stand by its recommendations and all of its content. Is that right?
Robert Mueller: 04:24 True.
Mike Johnson: 04:25 Mr. Mueller, one last important question. Your report does not recommend impeachment, does it?
Robert Mueller: 04:32 I’m not going to talk about recommendations.
Mike Johnson: 04:35 It does not conclude that impeachment would be appropriate, right?
Robert Mueller: 04:38 I’m not going to talk about that issue.
Mike Johnson: 04:43 That’s one of the many things you wouldn’t talk about today, but I think we can all draw our own conclusions. I do thank you for your service to the country. And I’m glad this charade will come to an end soon and we can get back to the important business of this committee with its broad jurisdiction of so many important issues for the country without a yield back.
Speaker 3: 04:58 Gentleman yields back. I want to announce that our intent was to conclude this hearing at around 11:45. All of the Republican members have now asked their questions, but we have a few remaining Democratic members. They will be limiting their questions, so with director Mueller’s indulgence, we expect to finish within 15 minutes.
Rep Collins Questioning
Robert Mueller: 00:00 Thank you sir.
Mr. Collins: 00:01 In your press conference you stated, “Any testimony from your office would not go beyond our report. We chose these words carefully, the word speaks for itself. I will not provide information beyond that which is already public, in any appearance before Congress.” Do you stand by that statement?
Robert Mueller: 00:13 Yes.
Mr. Collins: 00:14 Since closing the special counsel’s office in May of 2019 have you conducted any additional interviews or obtained any new information in your role as special counsel?
Robert Mueller: 00:23 In the wake of the report?
Mr. Collins: 00:24 Since the closing of the office in May of 2019.
Robert Mueller: 00:28 And the question was-
Mr. Collins: 00:29 Have you conducted any new interviews, any new witnesses, anything?
Robert Mueller: 00:32 No.
Mr. Collins: 00:33 And you can confirm you’re no longer special counsel, correct?
Robert Mueller: 00:35 I am no longer special counsel.
Mr. Collins: 00:38 At any time with the investigation was your investigation curtailed or stopped or hindered?
Robert Mueller: 00:44 No.
Mr. Collins: 00:45 Were you or your team provided any questions by members of Congress or the majority ahead of your hearing today?
Robert Mueller: 00:51 No.
Mr. Collins: 00:52 Your report states that your investigative team included 19 lawyers and approximately 40 FBI Agents and analysts and accountants. Are those numbers accurate?
Robert Mueller: 00:59 Could you repeat that please?
Mr. Collins: 01:00 40 FBI Agents, 19 lawyers, intelligence analysts and forensic accountants, are those numbers accurate?
Robert Mueller: 01:06 Generally yes.
Mr. Collins: 01:06 This was included in your report.
Robert Mueller: 01:08 Generally yes.
Mr. Collins: 01:09 Is it also true that you issued over 2800 subpoenas, executed nearly 500 search warrants, obtained more than 230 orders for communication records and 50 pen registers.
Robert Mueller: 01:18 That went a little fast for me.
Mr. Collins: 01:20 Okay. In your report, I’ll make this very simple, you did a lot of work, correct?
Robert Mueller: 01:25 Yes, that I agree to.
Mr. Collins: 01:26 A lot of subpoenas, a lot of pen registers.
Robert Mueller: 01:28 A lot of subpoenas.
Mr. Collins: 01:29 Okay. We’ll walk this really slow if we need to.
Robert Mueller: 01:30 A lot of search warrants.
Mr. Collins: 01:32 All right, a lot of search warrants, a lot of [inaudible 00:01:34]. So you’re very thorough?
Robert Mueller: 01:36 Any what?
Mr. Collins: 01:36 In your opinion very thorough, you listed this out in your report, correct?
Robert Mueller: 01:39 Yes, yes, yes.
Mr. Collins: 01:40 Thank you. Is it true the evidence gathered during your investigation… Given the questions that you’ve 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?
Robert Mueller: 01:57 We found insufficient evidence of the president’s culpability-
Mr. Collins: 02:06 So that would be a yes?
Robert Mueller: 02:07 Without… Pardon?
Mr. Collins: 02:09 That’d be a yes?
Robert Mueller: 02:10 Yes.
Mr. Collins: 02:10 Thank you. Isn’t it true the evidence do not establish that the president or those close to him were involved in the charged Russian computer hacking or active measure conspiracies or that the president otherwise had unlawful relationships with any Russian official? Volume two, page 76. Correct?
Robert Mueller: 02:24 I’ll leave the answer to our report.
Mr. Collins: 02:27 So that was a yes. Is that any true your investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with Russian Government in election interference activity? Volume one page two, volume one page 173.
Robert Mueller: 02:39 Thank you, yes.
Mr. Collins: 02:40 Yes, thank you. Although your report states, “Collusion is not a specific offense,” and you’ve 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?
Robert Mueller: 02:57 You’re going to have to repeat that for me.
Mr. Collins: 03:00 Collusion is not a specific offense or a term of art in the federal criminal law, conspiracy is.
Robert Mueller: 03:09 Yes.
Mr. Collins: 03:09 In the colloquial context, known public context, collusion and conspiracy are essentially synonymous terms, correct?
Robert Mueller: 03:18 No.
Mr. Collins: 03:20 If no, on page 180 of volume one of your report, you wrote, “As defined in legal dictionaries, collusion is largely synonymous with conspiracy as that crime is set forth in the general conspiracy statute 18 U.S.C. 371.”
Robert Mueller: 03:32 I did.
Mr. Collins: 03:32 You said at your May 29th press conference and here today, you choose your words carefully. Are you sitting here today testifying something different than what your report states?
Robert Mueller: 03:41 Well what I’m asking is, if you can give me the citation, I can look at the citation and evaluate whether it is accurate.
Mr. Collins: 03:49 Okay. Let me just clarify. You stated that you would stay within the report. I just stated your report back to you and you said that collusion and conspiracy were not synonymous terms. That was, your answer was no.
Robert Mueller: 04:01 That’s correct.
Mr. Collins: 04:01 In that, page 180 of volume one of your report, it says, “As defined in legal dictionaries collusion is largely synonymous with conspiracy as that crime is set forth in general conspiracy statute 18 U.S.C. 371. ”
Robert Mueller: 04:15 That’s right.
Mr. Collins: 04:15 Now you said you chose your words carefully. Are you contradicting your report right now?
Robert Mueller: 04:20 Not when I read it.
Mr. Collins: 04:22 So you would change your answer to yes then?
Robert Mueller: 04:26 No, no. If you look at the language-
Mr. Collins: 04:29 I’m reading your report, sir. It’s a yes or no answer.
Robert Mueller: 04:31 [crosstalk 00:00:40] Page 180?
Mr. Collins: 04:33 Page 180, volume one.
Robert Mueller: 04:34 Okay.
Mr. Collins: 04:35 This was from your report.
Robert Mueller: 04:36 Correct, and I leave it with the report.
Mr. Collins: 04:41 So the report says, “Yes they are synonymous.”
Robert Mueller: 04:43 Yes.
Mr. Collins: 04:43 Hopefully for finally out of your own report we can put to bed the collusion and conspiracy. One last question as we’re going through. Did you ever look into other countries investigated in the Russian interference into our election? Were other countries investigated or found knowledge that they had interference in our election.
Robert Mueller: 05:00 I’m not going to discuss other matters.
Mr. Collins: 05:03 All right. Then I yield back.
Rep. Louie Gohmert Questioning
Rep Gohmert: 00:00 Thank you Mr Chairman. Mr. Mueller. Well first let me ask unanimous consent, Mr Chairman, to submit this article, Robert Mueller Unmasked, for the record.
Mr Chairman: 00:12 Without objection.
Rep Gohmert: 00:14 Now, Mr Mueller, who wrote the nine minute comments you read at your May 29th press conference?
Robert Mueller: 00:22 I’m not going to get into that.
Rep Gohmert: 00:24 Okay, so that’s what I thought. You didn’t write it. A 2013 puff piece in the Washingtonian about Comey said basically when Comey called, you’d drop everything you were doing, gave examples, you’re having dinner with your wife and daughter. Comey calls. You drop everything and go. The article quoted Comey as saying, “If a train were coming down the track,” and I quote, “at least Bob Mueller will be standing on the tracks with me.” You and James Comey had been good friends or were good friends for many years, correct?
Robert Mueller: 00:57 No, we were business associates. We both started off in the Justice Department about-
Rep Gohmert: 01:01 You were good friends. You can work together and not be friends, but you and Comey were friends.
Robert Mueller: 01:06 We were friends.
Rep Gohmert: 01:07 That’s my question. Thank you for getting to the answer. Now before you were appointed as Special Counsel, had you talked to James Comey in the preceding six months?
Robert Mueller: 01:18 No.
Rep Gohmert: 01:19 When you were appointed as Special Counsel, was President Trump’s firing of Comey something you anticipated investigating, potentially Obstruction of Justice?
Robert Mueller: 01:31 I can’t get into that, internal deliberations in the Justice Department.
Rep Gohmert: 01:36 Actually, it goes to your credibility and maybe you’ve been away from the courtroom for a while. Credibility is always relevant. It’s always material and that goes for you, too. You’re a witness before us. Let me ask you, when you talked to President Trump the day before he appointed or you were appointed as Special Counsel, you were talking to him about the FBI director position again. [crosstalk 00:01:58] Did he mention the firing of James Comey?
Robert Mueller: 02:00 But not as a candidate. I was asked-
Rep Gohmert: 02:02 Did he mentioned the firing of James Comey in your discussion with him?
Robert Mueller: 02:07 I cannot remember.
Rep Gohmert: 02:09 Pardon?
Robert Mueller: 02:10 Cannot remember. I don’t believe so but I could be specific-
Rep Gohmert: 02:13 You don’t remember. But if he did, you could been a fact witness as to the President’s comments and state of mind on firing James Comey.
Robert Mueller: 02:24 I suppose that’s possible.
Rep Gohmert: 02:25 Yeah, so most prosecutors want to make sure there was no appearance of impropriety, but in your case, you hired a bunch of people that did not like the President. Now let me ask you, when did you first learn of Peter Strzoks animus toward Donald Trump?
Robert Mueller: 02:44 In summer of 2017.
Rep Gohmert: 02:47 You didn’t know before he was hired?
Robert Mueller: 02:50 I’m sorry. What’d you?
Rep Gohmert: 02:51 You didn’t know before he was hired for your team?
Robert Mueller: 02:55 Know what?
Rep Gohmert: 02:58 Peter Strzok hated Trump.
Robert Mueller: 03:01 Okay.
Rep Gohmert: 03:02 You didn’t know that before he was made part of your team? Is that what you’re saying?
Robert Mueller: 03:06 I did not know that.
Rep Gohmert: 03:08 All right. When did you first learn?
Robert Mueller: 03:10 When I did find out, I acted swiftly to have him reassigned elsewhere in the [inaudible 00:03:15] .
Rep Gohmert: 03:15 Well, there’s some discussion about how swift that was. But when did you learn of the ongoing affair he was having with Lisa Page?
Robert Mueller: 03:22 About the same time. I learned it from Strzok.
Rep Gohmert: 03:27 Did you ever order anybody to investigate the deletion of all of their checks off of their government phones?
Robert Mueller: 03:36 Once we found that Peter Strzok was an author of-
Rep Gohmert: 03:41 Did you ever-
Robert Mueller: 03:42 May I finish-
Rep Gohmert: 03:43 … order, well, you’re not answering my question. Did you order an investigation in the deletion and reformatting of their government phones?
Robert Mueller: 03:53 No, there was an IG investigation ongoing.
Rep Gohmert: 03:56 Well, listen, now regarding collusion or conspiracy, you didn’t find evidence of any agreement and I’m quoting you, “Among the Trump campaign officials and any Russian linked individuals to interfere with our US election.” Correct?
Robert Mueller: 04:10 Correct.
Rep Gohmert: 04:11 So you also note in the report that an element of any of those obstructions you referenced requires a corrupt state of mind. Correct?
Robert Mueller: 04:23 Corrupt intent. Correct.
Rep Gohmert: 04:24 Right. And if somebody knows, they did not conspire with anybody from Russia to affect the election and they see the big Justice Department with people that hate that person, coming after them. And then a Special Counsel appointed who hires dozen or more people that hate that person. And he knows he’s innocent. He’s not corruptly acting in order to see that justice is done. What he’s doing is not obstructing justice. He is pursuing justice. And the fact that you ran it up [crosstalk 00:05:06] two years-
Mr Chairman: 05:06 [inaudible 00:05:08].
Rep Gohmert: 05:07 means you perpetuated injustice-
Robert Mueller: 05:11 I take your question.
Mr Chairman: 05:12 The gentleman’s has expired. The witness may answer the question.
Robert Mueller: 05:15 I take your question.
Rep. Steube Questioning
Greg Steube: 00:00 Thank you, Mr. Chair. Mr. Mueller? Over here. Mr. Mueller, did you indeed interview for the FBI director job one day before you were appointed as special counsel?
Robert Mueller: 00:10 My understanding I was not applying for the 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.
Greg Steube: 00:22 You don’t recall, on May 16th, 2017, that you interviewed with the president regarding the FBI director job?
Robert Mueller: 00:28 I interviewed with the president, and it was about-
Greg Steube: 00:30 Regarding the FBI director job?
Robert Mueller: 00:31 It was about the job but not about me applying for the job.
Greg Steube: 00:35 Your statement here today is that you didn’t interview to apply for the FBI director job.
Robert Mueller: 00:41 That’s correct.
Greg Steube: 00:43 Did you tell the vice president that the FBI director position would be the one job that you would come back for?
Robert Mueller: 00:49 Don’t recall that one.
Greg Steube: 00:50 You don’t recall that?
Robert Mueller: 00:52 No.
Greg Steube: 00:52 Okay. Given your 22 months of investigation, tens of million dollars spent, and millions of documents reviewed, did you obtain any evidence at all that any American voter changed their vote as a result of Russians’ election interference?
Robert Mueller: 01:06 I’m not going to speak to that.
Greg Steube: 01:06 You can’t speak to that?
Robert Mueller: 01:07 Can’t speak to it.
Greg Steube: 01:07 After 22 months of investigation, there’s not any evidence in that document before us that any voter changed their vote because of their interference? I’m asking you based on all of the documents that you reviewed.
Robert Mueller: 01:16 That was outside our purview.
Greg Steube: 01:19 Russian meddling was outside your purview?
Robert Mueller: 01:22 [inaudible 00:01:21], but the impact of that meddling was undertaken by other agencies.
Greg Steube: 01:27 Okay. You stated in your opening statement that you would not get into the details of the Steele dossier. However, multiple times in volume two on page 23, 27, and 28, you mentioned the unverified allegations. How long did it take you to reach the conclusion that it was unverified?
Robert Mueller: 01:43 I’m not going to speak to that.
Greg Steube: 01:46 It’s actually in your report multiple times that it’s unverified, and you’re telling me that you’re not willing to tell us how you came to the conclusion that it was unverified.
Robert Mueller: 01:52 True.
Greg Steube: 01:55 When did you become aware that the unverified Steele dossier was included in the FISA application to spy on Carter Page?
Robert Mueller: 02:02 I’m sorry. What was he? What was the question?
Greg Steube: 02:05 When did you become aware that the unverified Steele dossier was included in the FISA application to spy on Carter Page?
Robert Mueller: 02:14 I’m not going to speak to that.
Greg Steube: 02:16 Your team interviewed Christopher Steele. Is that correct?
Robert Mueller: 02:19 Not going to get into that. As I said at the [crosstalk inaudible 00:02:21]-
Greg Steube: 02:21 You can’t tell this committee as to whether or not you interviewed Christopher Steele in a 22-month investigation with 18 lawyers?
Robert Mueller: 02:28 As I said at the outset, that is one of the investigations that is being handled by others in the Department of Justice.
Greg Steube: 02:36 Yeah, but you’re here testifying about this investigation today, and I am asking you directly did any members of your team or did you interview Christopher Steele in the course of your investigation?
Robert Mueller: 02:45 I am not going to answer that question, sir.
Greg Steube: 02:47 You had two years to investigate. Not once did you consider it worthy to investigate how an unverified document that was paid for by a political opponent was used to obtain a warrant to spy on the opposition political campaign. Did you do any investigation into that whatsoever?
Robert Mueller: 03:02 I do not accept your characterization of what occurred.
Greg Steube: 03:05 What would be your characterization?
Robert Mueller: 03:05 I’m not going to speak any more to it.
Greg Steube: 03:07 You can’t speak any more to it, but you’re not going to agree with my characterization. Is that correct?
Robert Mueller: 03:14 Yes.
Greg Steube: 03:16 The FISA application makes reference to source one, who was Christopher Steele, the author of the Steele dossier. The FISA application says nothing source’s one’s reason for conducting the research into candidate one’s ties to Russia based on source’s one previous reporting history with FBI whereby source one provided reliable information to the FBI. The FBI believes source one’s reporting herein to be credible. Do you believe the FBI’s representation that source one’s reporting was credible to be accurate?
Robert Mueller: 03:42 I’m not going to answer that.
Greg Steube: 03:44 You’re not going to respond to any of the questions regarding Christopher Steele or your interviews with him?
Robert Mueller: 03:49 Well, as I said at the outset this morning, that was one of the investigations that I could not speak to.
Greg Steube: 03:56 Well, I don’t understand how, if you interviewed an individual in the purview of this investigation that you’re testifying to us today that you’ve closed that investigation, how that’s not within your purview to tell us about that investigation and who you interviewed.
Robert Mueller: 04:07 I have nothing to add.
Greg Steube: 04:11 Okay. I can guarantee that the American people want to know, and I’m very hopeful and glad that AG Barr is looking into this and the inspector general is looking into this because you’re unwilling to answer the questions of the American people as it relates to the very basis of this investigation into the president and the very basis of this individual who you did interview. You’re just refusing to answer those questions.
Greg Steube: 04:33 Can’t the president fire the FBI director at any time without reason under Article One of the Constitution?
Robert Mueller: 04:38 Yes.
Greg Steube: 04:39 Article Two.
Robert Mueller: 04:40 Yes.
Greg Steube: 04:40 That’s correct. Can’t he also fire you as special counsel at anytime without any reason?
Robert Mueller: 04:44 I believe that to be the case.
Greg Steube: 04:46 Under Article Two.
Robert Mueller: 04:46 Well, hold on just a second. You said without any reason. I know that special counsel can be fired, but I’m not certain it extends to for whatever reason is given.
Greg Steube: 04:58 Well, and you’ve testified that you weren’t fired. You were able to complete your investigation in full. Is that correct?
Robert Mueller: 05:03 I’m not going to add to what I’ve stated before.
Greg Steube: 05:06 My time is expired.
Rep. Martha Roby Questioning
Martha Roby: 00:01 Director Mueller, you just said, in response to two different lines of questionings, that you would refer, as it relates to this firing discussion, that, “I would refer you to the report and the way it was characterized in the report.” Importantly, the president never said, “Fire Mueller,” or, “End the investigation.” And one doesn’t necessitate the other. And McGahn, in fact, did not resign. He stuck around for a year and a half.
Martha Roby: 00:28 On March 24th, Attorney General Barr informed the committee that he had received the special counsel’s report, and it was not until April 18th that the attorney general released the report to congress and the public. When you submitted your report to the attorney general, did you deliver a redacted version of the report so that he would be able to release it to congress and the public without delay, pursuant to his announcement of his intention to do so during his confirmation hearing?
Robert Mueller: 00:56 I’m not going to engage in discussion about what happened after the production of our report.
Martha Roby: 01:01 Had the attorney general asked you to provide a redacted version of the report?
Robert Mueller: 01:05 We worked on the redacted versions together.
Martha Roby: 01:07 Did he ask you for a version where the grand jury material was separated?
Robert Mueller: 01:12 Not going to get into details.
Martha Roby: 01:14 Is it your belief that an unredacted version of the report could be released to Congress or the public?
Robert Mueller: 01:21 That’s not in my purview.
Martha Roby: 01:29 [inaudible 00:01:29] 6e material. Why did you not take a similar action so Congress could view this material?
Robert Mueller: 01:39 We had a process that we were operating on with the attorney general’s office.
Martha Roby: 01:45 Are you aware of any attorney general going to court to receive similar permission to unredact 6e material?
Robert Mueller: 01:52 I’m not aware of that being done.
Martha Roby: 01:54 The attorney general released the special counsel’s report with minimal redactions to the public and and even lesser redacted version to congress. Did you write the report with the expectation that it would be released publicly?
Robert Mueller: 02:07 No, we did not have an expectation. We wrote the report understanding that it was demanded by a statute and would go to the attorney general for further review.
Martha Roby: 02:22 And pursuant to the special counsel regulations, who is the only party that must receive the charging decision resulting from the special counsel’s investigation?
Robert Mueller: 02:32 With regard to the president? Or generally?
Martha Roby: 02:35 Generally.
Robert Mueller: 02:37 Attorney general.
Martha Roby: 02:38 At Attorney General Barr’s confirmation hearing, he made it clear that he intended to release your report to the public. Do you remember how much of your report had been written at that point?
Robert Mueller: 02:46 Do not.
Martha Roby: 02:47 Were the significant changes in tone or substance of the report made after the announcement that the report would be made available to Congress and the public?
Robert Mueller: 02:56 I can’t get into that.
Martha Roby: 02:58 During the Senate testimony of Attorney General William Barr, Senator Kamala Harris asked Mr. Barr if he had looked at all the underlying evidence that the special counsel’s team had gathered. He stated that he had not. So I’m going to ask you, did you personally review all of the underlying evidence gathered in your investigation?
Robert Mueller: 03:15 To the extent that it came through the special counsel’s office, yes.
Martha Roby: 03:20 Did any single member of your team review all the underlying evidence gathered during the course of your investigation?
Robert Mueller: 03:27 As has been recited here today, a substantial amount of work was done, whether it be search warrants or-
Martha Roby: 03:32 My point is, is there was no one member of the team that looked at everything.
Robert Mueller: 03:36 That’s what I’m trying to get at.
Martha Roby: 03:37 Okay. It’s fair to say that in an investigation as comprehensive as yours, it’s normal that different members of the team would have reviewed different sets of documents, and few if anyone would have reviewed all of the underlying-
Robert Mueller: 03:52 Thank you. Yes.
Martha Roby: 03:52 How many of the approximately 500 interviews conducted by the special [inaudible 00:03:55] did you attend personally?
Robert Mueller: 03:58 Very few.
Martha Roby: 03:59 On March 27, 2019, you wrote a letter to the attorney general essentially complaining about the media coverage of your report. You wrote, and I quote, “The summary letter the department sent to Congress and released to the public late in the afternoon of March 24 didn’t not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this office’s work and conclusions. We communicated that concern to the department on the morning of March 25th. There is now public confusion about critical aspects of the result of our investigation.” Who wrote that March 27th letter?
Robert Mueller: 04:29 Well, I can’t get into who wrote it. The internal deliberation-
Martha Roby: 04:36 But you signed it.
Robert Mueller: 04:37 What I will say is, the letter stands for itself.
Martha Roby: 04:39 Okay. Why did you write a formal letter since you had already called the attorney general to express those concerns?
Robert Mueller: 04:45 I can’t get into that. Internal deliberations.
Martha Roby: 04:47 Did you authorize the letter’s release to the media, or was it leaked?
Robert Mueller: 04:52 I have no knowledge on either.
Martha Roby: 04:55 Well you went nearly two years without a leak. Why was this letter leaked?
Robert Mueller: 05:00 Well, I can’t get into it.
Martha Roby: 05:02 Was this letter written and leaked for the express purpose of attempting to change the narrative about the conclusions of your report? And was anything in Attorney General Barr’s letter, referred to as principal conclusions, inaccurate?
Speaker 3: 05:15 The time of the gentle lady is expired. The gentle lady [crosstalk 00:05:17]
Martha Roby: 05:16 Can he answer the question, please?
Robert Mueller: 05:21 And the question is?
Speaker 3: 05:21 He may answer the question.
Martha Roby: 05:21 Was anything in Attorney General Barr’s letter, referred to as the principal conclusions letter dated March 24th, inaccurate?
Robert Mueller: 05:28 Well, I am not going to get into that.
Speaker 3: 05:31 Time of the gentle lady is expired.
Rep. Steve Cohen Questioning
Steve Cohen: 00:00 Thank you, Mr. Chair. First, I’d just like to restate that Mr. Nadler said about your career. It’s a model of rectitude and I thank you.
Robert Mueller: 00:12 Sure.
Steve Cohen: 00:12 Based upon your investigation, how did President Trump react to your appointment as special counsel?
Robert Mueller: 00:18 Again, I send you the report where that it stated.
Steve Cohen: 00:23 Well, there is a quote from page 78 of your report, volume two, which reads, “When Sessions told the President that a special counsel had been appointed, the President slumped back in his chair and said, quote, ‘Oh my God, this is terrible. This is the end of my presidency. I’m F-ed!’ Unquote. Did Attorney General Sessions tell you about that little talk?
Robert Mueller: 00:49 I’m not sure-
Speaker 3: 00:50 Director, please speak into the microphone.
Robert Mueller: 00:52 Oh, surely my apologies.
Robert Mueller: 00:55 I am not certain of the person who originally copied that quote.
Steve Cohen: 01:03 Okay. Well Sessions apparently said it and one of his aides had it in his notes too, which I think you had, but that’s become record. He wasn’t pleased. He probably wasn’t pleased with his special counsel and in particularly you because of your outstanding reputation.
Robert Mueller: 01:15 Correct.
Steve Cohen: 01:16 Priority appointment, the Attorney General recused himself from the investigation because of his role in the 2016 campaign. Is that not correct?
Robert Mueller: 01:23 Correct.
Steve Cohen: 01:24 Recusal means the Attorney General could not be involved in the investigation, is that correct?
Robert Mueller: 01:29 That’s the effect of recusal. Yes.
Steve Cohen: 01:31 And so instead another Trump appointee, as you know Mr. Sessions was, Mr. Rosenstein became in charge of it. Is that correct?
Robert Mueller: 01:38 Yes.
Steve Cohen: 01:39 Wasn’t Attorney General Sessions following the rules and professional advice of the Department of Justice Ethics folks when he recused himself from the investigation?
Robert Mueller: 01:48 Yes.
Steve Cohen: 01:49 And yet the President repeatedly expressed his displeasure at Sessions decision to follow those ethics rules to recuse himself from oversight of that investigation. Is that not correct?
Robert Mueller: 01:58 That’s accurate based on what is written in the report.
Steve Cohen: 02:01 The President’s reaction to the recusal, as noted in the report, Mr. Bannon recalled that the President was mad. As mad as Bannon had ever seen him and he screamed at McGahn about how weak Sessions was. Do you recall that from the report?
Robert Mueller: 02:17 That’s in the report yes.
Steve Cohen: 02:18 Despite knowing that Attorney General Sessions was supposed to be in … Was not supposed to be involved in the investigation, The President still tried to get the Attorney General to un-recuse himself after you were appointed special counsel. Is that correct?
Robert Mueller: 02:31 Yes.
Steve Cohen: 02:31 In fact, your investigation found that at some point after your appointment, quote, “The President called Sessions at his home and asked if he would un-recuse himself. Is that not true?
Robert Mueller: 02:41 It’s true.
Steve Cohen: 02:42 Now that wasn’t the first time the president asked Sessions to un-recuse himself, was it?
Robert Mueller: 02:48 I know there were at least two occasions.
Steve Cohen: 02:51 One of them was with Flynn. One of them was when Sessions and McGahn flew to Mar-a-Lago to meet with the President. Sessions recalled that the President pulled him aside to speak alone and suggested he should do this un-recusal act. Correct?
Robert Mueller: 03:03 Correct.
Steve Cohen: 03:05 Then when Michael Flynn, a few days after Flynn entered a guilty plea for lying to federal agents and indicated his intent to cooperate with that investigation, Trump asked to speak to Sessions alone again in the oval office. Again asked Sessions to un-recuse himself. True?
Robert Mueller: 03:21 I refer you to the report for that.
Steve Cohen: 03:23 Page 109, volume two, thank you, sir.
Steve Cohen: 03:25 Do you know of any point when the President personally expressed anger or frustrations at Sessions?
Robert Mueller: 03:32 I’d have to pass on that.
Steve Cohen: 03:33 Do you recall, and I think it’s at page 78 of volume two, The President told Sessions, “You were supposed to protect me. You were supposed to protect me,” or words to that effect?
Robert Mueller: 03:45 Correct.
Steve Cohen: 03:46 Is the Attorney General supposed to be the Attorney General of the United States of America or the consigliere for the President.
Robert Mueller: 03:55 United States of America.
Steve Cohen: 03:57 Thank you sir.
Steve Cohen: 03:58 In fact, you wrote in your report that the President repeatedly sought to convince Sessions to an un-recuse himself, so Sessions could supervise the investigation in a way that would restrict scope. Is that correct?
Robert Mueller: 04:09 Well, I rely on the the report and-
Steve Cohen: 04:12 [crosstalk 00:04:12] How could Sessions have restricted the scope of your investigation?
Robert Mueller: 04:16 Well I’m not going to speculate. If he … Quite obviously if he took over or was Attorney General he would have greater latitude in his actions that would enable him to do things that otherwise you could not.
Steve Cohen: 04:31 On page 113 you said, “The President believed that an un-recused Attorney General would play a protective role and could shield the President from the ongoing investigation.”
Steve Cohen: 04:38 Regardless of all that, I want to thank you, Director Mueller for your life or rectitude and service to our country. It’s clear from your report, and the evidence, that the President wanted former Attorney General Sessions to violate the Justice Department ethics rules by taking over your investigation, and improperly interfering with it to protect himself, and his campaign. Your findings are so important because in America, nobody is above the law.
Rep. Sylvia Garcia Questioning
Sylvia Garcia: 00:00 Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you Mr. Mueller for being with us this … Close to the afternoon now. Director Mueller, now I would like to ask you about the president’s answers relating to Roger Stone. Roger Stone was indicted for multiple federal crimes, and indictment alleges that Mr. Stone discussed future WikiLeaks email releases with the Trump campaign. Understanding there’s a gag order on the Stone case, I’ll keep my questions restricted to publicly available information. Mr. Stone’s indictment-
Robert Mueller: 00:33 Let me just say … I don’t mean to disrupt you, but 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 that’s taking place in DC.
Sylvia Garcia: 00:51 I understand that. I’m only going to be talking about the questions that you asked in writing to the president.
Robert Mueller: 00:56 Thank you, Ma’am.
Sylvia Garcia: 00:57 As they relate to Mr. Stone. Mr. Stone’s indictment states, among other things, the following quote, “Stone was contacted by senior Trump officials to inquire about future releases of organization one. Organization one being WikiLeaks. The indictment continues, quote, Stone thereafter told the Trump campaign about potential future releases of damaging material by WikiLeaks. So, 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?
Robert Mueller: 01:40 Yes, Ma’am, but I see you’re quoting from the indictment, and even though the indictment is a public document, I feel uncomfortable discussing anything having to do with the Stone prosecution.
Sylvia Garcia: 01:51 Right, the indictment is of record, and we pulled it off of the …
Robert Mueller: 01:55 I understand …
Sylvia Garcia: 01:55 I’m reading straight from it. Well, turning back to the president’s answers to your questions then on this very subject, the president denied ever discussing future WikiLeaks releases with Stone and denied knowing whether anyone else in his campaign had those discussions with Stone. If you had learned that other witnesses, putting aside the president, if other witnesses had lied to your investigators in response to Pacific’s questions, whether in writing or in an interview, could they be charged with false statement crimes?
Robert Mueller: 02:30 I’m not going to speculate because I think you’re asking for me to speculate given a set of circumstances.
Sylvia Garcia: 02:37 Well, let’s put it more specific. What if I had made a false statement to an investigator on your team? Could I go to jail for up to five years?
Robert Mueller: 02:46 Yes.
Sylvia Garcia: 02:47 Yes.
Robert Mueller: 02:47 Although it’s congress, so …
Sylvia Garcia: 02:51 Well, that’s the point though, isn’t it? That no one is above the law.
Robert Mueller: 02:55 That’s right.
Sylvia Garcia: 02:55 Not you, not the congress, and certainly not the president. I think it’s just troubling to have to hear some of these things, and that’s why the American people deserve to learn the full facts of the misconduct described in your report for which any other person would have been charged with crimes. Thank you for being here, and again, the point has been underscored many times, but I’ll repeat it: no one is above the law. Thank you.
Robert Mueller: 03:21 Thank you, Ma’am.
Rep. Debbie Lesko Questioning
Debbie Lesko: 00:00 Thank you Mr. Chairman. Just recently, Mr. Mueller, you said Mr. Lieu was asking you questions and Mr. Lieu’s question, I quote, “The reason you didn’t indict the President is because of the OLC opinion.” And you answered, “That is correct.” But that is not what you said in the report and it’s not what you told Attorney General Barr and in fact in a joint statement that 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 has previously stated that the special counsel repeatedly affirmed that he was not saying that, but for the OLC opinion he would have found the President obstructed justice. The special counsel’s report in his statement today made clear that the office concluded it would not reach a determination one way or the other, whether the President committed a crime. There is no conflict between these statements.” So Mr. Mueller, do you stand by your joint statement with DOJ that you issued on May 29th as you sit here today?
Robert Mueller: 01:12 I would have to look at it more closely before I said, I agree with you.
Debbie Lesko: 01:19 Well, so I, you know, my conclusion is that what you told Mr Leiu really contradicts what you said in the report and specifically what you said apparently repeatedly to Attorney General Barr that … And then you issued a joint statement on May 29th saying that the Attorney General has previously stated that the special counsel repeatedly affirmed that he was not saying but for the OLC report that we would have found the President obstructed justice.
Debbie Lesko: 01:51 So I just say there’s a conflict. I do have some more questions. Mr. Mueller, there’s been a lot of talk today about firing the special counsel and curtailing the investigation. Were you ever fired Mr. Mueller from the special …
Robert Mueller: 02:04 Was I what?
Debbie Lesko: 02:05 Were you ever fired as special counsel, Mr. Mueller?
Robert Mueller: 02:07 Not that I … No.
Debbie Lesko: 02:10 No. Were are you allowed to complete your investigation unencumbered.
Robert Mueller: 02:13 Yes.
Debbie Lesko: 02:14 And in fact you resigned as special counsel when you closed up the office in late May, 2019. Is that correct?
Robert Mueller: 02:23 That’s correct.
Debbie Lesko: 02:24 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 principle conclusions of your report?
Robert Mueller: 02:49 Well, what you are not mentioning is a letter we sent on March 27th to Mr. Barr that raised some issues and that letter speaks for itself.
Debbie Lesko: 03:04 But 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 in it inaccurate. In fact, you had this joint statement. But let me go on to another question. Mr. Mueller, rather than purely relying on the evidence provided by witnesses and documents, I think you relied a lot on media. I’d like to know how many times you cited the Washington Post in your report.
Robert Mueller: 03:42 How many times I what?
Debbie Lesko: 03:43 Cited the Washington Post in your report.
Robert Mueller: 03:46 Oh, no. I do not have knowledge of that figure, but I, well, that’s it. I don’t have knowledge of that figure.
Debbie Lesko: 03:52 I counted about 60 times. How many times did you cite the New York Times? I counted…
Robert Mueller: 03:57 Again, I have no idea.
Debbie Lesko: 04:00 I counted about 75 times. How many times did you cite Fox News?
Robert Mueller: 04:06 Well, as with the other two, I have no idea.
Debbie Lesko: 04:09 About 25 times. I’ve got to say, it looks like volume two is mostly regurgitated press stories. Honestly, there’s almost nothing in volume two that I couldn’t already hear or know, simply by having a $50 cable news subscription. However, your investigation cost the American tax payers $25 million. Mr. Mueller, you cited media reports nearly 200 times in your report. Then in a footnote, a small footnote number seven page 15 of volume two of your report you wrote, I quote, “This section summarizes and cites various news stories, not for the truth of the information contained in the stories, but rather to place candidate Trump’s response to those stories in context.” Since nobody but lawyers reads footnotes. Are you concerned that the American public took the embedded news stories and …
Speaker 3: 05:03 Time of the gentle lady has expired.
Rep. Guy Reschenthaler
Reschenthaler: 00:00 Mr. Mueller, are you familiar with the now expired Independent Counsel Statute? It’s a statute under which Ken Starr was appointed.
Robert Mueller: 00:09 That a Ken Starr did what? I’m sorry.
Reschenthaler: 00:11 Are you familiar with the Independent Counsel Statute?
Robert Mueller: 00:14 Are you talking about the one that we are operating under now or a previous?
Reschenthaler: 00:17 No, under which Ken Starr was appointed?
Robert Mueller: 00:19 I am not that familiar with that, but I’d be happy to take your question.
Reschenthaler: 00:22 Well, the Clinton administration allowed the Independent Counsel Statute to expire after Ken Starr’s investigation. The final report requirement was a major reason why the statute was allowed to expire. Even President Clinton’s AG, Janet Reno, expressed concerns about the final report requirement, and I’ll quote AG Reno.
Reschenthaler: 00:43 She said, “On one hand, the American people have an interest in knowing the outcome of an investigation of their highest officials. 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 we value privacy. We believe that information obtained during a criminal investigation should, in most cases, he made public only if there is an indictment and prosecution, not in a lengthy and detailed report filed after decision has been made not to prosecute. The final report provides a forum for unfairly airing a target’s dirty laundry, and it also creates yet another incentive for an independent counsel to over investigate in order to justify his or her tenure and to avoid criticism that the independent counsel may have left a stone unturned.”
Reschenthaler: 01:40 Again, Mr Muller, those are AG Reno’s words. Didn’t you do exactly what AG Reno feared? Didn’t you publish a lengthy report unfairly airing the targets dirty laundry without recommending charges?
Robert Mueller: 01:54 I disagree with that. And let me finish.
Reschenthaler: 01:55 Okay. Did any of your witnesses have the chance to be cross-examined?
Robert Mueller: 02:01 Can I just finish my answer on that?
Reschenthaler: 02:02 Quickly, my time is-
Robert Mueller: 02:03 I operated under the current statute, not the original statute, so I am most familiar with the current statute, not the older statue.
Reschenthaler: 02:10 Okay. Did any of the witnesses have a chance to be cross examined?
Robert Mueller: 02:14 Did any of the witnesses in our investigation?
Reschenthaler: 02:17 Yes.
Robert Mueller: 02:18 I’m not gonna answer that.
Reschenthaler: 02:20 Did you allow the people mentioned in your report to challenge how they were characterized?
Robert Mueller: 02:24 I’m not going to get into that.
Reschenthaler: 02:27 Okay. Given that AG Barr stated multiple times during his confirmation hearing that he would make as much of your report public as possible, did you write your report knowing that it would likely be shared with the public?
Robert Mueller: 02:38 No.
Reschenthaler: 02:40 Did knowing that the report could, and likely would be made public, did that alter the contents that you included?
Robert Mueller: 02:46 I can’t speak to that.
Reschenthaler: 02:48 Despite the expectations that your report would be released to the public, you left out significant exculpatory evidence. In other words, evidence favorable to the president, correct?
Robert Mueller: 02:58 Well, I actually would disagree with you. I think we strove to put into the report exculpatory evidence, as well.
Reschenthaler: 03:05 [crosstalk 00:03:05] got into that with you, where you said there was evidence you left out.
Robert Mueller: 03:12 Well, you make a choice as to what goes into an indictment.
Reschenthaler: 03:15 Isn’t it true, Mr. Muller? Isn’t it true that on page one of volume two, you state, when you’re quoting the statute, you had an obligation to either prosecute or not prosecute.
Robert Mueller: 03:27 Well, generally that is the case.
Reschenthaler: 03:28 Right.
Robert Mueller: 03:29 Although most cases are not done in the context of the president.
Reschenthaler: 03:35 And in this case, you made a decision not to prosecute, correct?
Robert Mueller: 03:38 We made a decision not to decide whether to prosecute or not.
Reschenthaler: 03:42 So essentially what your report did was everything that AG Reno warned against.
Robert Mueller: 03:48 I can’t agree with that characterization.
Reschenthaler: 03:50 Well, what you did is you compiled a nearly 450 … 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 then the report would be made public.
Robert Mueller: 04:09 Not True.
Reschenthaler: 04:10 Mr. Mueller, as a former officer in the United States JAG Corps, I prosecuted nearly a hundred terrorists in a Baghdad courtroom. I cross-examined the Butcher of Fallujah in defense of our Navy SEALS. As a civilian, I was elected a magisterial district judge in Pennsylvania. So I’m very well versed in the American legal system. The drafting and the publication of some of the information in this report, without an indictment, without prosecution, frankly flies in the face of American justice. And I find those facts this entire process Un-American.
Rep. Sensenbrenner Questioning
Sensennbrenner: 00:00 Thank you very much, Mr Chairman. Now let me begin by reading the special counsel regulations by which you were appointed. It reads, quote “At the conclusion of the special council’s work, he or she shall provide the attorney general with a confidential report explaining the prosecution or declinations decisions reached by the special counsel.” That correct?
Robert Mueller: 00:23 Yes.
Sensennbrenner: 00:24 Okay. Now when a regulation uses the word shall provide. Does it mean that the individual is in fact obligated to provide what’s being demanded by the regulation or statute? Meaning you don’t have any wiggle room, right?
Robert Mueller: 00:39 I’d have to look more closely at the statute.
Sensennbrenner: 00:42 I just read it to you. Okay. Now, volume two page one. Your report boldly states we determined not to make a traditional prosecutorial judgment. Is that correct?
Robert Mueller: 00:57 I’m trying to find that a citation, Irishman.
Speaker 3: 01:06 Director, could you speak more directly into the microphone please?
Robert Mueller: 01:09 Yes.
Speaker 3: 01:09 Thank you.
Sensennbrenner: 01:10 Well it’s volume two, page one.
Robert Mueller: 01:15 Mr. Chairman I’m sorry.
Sensennbrenner: 01:15 It’s volume two, page one. It said, we determine not to make a traditional prosecutorial judgment.
Robert Mueller: 01:20 Yes.
Sensennbrenner: 01:20 That’s right at the beginning. Now since you decided under the OLC opinion that you couldn’t prosecute a sitting president, meaning President Trump, why did we have all of this investigation of President Trump that the other side is talking about when you knew that you weren’t going to prosecute him?
Robert Mueller: 01:42 Well, you don’t know where the investigation’s going to lie and OLC opinion itself says that you can continue the investigation even though you are not going to indict the president.
Sensennbrenner: 01:53 Okay, well if you’re not going to indict the president, then you just continue fishing and that’s my observation. My time is limited. Sure, you can indict other people but you can’t indict the sitting president. Right?
Robert Mueller: 02:12 That’s true.
Sensennbrenner: 02:13 Okay. Now there are 182 pages in raw evidentiary material, including hundreds of references to 302, which are interviews by the FBI for individuals who’ve never been cross examined and which did not comply with the special counsel’s governing regulation who explained the prosecution or declination decisions reached. Correct?
Robert Mueller: 02:38 And where are you reading from on that?
Sensennbrenner: 02:39 I’m reading from my question.
Robert Mueller: 02:42 Then could you repeat it?
Sensennbrenner: 02:44 Okay. I have 182 pages of raw evidentary material with hundreds of references to 302’s who were never been cross examined in which didn’t comply with the governing regulation to explain the prosecution or declination decision’s reached.
Robert Mueller: 03:02 This is one of those areas which I declined to discuss and would direct you to the report itself or what’s done on that…
Sensennbrenner: 03:12 Okay, well, I looked at 182 pages of it. Let me switch gears. Mr. Shabbat and I were on this committee during the Clinton impeachment. Now, while I recognize that the independent counsel statute under which Kenneth Starr operated is different from the special counsel statute. He in a number of occasions in his report stated that the President Clinton’s actions may have risen to impeachable conduct. Recognizing that it is up to the House of Representatives to determine what conduct is impeachable. You never use the term raising to impeachable conduct for any of the 10 instances that the gentlewomen from Texas, right. Is it true that there is nothing in volume two of the report that says that the president may have engaged in impeachable conduct?
Robert Mueller: 04:10 Well, we have studiously kept in the center of our investigation our mandate, and our mandate does not go to other ways of addressing conduct. Our mandate goes to what… Developing the report and turning the report into the attorney general.
Sensennbrenner: 04:34 With due respect it seems to me a know that there are a couple of statements that you made, you know, that said that this is not for me to decide. And the implication is that this is for this committee to decide. Now, you didn’t use the word impeachable conduct, like Starr did. There was no statute to prevent you from using the word impeachable conduct, and I go back to what Mr. Radcliffe said, and that is, is that even the president is innocent until proven guilty.
Rep. Jamie Raskin Questioning
Jamie Raskin: 00:00 Director Mueller, let’s go to a fourth episode of obstruction of justice in the form of a witness tampering, which is urging witnesses not to cooperate with law enforcement either by persuading them or intimidating them. Witness tampering is a felony punishable by 20 years in prison. You found evidence that the President engaged in efforts, and I quote, “to encourage witnesses not to cooperate with the investigation.” Is that right?
Robert Mueller: 00:28 That’s correct. And you have the citation that ..
Jamie Raskin: 00:31 Page seven on volume two.
Robert Mueller: 00:33 Thank you.
Jamie Raskin: 00:34 One of these witnesses was Michael Cohen, the President’s personal lawyer, who ultimately pled guilty to campaign violations based on secret hush money payments to two women the President knew and also lying to Congress about the hope for a one billion dollar Trump Tower deal. After the FBI searched Cohen’s home, the President called him up personally. He said to check in and told him to quote, “hang in there and stay strong.” Is that right? Do you remember finding that?
Robert Mueller: 01:02 If it’s in the report as stated, yes it is right.
Jamie Raskin: 01:05 Yes. Also in the report actually are a series of calls made by other friends of the 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. And a third redacted friend called to say, everyone knows the boss has your back. Do you remember finding that sequence?
Robert Mueller: 01:28 Generally, yes.
Jamie Raskin: 01:30 When the news … And in fact Cohen said that following the receipt of these messages, I’m quoting here, page 147, volume two, “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-
Robert Mueller: 01:53 Generally, yes.
Jamie Raskin: 01:57 And Robert Costello, a lawyer close to the President’s legal team emailed Cohen to say quote, “You are loved. They are in our corner. Sleep well tonight and you have friends in high places,” and that’s up on the screen, page 147. You remember reporting that?
Robert Mueller: 02:14 I see that.
Jamie Raskin: 02:14 Okay. Now when the news first broke that Cohen had arranged payoffs to Stormy Daniels, Cohen faithfully stuck to this party line. He said that publicly that neither the Trump organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction and neither reimbursed him. Trump’s personal attorney at that point quickly texted Cohen to say, quote, “Client says, thank you for what you do.”
Jamie Raskin: 02:44 Mr. Mueller, who is the capital C, client, thanking Cohen for what he does?
Robert Mueller: 02:48 I can’t speak to that.
Jamie Raskin: 02:51 Okay. The assumption and the context suggest very strongly it’s President Trump.
Robert Mueller: 02:55 I can’t speak to that.
Jamie Raskin: 02:56 Okay. Cohen later broke, and pled guilty to campaign finance offenses and admitted fully they were made quote, “at the direction of candidate Trump.” Do you remember that?
Robert Mueller: 03:07 Yes.
Jamie Raskin: 03:08 After Cohen’s guilty plea, the President suddenly changed his tune towards Mr. Cohen, didn’t he?
Robert Mueller: 03:15 I would say I’d rely on what’s in the report.
Jamie Raskin: 03:18 Well, he made the suggestion that Cohen family members had committed crimes. He targeted, for example, Cohen’s father-in-law and repeatedly suggested that he was guilty of committing crimes. Right?
Robert Mueller: 03:27 I generally … accurate.
Jamie Raskin: 03:29 Okay. On page 154, you give a powerful summary of these changing dynamics and you said … I’m happy to have you read it, but I’m happy to do it if not.
Robert Mueller: 03:37 I have it in front of me. Thank you.
Jamie Raskin: 03:38 Would you like to read it?
Robert Mueller: 03:39 I would.
Jamie Raskin: 03:42 Can you read it out loud to everybody?
Robert Mueller: 03:44 I will be happy to have you read it out.
Jamie Raskin: 03:46 Okay, fair. We’ll read it at the same time. “The evidence concerning this sequence of events could support an inference that the President used inducements in the form of positive messages in an effort to get Cohen not to cooperate and then turn to attacks and intimidation to deter the provision of information or to undermine Cohen’s credibility once Cohen began cooperating.”
Robert Mueller: 04:08 I believe that’s accurate.
Jamie Raskin: 04:10 Okay. And in my view, if anyone else in America engaged in these actions, they would have been charged with witness tampering. We must enforce the principle in Congress that you emphasize so well in the very last sentence of your report, which is that, “In America, no person is so high as to be above the law.”
Jamie Raskin: 04:25 I yield back, Mr Chairman.
Speaker 3: 04:26 The gentleman …
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries Questioning
Hakeem Jeffries: 00:00 Mr. Mueller, obstruction of justice is a serious crime that strikes at the core of an investigator’s effort to find the truth, correct?
Robert Mueller: 00:07 Correct.
Hakeem Jeffries: 00:08 The crime of obstruction of justice has three elements, true?
Robert Mueller: 00:11 True.
Hakeem Jeffries: 00:12 The first element is an obstructive act, correct?
Robert Mueller: 00:15 Correct.
Hakeem Jeffries: 00:16 An obstructive Act could include taking an action that would delay or interfere with an ongoing investigation as set forth in volume two, page 87 and 88 of your report. True?
Robert Mueller: 00:29 I’m sorry. Could you again repeat the question?
Hakeem Jeffries: 00:32 An obstructive act could include taking an action that would delay or interfere with an ongoing investigation.
Robert Mueller: 00:37 That’s true.
Hakeem Jeffries: 00:38 Your investigation found evidence that president Trump took steps to terminate the special counsel, correct?
Robert Mueller: 00:47 Correct.
Hakeem Jeffries: 00:48 Mr Mueller, does ordering the termination of the head of a criminal investigation constitute an obstructive act?
Robert Mueller: 00:57 That would be … I refer you to the report on that.
Hakeem Jeffries: 01:02 Let me refer you to page 87 and 88 of volume two where you conclude the attempt to remove the special counsel would qualify as an obstructive act if it would naturally obstruct the investigation in any grand jury proceedings that might flow from the inquiry, correct?
Robert Mueller: 01:20 Yes. I’ve got that now. Thank you.
Hakeem Jeffries: 01:22 Thank you. The second element of obstruction of justice is the presence of an obstructive act in connection with an official proceeding. True?
Robert Mueller: 01:31 True.
Hakeem Jeffries: 01:32 Does the special counsel’s criminal investigation into the potential wrongdoing of Donald Trump constitute an official proceeding?
Robert Mueller: 01:40 And that’s an area which I cannot get into.
Hakeem Jeffries: 01:45 Okay. President Trump tweeted on June 16th, 2017 quote, “I am being investigated for firing the FBI director by the man who told me to fire the FBI director. Witch hunt.” The June 16th tweet just read was cited on page 89 in volume two constitutes a public acknowledgement by president Trump that he was under criminal investigation, correct?
Robert Mueller: 02:15 I think generally correct.
Hakeem Jeffries: 02:17 One day later on Saturday, June 17th president Trump called White House council Don McGahn at home and directed him to fire the special counsel. True?
Robert Mueller: 02:29 I believe to be true. I think we’ve been … I may have stated in response to questions some …
Hakeem Jeffries: 02:34 That is correct. President Trump told Don McGahn quote, “Mueller has to go.” Close quote, correct?
Robert Mueller: 02:43 Correct.
Hakeem Jeffries: 02:44 Your report found on page 89, volume two that substantial evidence indicates that by June 17th the president knew his conduct was under investigation by a federal prosecutor who could present any evidence of federal crimes to the grand jury. True?
Robert Mueller: 02:57 True.
Hakeem Jeffries: 02:58 The third element, second element, having just been satisfied. The third element of the crime of obstruction of justice is corrupt intent. True?
Robert Mueller: 03:08 True.
Hakeem Jeffries: 03:09 Corrupt intent exists if the president acted to obstruct an official proceeding for the improper purpose of protecting his own interests. Correct?
Robert Mueller: 03:17 That’s generally correct.
Hakeem Jeffries: 03:19 Thank you.
Robert Mueller: 03:20 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, just one second.
Hakeem Jeffries: 03:38 Well, thank you Mr. Mueller. Let me move on in the interest of time. Upon learning about the appointment of the special counsel, your investigation found that Donald Trump stated to the then attorney general quote, “Oh my God, this is terrible. This is the end of my presidency. I’m f’ed.” Is that correct?
Robert Mueller: 03:54 Correct.
Hakeem Jeffries: 03:55 Is it fair to say that Donald Trump viewed the special counsel’s investigation into his conduct as adverse to his own interests?
Robert Mueller: 04:02 I think that generally is true.
Hakeem Jeffries: 04:04 The investigation found evidence quote, “That the president knew that he should not have directed Don McGahn to fire the special counsel.” Correct?
Robert Mueller: 04:12 And where do you have that quote?
Hakeem Jeffries: 04:14 Page 90 volume two. There’s evidence that the president knew he should not have made those calls to McGahn, close quote.
Robert Mueller: 04:22 I see that, yes, that’s accurate.
Hakeem Jeffries: 04:23 The investigation also found substantial evidence that president Trump repeatedly urged McGahn to dispute that he was ordered to have the special counsel terminated, correct?
Robert Mueller: 04:32 Correct.
Hakeem Jeffries: 04:33 The investigation found substantial evidence that when the president ordered Don McGahn to fire the special counsel and then lie about it, Donald Trump one, committed an obstructive act. Two, connected to an official 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.
Robert Mueller: 05:07 Well, let me just say if I might, I don’t subscribe necessarily to the way you analyze that. I’m not saying it’s out of the ballpark, but I’m not supportive of that analytical charge.
Hakeem Jeffries: 05:18 Thank you.
Rep. Gaetz Questioning
Mr. Gaetz: 00:00 Director Mueller, can you state with confidence that the Steele Dossier was not part of Russia’s disinformation campaign?
Robert Mueller: 00:07 No. As I said in my opening statement, that part of the building of the case was predated me and by at least 10 months.
Mr. Gaetz: 00:19 Yeah, I mean, Paul Manafort’s alleged crimes regarding tax evasion predated you. You had no problem charging them. And matter of fact, this Steele Dossier predated the Attorney General and he didn’t have any problem answering the question. When Senator Cornyn asked the Attorney General the exact question I asked you, Director, the Attorney General said, and I’m quoting, “No, I can’t state that with confidence, and that’s one of the areas I’m reviewing. I’m concerned about it, and I don’t think it’s entirely speculative.” Now, if something is not entirely speculative, then it must have some factual basis. But you identify no factual basis regarding the dossier or the possibility that it was part of the Russia disinformation campaign.
Mr. Gaetz: 00:58 Now, Christopher Steele’s reporting is referenced in your report. Steele reported to the FBI that senior Russian foreign ministry figures along with other Russians told him that there was an, I’m quoting from the Steele Dossier, “Extensive evidence of conspiracy between the Trump campaign team and the Kremlin.”
Mr. Gaetz: 01:19 So here’s my question. Did Russians really tell that to Christopher Steele, or did he just make it all up and was he lying to the FBI?
Robert Mueller: 01:26 Well, let me back up a second, if I could, and say, as I said earlier; with regard to the Steele … That’s beyond my purview.
Mr. Gaetz: 01:36 No, it is exactly your purview, Director Mueller, and here’s why. Only one of two things is possible, right? Either Steele made this whole thing up and there were never any Russians telling him of this vast criminal conspiracy that you didn’t find, or Russians lied to Steele. Now, if Russians were lying to Steele to undermine our confidence in our duly elected president, that would seem to be precisely your purview, because you stated in your opening that the organizing principle was to fully and thoroughly investigate Russia’s interference. But you aren’t interested in whether or not Russians were interfering through Christopher Steele. And if Steele was lying, then you should have charged him with lying like you charged a variety of other people. But you say nothing about this in your report.
Robert Mueller: 02:15 Well, sir-
Mr. Gaetz: 02:15 Meanwhile Director, you’re quite loquacious on other topics. You write 3,500 words about the June 9 meeting between the Trump campaign and Russian lawyer Veselnitskaya. You write on page 103 of your report that the President’s legal team suggested, and I’m quoting from your report, “That the meeting might have been a setup by individuals working with the firm that produced the Steele reporting.”
Mr. Gaetz: 02:39 So I’m going to ask you a very easy question, Director Mueller. On the week of June 9, who did Russian lawyer Veselnitskaya meet with more frequently: the Trump campaign or Glenn Simpson, who was functionally acting as an operative for the Democratic National Committee?
Robert Mueller: 02:54 Well, what I think is missing here is the fact that this is under investigation elsewhere in the Justice Department. And if I can finish, sir. And if I could finish, sir. Consequently it’s not within my purview. Department of Justice and the FBI should be responsive to questions on this particular issue.
Mr. Gaetz: 03:12 But it is absurd to suggest that a operative for the Democrats was meeting with this Russian lawyer the day before and the day after the Trump tower meeting, and yet that’s not something you referenced. Now, Glenn Simpson testified under oath he had dinner with Veselnitskaya the day before and the day after this meeting with the Trump team. Do you have any basis as you sit here today to believe that Steele was lying?
Robert Mueller: 03:34 As I said before, I’ll say again, it’s not my purview. Others are investigating what you-
Mr. Gaetz: 03:39 So it’s not your purview to look into whether or not Steele’s lying, it’s not your purview to look into whether or not anti-Trump Russians are lying to Steele, and it’s not your purview to look at whether or not Glenn Simpson was meeting with the Russians the day before and the day after you write 3,500 words about the Trump campaign meeting.
Mr. Gaetz: 03:53 So I’m wondering how these decisions are guided. I look at the Inspector General’s report; I’m citing from page 404 of the Inspector General’s report. It states, “Page stated Trump’s not ever going to be president. Right, right.” Strzok replied, “No he’s not. We’ll stop it.” Also in the Inspector General’s report, there’s someone identified as attorney number two. Attorney number two; this is page 419; replied, “Hell no.” And then added, “Viva la resistance.” Attorney number two in the Inspector General’s report and Strzok both worked on your team, didn’t they?
Robert Mueller: 04:26 Pardon me? Can you ask-
Mr. Gaetz: 04:27 They both worked on your team, didn’t they?
Robert Mueller: 04:30 I heard Struck. Who else were you talking about?
Mr. Gaetz: 04:32 Attorney number two identified in the Inspector General’s report.
Robert Mueller: 04:35 Okay. And the question was?
Mr. Gaetz: 04:37 Did he work for you? The guy who said, “Viva la resistance.”
Robert Mueller: 04:39 Peter Strzok worked for me for a period of time, yes.
Mr. Gaetz: 04:42 Yeah, but so did the other guy that said, “Viva la resistance.” And here’s what I’m kind of noticing, Director Mueller. When people associated with Trump lied, you threw the book at them. When Christopher Steele lied, nothing. And so it seems to be that when Glenn Simpson met with Russians, nothing. When the Trump campaign met with Russians, 3,500 words. Maybe the reason why there are this discrepancies in what you focused on is because the team was so biased, pledged their resistance, pledged to stop Trump.
Rep. Jim Jordan Questioning
Jim Jordan: 00:00 Director, the FBI interviewed Joseph Misfud on February 10th, 2017. In that interview, Mister Misfud lied. You point this out on page number 193, Volume one, “Misfud denied, Misfud also falsely stated, in addition, Misfud omitted.” Three times he lied to the FBI, yet you didn’t charge him with a crime.
Bob Mueller: 00:20 Excuse me. I’m sorry. Did you say 193?
Jim Jordan: 00:23 Volume one, 193. He lied three times, you pointed out in the report. Why didn’t you charge him with a crime?
Bob Mueller: 00:30 I can’t get into internal deliberations with regard who or who would not be-
Jim Jordan: 00:35 You charge a lot of other people for making false statements. Let’s remember this. Let’s remember this, in 2016 the FBI did something they probably haven’t done before. They spied on two American citizens associated with a presidential campaign, George Papadopoulos and Carter Page.
Jim Jordan: 00:52 With Carter Page, they went to the FISA court. They used the now famous dossier as part of the reason they were able to get the warrant and spy on Carter Page for a better part of a year. With Mister Papadopoulos, they didn’t go to the court, they used human sources. All kinds… From about the moment Papadopoulos joins the Trump campaign, you’ve got all these people all around the world, starting to swirl around him. Names like Halper, Downer, Misfud, Thompson, meeting in Rome, London, all kinds of places. The FBI even sent a lady posing as somebody else, went by the name Azra Turk, even dispatched her to London to spy on Mister Papadopoulos.
Jim Jordan: 01:33 In one of these meetings, Mister Papadopoulos is talking to a foreign diplomat and he tells the diplomat, “Russians have dirt on Clinton.” That diplomat then contacts the FBI and the FBI opens an investigation based on that fact. You point this out on page one of the report. July 31st, 2016, they open the investigation based on that piece of information. Diplomat tells Papadopoulos, Russians have dirt… Excuse me. Papadopoulos tells the diplomat Russians have dirt on Clinton, diplomat tells the FBI. What I’m wondering is, who told Papadopoulos? How’s he find out?
Bob Mueller: 02:11 I can’t get into the evidentiary findings-
Jim Jordan: 02:13 Yes you can because you wrote about it. You gave us the answer. Page 192 of the report you tell us who told him. Joseph Misfud. Joseph Misfud’s the guy who told Papadopoulos. The mysterious professor who lives in Rome and London, works and teach at two different universities. This is the guy who old Papadopoulos. He’s the guy who starts it all and when the FBI interviews him, he lies three times and yet you don’t charge him with a crime. You charge Rick Gates for false statements, you charge Paul Manafort for false statements, you charge Michael Cohen with false statements, you charge Michael Flynn, a three star general, with false statements, but the guy who puts the country through this whole saga, starts it all, for three years we’ve lived this now. He lies, and you guys don’t charge him and I’m curious as to why.
Bob Mueller: 03:04 Well, I can’t get into it and it’s obvious, I think, we can’t get into charging decisions.
Jim Jordan: 03:09 When the FBI interviewed him in February, FBI interviews him in February, when the Special Counsel’s Office interviewed Misfud, did he lie to you guys too?
Bob Mueller: 03:18 Can’t get into that.
Jim Jordan: 03:19 Did you interview Misfud?
Bob Mueller: 03:20 Can’t get into that.
Jim Jordan: 03:21 Is Misfud Western intelligence or Russian intelligence.
Bob Mueller: 03:24 Can’t get into that. Can’t get into that.
Jim Jordan: 03:25 A lot of things you can’t get into. What’s interesting, you can charge 13 Russians no one’s ever heard of, no one’s ever seen, no one’s ever going to hear of them, no one’s ever going to see them, you can charge them, you can charge all kinds of people who are around the President with false statements, but the guy who launches everything, the guy who puts this whole story in motion, you can’t charge him. I think that’s amazing.
Bob Mueller: 03:50 I’m not certain… I’m not certain I agree with your characterizations.
Jim Jordan: 03:53 Well, I’m reading from your report. Misfud told Papadopoulos, Papadopoulos tells the diplomat, the diplomat tells the FBI, the FBI opens the investigation July 31st, 2016 and here we are three years later, July of 2019. The country’s been put through this, and the central figure who launches it all, lies to us, and you guys don’t hunt him down, interview him again, and you don’t charge him with a crime.
Jim Jordan: 04:17 Now here’s the good news, here’s the good news, the President was falsely accused of conspiracy. The FBI does a 10 month investigation and James Comey, when we deposed him a year ago, told us at that point they had nothing. You do a 22 month investigation. At the end of the 22 months, you find no conspiracy and what’s the Democrats want to do? They want to keep investigating. They want to 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 go back and actually figure out why Joseph Misfud was lying to the FBI. And here’s the good news, here’s the good news, that’s exactly what Bill Barr’s doing. And thank goodness for that. That’s exactly what the Attorney General and John Durham are doing. They’re going to find out why we went through this three year-
Jerry Nadler: 05:03 Time for the gentleman-
Jim Jordan: 05:04 Saga and get to the bottom of it.
Jerry Nadler: 05:06 Time for the gentleman is expired.
Rep. Andy Biggs Questioning
Rep. Andy Biggs: 00:00 Mr. Mueller, you guys, your team wrote in the report quote this is the top of page two volume one also on page one 73 by the way, you said that you’d come to the conclusion that, “the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government and its election interference activities.” . That’s accurate statement, right?
Robert Mueller: 00:21 That’s accurate.
Rep. Andy Biggs: 00:22 And I’m curious, when did you personally come to that conclusion?
Robert Mueller: 00:29 Can you remind me which paragraph here referring to-
Rep. Andy Biggs: 00:33 Top of page two.
Robert Mueller: 00:34 On two.
Rep. Andy Biggs: 00:34 Volume one.
Robert Mueller: 00:39 Okay. And exactly which paragraph are you looking at on two?
Rep. Andy Biggs: 00:43 The investigation did not establish-
Robert Mueller: 00:46 Of course. I see it. Yes.
Rep. Andy Biggs: 00:47 See it?
Robert Mueller: 00:48 What was your question?
Rep. Andy Biggs: 00:49 My question now, is when did you personally reach that conclusion?
Robert Mueller: 00:53 Well, we were ongoing for two years.
Rep. Andy Biggs: 00:57 Right. You were ongoing. It eroded at some point during that two year period, but at some point you had to come to conclusion that I don’t think there’s not a conspiracy going on here. There was no conspiracy between this President, and I’m not talking about the rest of the President’s team. I’m talking about this president and the Russians.
Robert Mueller: 01:15 As you understand, in developing a criminal case, you get pieces of information, pieces of information, witnesses, and the like, as you make your case.
Rep. Andy Biggs: 01:25 Right.
Robert Mueller: 01:25 And when you make a decision on a particular case depends on a number of factors.
Rep. Andy Biggs: 01:30 Right. I understand-
Robert Mueller: 01:30 So I can not say specifically, that we reached a decision on a particular defendant at a particular point in time.
Rep. Andy Biggs: 01:38 But it was sometime well before you wrote the report. Fair enough? I mean you wrote the report dealing with a whole myriad of issues. Certainly, at some time prior to that report is when you reached the decision that “Okay, with regard to the President himself, I don’t find anything here.” Fair enough?
Robert Mueller: 01:53 Well, I’m not certain I do agree with that.
Rep. Andy Biggs: 01:55 So you waited until the last minute, when you were actually writing the report and said, “Okay-”
Robert Mueller: 01:58 No, but there are various aspects of the development of a-
Rep. Andy Biggs: 02:03 Sure. And that’s my point. There are various aspects that happen, but somewhere along the pike you will come to a conclusion there’s no there, there for this defendant. Isn’t that right? So apparently-
Robert Mueller: 02:17 I can’t speak to it.
Rep. Andy Biggs: 02:18 You can’t say when. Fair enough. No, I’m asking the sworn witness.
Rep. Andy Biggs: 02:25 Mr. Mueller evidence suggests that on May 10th, 2017, at approximately 7:45 AM, six days before the DAG, Deputy Attorney General, appointed you special counsel, Mr. Rosenstein called you and mentioned the appointment of a special counsel. Not necessarily that you’d be appointed, but that you had a discussion of that. Is that true? May 10th, 2017.
Robert Mueller: 02:47 I don’t have any … No, I don’t have any knowledge of that occurring.
Rep. Andy Biggs: 02:52 You don’t have any knowledge or you don’t recall?
Robert Mueller: 02:54 I don’t have any knowledge.
Rep. Andy Biggs: 02:58 Evidence also suggests-
Robert Mueller: 02:59 Given that what I saw you do, are you questioning that?
Rep. Andy Biggs: 03:03 Ah, well, I just find it intriguing. Let me just tell you that there’s evidence that suggests that phone call took place in and that that’s what was said.
Rep. Andy Biggs: 03:09 So let’s move to the next question. Evidence suggests that also on May 12th, 2017, five days before the DAG appointed you to special counsel, you met with Mr. Rosenstein in person. Did you discuss the appointment of special counsel then? Not necessarily that you, but that there would be a special counsel.
Robert Mueller: 03:23 I’ve gone into waters that don’t allow me to give you an answer to that particular question. It relates to the internal discussions he would have in terms of indicting an individual-
Rep. Andy Biggs: 03:35 It has nothing to do with indictment. It has to do with special counsel and whether you had discussed that with Mr. Rosenstein.
Rep. Andy Biggs: 03:41 Evidence also says suggests on May 13th, four days before you were appointed special counsel, you met with former Attorney General Sessions and Rosenstein and you spoke about special counsel. Do you remember that?
Robert Mueller: 03:53 Not off hand, no.
Rep. Andy Biggs: 03:54 Okay. And on May 16th, the day before your appointed special counsel, you met with the President and Rod Rosenstein. Do you remember having that meeting?
Robert Mueller: 04:04 Yes.
Rep. Andy Biggs: 04:04 And discussion of the position of FBI director took place. Do you remember that?
Robert Mueller: 04:09 Yes.
Rep. Andy Biggs: 04:10 And did you discuss at anytime in that meeting, Mr. Comey’s termination?
Robert Mueller: 04:16 No.
Rep. Andy Biggs: 04:17 Did you discuss at anytime, in that meeting, the potential appointment of a special counsel? Not necessarily you, but just in general terms.
Robert Mueller: 04:25 I can’t get into the discussions on that.
Rep. Andy Biggs: 04:27 How many times did you speak to Mr. Rosenstein before May 17th, which is the day you got appointed, regarding the appointment of special counsel. How many times prior to that did you discuss with him?
Robert Mueller: 04:36 I can’t tell you how many times.
Rep. Andy Biggs: 04:38 Is that because you don’t recall or you just-
Robert Mueller: 04:41 I do not recall.
Rep. Andy Biggs: 04:42 Okay, thank you. How many times did you speak with Mr. Comey about any investigations pertaining to Russia prior to May 17th, 2017? Did you have any?
Robert Mueller: 04:52 None at all.
Rep. Andy Biggs: 04:52 Zero.
Robert Mueller: 04:53 Zero.
Rep. Andy Biggs: 04:54 Okay.
Speaker 1: 00:00 In time, the gentleman from North Dakota is recognized.
Rep. Armstrong Questioning
Mr. Armstrong: 00:04 Mr. Mueller, how many people did you fire? How many people on your staff to fire during the course of the investigation? How many people … Did you fire?
Robert Mueller: 00:13 I’m not going to discuss that.
Mr. Armstrong: 00:16 You fired … according to a inspector general’s report, attorney number two was let go and we know Peter Strzok was let go, correct?
Robert Mueller: 00:23 Yes, and there may have been other persons on other issues that had been either transferred or fired.
Mr. Armstrong: 00:29 Peter Strzok testified before this committee on July 12th, 2018 that he was fired because you were concerned about preserving the appearance of independence. Do you agree with this testimony?
Robert Mueller: 00:38 Say that again if you could.
Mr. Armstrong: 00:40 He said he was fired, at least partially because you were worried about … concerned about preserving the appearance of independence with the special counsel’s investigation. Do you agree with that statement?
Robert Mueller: 00:51 This statement was by whom?
Mr. Armstrong: 00:53 Peter Strzok at this hearing.
Robert Mueller: 00:55 I am not familiar with that.
Mr. Armstrong: 00:57 Did you fire him because you were worried about the appearance of independence of the investigation?
Robert Mueller: 01:02 No, he was a transferred as a result of instances involving a text.
Mr. Armstrong: 01:08 Do you agree that your office did not only have an obligation to operate with independence, but to operate with the appearance of independence as well?
Robert Mueller: 01:15 Absolutely. We strove to do that over the two years.
Mr. Armstrong: 01:18 Andrew Weiss …
Robert Mueller: 01:18 Part of that was making certain that …
Mr. Armstrong: 01:20 Andrew Weissmann is one of your top attorneys?
Robert Mueller: 01:23 Yes.
Mr. Armstrong: 01:23 Did Weissmann have a role in selecting other members of your team?
Robert Mueller: 01:26 He had some role, but not a major role.
Mr. Armstrong: 01:29 Andrew Weissmann attended Hillary Clinton’s election night party. Did you know that before or after he came onto the team?
Robert Mueller: 01:34 Don’t know when I found that out.
Mr. Armstrong: 01:35 On January 30th, 2017 Weissmann wrote an email to Deputy Attorney General Yates stating, “I am so proud and in awe regarding her disobeying a direct order from the president.” Did Weissmann disclose that emailed you before he joined the team?
Robert Mueller: 01:49 I’m not going to talk about that.
Mr. Armstrong: 01:51 Is that not a conflict of interest?
Robert Mueller: 01:53 I’m not going to talk about that.
Mr. Armstrong: 01:55 Are you aware that Miss Jeannie Rhee represented Hillary Clinton in litigation regarding personal emails originating from Clinton’s time as Secretary of State?
Robert Mueller: 02:04 Yes.
Mr. Armstrong: 02:05 Did you know that before she came on the team?
Robert Mueller: 02:07 No.
Mr. Armstrong: 02:08 Aaron Zebley, the guy sitting next to you, represented Justin Cooper, a Clinton aide who destroyed one of Clinton’s mobile devices, and you must be aware by now that six of your lawyers donated $12,000 directly to Hillary Clinton. I’m not even talking about the $49,000 they donated other Democrats. Just the donations to the opponent who was the target of your investigation.
Robert Mueller: 02:28 Can I speak for a second to the hiring practices?
Mr. Armstrong: 02:30 Sure.
Robert Mueller: 02:32 We strove to hire those individuals that could do the job. I’ve been in this business for almost 25 years and in those 25 years I have not had occasion once to ask somebody about their political affiliation. It is not done. What I care about is the capability of the individual to do the job and do the job quickly and seriously and with integrity.
Mr. Armstrong: 02:54 But that’s what I’m saying, Mr. Mueller. This isn’t just about you being able to vouch for your team. This is about that the day you accepted this role, you had to be aware, no matter what this report concluded, half of the country was going to be skeptical of your team’s findings. That’s why we have recusal laws that defined bias and perceived bias for this very reason.
Mr. Armstrong: 03:13 28 United States Code 528 specifically lists not just political conflict of interest, but the appearance of political conflict of interest. It’s just simply not enough that you vouch for your team. The interest justice demand that no perceived buys exists. I can’t imagine a single prosecutor or judge that I have ever appeared in front of would be comfortable with these circumstances where over half of the prosecutorial team had a direct relationship to the opponent of the person being investigated.
Robert Mueller: 03:39 Let me point out the fact that I put on the table and that is we hired 19 lawyers over the period of time. Of those 19 lawyers, 14 of them were transferred from elsewhere in the Department of Justice. Only five came from outside. We did not have …
Mr. Armstrong: 03:53 Half of them had a direct relationship, political or personal, with the opponent of the person you were investigating. That’s my point. I wonder if not a single word in this entire report was changed, but rather the only difference was we switched Hillary Clinton and President Trump, if Peter Strzok had texted those terrible things about Hillary Clinton instead of President Trump, if a team of lawyers worked, for donated thousands of dollars to, and went to Trump’s parties instead of Clinton’s, I don’t think we’d be here trying to prop up an obstruction allegation.
Mr. Armstrong: 04:23 My colleagues would’ve spent the last four months accusing 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 the president of conspiracy with Russia, and they would be accusing your team of aiding and embedding in that with that conspiracy. And with that, I yield back.
Rep. Joe Neguse Questioning
Joe Neguse: 00:00 Dr. Mueller. Thank you for your service to our country. I’d like to talk to you about one of the other incidents of obstruction and that’s the evidence in your report showing the president directing his son and his communications 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 Jr was the only Trump associate who participated in that meeting and who declined to be voluntarily interviewed by your office. Is that correct?
Robert Mueller: 00:29 Yes.
Joe Neguse: 00:30 Did Mr. Trump Jr or his counsel ever communicate to your office any intent to invoke his fifth amendment right against self incrimination?
Robert Mueller: 00:38 I’m not gonna answer that.
Joe Neguse: 00:40 You did pose written questions to the president about his knowledge of the Trump tower meeting. You included also asked him about whether or not he had directed a false press statement. The president did not answer at all that question correct?
Robert Mueller: 00:53 I don’t have it in front of me. I take your word.
Joe Neguse: 00:57 I can represent to you that appendix C specifically C13 states as much. According to page 100 of volume two of your report, your investigation found that Hope Hicks, President’s communications director, in June of 2017 was shown emails that set up the Trump tower meeting and she told your office that she was quote shocked by the emails because they looked quote really bad. True?
Robert Mueller: 01:20 Do you have the citation?
Joe Neguse: 01:22 Sure. It’s page 100 of volume two.
Joe Neguse: 01:27 While you’re flipping to that page director Mueller, I will also tell you that according to page 99 of volume two, those emails in question stated, according to your report, that the crown prosecutor of Russia had offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia as part of Russia and its government support for Mr. Trump. Trump Jr responded, “If it’s what you say, I love it.” And he, Cushner, and Manafort met with the Russian attorneys and several other Russian individuals at Trump tower on June 9th, 2016 end quote, correct?
Robert Mueller: 02:01 Generally accurate.
Joe Neguse: 02:03 Isn’t it true that Ms. Hicks told your office that she went multiple times to the president to quote, urge him that they should be fully transparent about the June 9th meeting end quote? But the president each time said, “No.” Correct?
Robert Mueller: 02:19 Accurate.
Joe Neguse: 02:20 And the reason was because of those emails, which the president quote believed would not leak. Correct?
Robert Mueller: 02:27 Well, I’m not certain how it’s characterized, but generally correct.
Joe Neguse: 02:31 Did the president direct Miss Hicks to say quote, only that Trump Jr took a brief meeting and it was about Russian adoption end quote, because Trump Jr’s statement to the New York Times quote said too much into one page 102 of volume two?
Robert Mueller: 02:48 Okay.
Joe Neguse: 02:49 Correct?
Robert Mueller: 02:50 Let me one… Let me just check one thing.
Robert Mueller: 02:56 Yes.
Joe Neguse: 02:56 And according to Miss Hicks, the president still directed her to say the meeting was only about Russian adoption. Correct?
Robert Mueller: 03:04 Yes.
Joe Neguse: 03:05 Despite knowing that to be untrue. Thank you, director Mueller. I yield back the balance of my own time.
Rep David Cicilline Questioning
David Cicilline: 00:00 Director, as you know, we are specifically focusing on five separate obstruction episodes here today. I’d like to ask you about the third episode. It’s the section of your report entitled “The President’s Efforts to Curtail the Special Counsel Investigation” beginning at page 90 and by curtail you mean limit? Correct?
Robert Mueller: 00:17 Correct.
David Cicilline: 00:18 My colleagues have walked through how the president tried to have you fired to the White House Council and because Mr McGahn refused the order, the president asked others to help limit your investigation. Is that correct?
Robert Mueller: 00:28 Correct.
David Cicilline: 00:28 And was Corey Lewandowski one such individual?
Robert Mueller: 00:31 And again, can you remind me what [crosstalk 00:00:34]
David Cicilline: 00:34 Well, Corey Lewandowski is the president’s former campaign manager? Correct.
Robert Mueller: 00:37 Correct.
David Cicilline: 00:38 Did he have any official position in the Trump administration?
Robert Mueller: 00:42 I don’t believe so.
David Cicilline: 00:43 Your report describes an incident in the Oval Office involving Mr Lewandowski on June 19, 2017 at volume two page 91 is that correct?
Robert Mueller: 00:53 I’m sorry, what’s your citation sir?
David Cicilline: 00:54 Page 91
Robert Mueller: 00:55 Of the second volume?
David Cicilline: 00:58 Yes.
Robert Mueller: 00:59 And [crosstalk 00:01:00]
David Cicilline: 01:00 A meeting in the Oval Office between Mr Lewandowski and the president.
Robert Mueller: 01:03 Okay.
David Cicilline: 01:04 And that was just two days after the president called Don McGahn at home and ordered him to fire you. Is that correct?
Robert Mueller: 01:10 Apparently so.
David Cicilline: 01:11 So right after his White House counsel, Mr McGann refused to follow the president’s order to fire you. The president came up with a new plan and that was to go around all of his senior advisors and government aids to have a private citizen try to limit your investigation. What did the president tell Mr Lewandowski to do? Do you recall? He told him he dictated a message to Miss Lewandowski for trade general Sessions and asked him to write it down. Is that correct?
Robert Mueller: 01:35 True.
David Cicilline: 01:36 And do you or did you and your team see this handwritten message?
Robert Mueller: 01:41 I’m not gonna get into what we may or may not have included in our investigation.
David Cicilline: 01:45 Okay. The message directed Sessions to give an, I’m quoting from your report, to give a public speech saying that he planned to meet with the special prosecutor to explain this as very unfair and let the special prosecutor move forward with investigating election meddling for future elections. That’s at page 91, is that correct?
Robert Mueller: 02:02 Yes, I see that. Thank you. Yes, it is.
David Cicilline: 02:04 In other words, Mr Lewandowski, a private citizen, 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?
Robert Mueller: 02:15 Correct.
David Cicilline: 02:16 And at this time, Mr sessions was still recused from oversight of your investigation, correct?
Robert Mueller: 02:22 I’m sorry, could you, restate that?
David Cicilline: 02:23 The attorney general was recused from oversights.
Robert Mueller: 02:25 Yes. Yes.
David Cicilline: 02:25 So the attorney general would have had to violate his own department’s rules in order to comply with the president’s order? Correct?
Robert Mueller: 02:32 Well, I’m not going to get into the subsidiary details. I just refer you again to page 91, 92 of the report.
David Cicilline: 02:39 If the attorney general had followed through with the president’s request, Mr Mueller, it would have effectively ended your investigation into the president and his campaign, as you note on page 97, correct?
Robert Mueller: 02:50 Could you…
David Cicilline: 02:52 At page 97 you right. And I quote, taken together, the president’s directives indicate that Sessions was being instructed to tell the special counsel to end the existing investigation into the president and his campaign with a special counsel being permitted to move forward with investigating election meddling for future elections. Is that correct?
Robert Mueller: 03:10 Generally true, yes sir.
David Cicilline: 03:11 And it’s an unsuccessful attempt to obstruct justice is still a crime, is that correct?
Robert Mueller: 03:16 That is correct.
David Cicilline: 03:17 And Mr Lewandowski tried to meet with the attorney general, is that right?
Robert Mueller: 03:21 True.
David Cicilline: 03:22 And he tried, he meet with him in his office so he will be sure. Certainly it wasn’t a public log of the visit,
Robert Mueller: 03:27 According to what we gathered for the report.
David Cicilline: 03:30 And the meeting never happened. And the president raised the issue again with Mr Lewandowski and this time he said, and I quote, if Sessions does not meet with you, Lewandowski should tell Sessions he was fired. Correct?
Robert Mueller: 03:42 Correct.
David Cicilline: 03:42 So immediately following the meeting with the president, Lewandowski then asked Mr Dearborn to deliver the message, who is the former chief of staff to Mr Sessions and Mr Dearborn refuses to deliver it because he doesn’t feel comfortable, isn’t that correct?
Robert Mueller: 03:57 Generally correct. Yes.
David Cicilline: 03:58 So just so we’re clear, Mr Mueller, two days after the White House counsel Don McGahn refused to carry out the presence order to fire you, the president directed a private citizen to tell the attorney general of the United States who was recused at the time to limit your investigation to future elections, effectively ending your investigation into the 2016 Trump campaign. Is that correct?
Robert Mueller: 04:20 Well, I’m not going to adopt your characterization but say that a facts laid out in the report are accurate.
David Cicilline: 04:26 Well, Mr. Mueller, in your report, you in fact write a page 99, 97 substantial evidence indicates that the president’s effort to have sessions limit the scope of the special counsel’s investigation to future elections interference was intended to prevent further investigative scrutiny of the president and his campaign conduct. Is that correct?
Robert Mueller: 04:46 Generally.
David Cicilline: 04:47 And so Mr. Mueller, you have seen the letter where a thousand former republican and democratic federal prosecutors have read your report and said, “Anyone but the president committed of those acts will be charged with obstruction of justice.” Do you agree with those former colleagues, 1,000 prosecutors who came to that conclusion?
Rep. Stanton Questioning
Mr. Stanton: 00:00 Thank you, Director Mueller. I’m disappointed that some have questioned your motives throughout this process, and I want to take a moment to remind the American people of who you are and your exemplary service to our country. You are a marine. You served in Vietnam and earned a bronze star and a purple heart, correct?
Robert Mueller: 00:19 Correct.
Mr. Stanton: 00:21 Which president appointed you to become the United States attorney for Massachusetts.
Robert Mueller: 00:26 Which senator?
Mr. Stanton: 00:27 Which president?
Robert Mueller: 00:28 Oh, which president? I think that was President Bush.
Mr. Stanton: 00:35 According to my notes, it was president Ronald Reagan had the honor to do so under whose administration-
Robert Mueller: 00:39 My mistake?
Mr. Stanton: 00:41 Under whose administration did you serve as the assistant attorney general in charge of the DOJs criminal division?
Robert Mueller: 00:49 Or which president?
Mr. Stanton: 00:50 Yup.
Robert Mueller: 00:51 That would be George Bush one.
Mr. Stanton: 00:54 That is correct. President George H. W. Bush. After that, you took a job at a prestigious law firm and after only a couple years you did something extraordinary, you left that lucrative position to reenter public service, prosecuting homicides here in Washington DC. Is that correct?
Robert Mueller: 01:10 Correct.
Mr. Stanton: 01:12 When you were named director of the FBI, which president first appointed you?
Robert Mueller: 01:17 Bush.
Mr. Stanton: 01:18 And the Senate confirmed you with a vote of 98 to zero? Correct?
Robert Mueller: 01:22 Surprising.
Mr. Stanton: 01:24 And you were sworn in as director just one week before the September 11th attacks.
Robert Mueller: 01:30 True.
Mr. Stanton: 01:30 You helped to protect this nation against another attack. You did such an outstanding job that when your 10 year term expired, the Senate unanimously voted to extend your term for another two years. Correct?
Robert Mueller: 01:42 True.
Mr. Stanton: 01:43 When you were asked in 2017 to take the job as special counsel, the president had just fired FBI Director James Corey. The Justice Department and the FBI were in turmoil. You must have known there would be an extraordinary challenge. Why did you accept?
Robert Mueller: 01:59 Oh, I’m not going to get into, that’s a little bit off track. It was a challenge, period.
Mr. Stanton: 02:06 Some people have attacked the political motivations of your team, even suggested your investigation was a witch hunt. When you considered people to join your team, did you ever even once ask about their political affiliation?
Robert Mueller: 02:19 Never once.
Mr. Stanton: 02:20 In your entire career as a law enforcement official, have you ever made a hiring decision based upon a person’s political affiliation?
Robert Mueller: 02:29 No.
Mr. Stanton: 02:31 I’m not surprised-
Robert Mueller: 02:32 If I might just interject, the capabilities that we have shown in the report that’s been discussed here today as a result of a team of agents and lawyers who were absolutely exemplary and were hired because of the value they could contribute to getting the job done and getting it done expeditiously.
Mr. Stanton: 02:49 Sir, you’re a patriot and clear to me in reading your report and listening to your testimony today, you acted fairly and with restraint. There were circumstances where you could have filed charges against other people, mention the report, but you decline. Not every prosecutor does that, certainly not one on a witch hunt. The attacks made against you and your team intensified because your report is damning and I believe you did uncover substantial evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors. Let me also say something else that you are right about. The only remedy for this situation is for Congress to take action. I yield back.
Speaker 3: 03:21 Gentleman yields back, the gentlelady from Pennsylvania.
Rep. Ted Lieu Questioning
Ted Lieu: 00:00 Thank you director Mueller for your long history of service to our country, including your service as a marine where you earn a bronze star with a V device. I’d like to now turn to the elements of obstruction of justice as applied to the President’s attempts to curtail your investigation. The first element of obstruction of justice requires an obstructive act, correct?
Robert Mueller: 00:21 Correct.
Ted Lieu: 00:22 Okay. I’d like to direct you to page 97 of volume two of your report, and you wrote there on page 97, “Sessions was being instructed to tell the special counsel to end the existing investigation into the president and his campaign.” That’s in the report, correct?
Robert Mueller: 00:40 Correct.
Ted Lieu: 00:41 That would be evidence of an obstructive act because it would naturally obstruct their investigation, correct?
Robert Mueller: 00:49 Correct.
Ted Lieu: 00:50 Okay. Let’s turn now to the second element of the crime of assumption of justice, which requires a nexus to an official proceeding. Again, I’m going to direct you to page 97 the same page of volume two and you wrote, “By the time of the President’s initial one-on-one meeting with Lewandowski on June 19th, 2017 the existence of a grand jury investigation supervised by the special counsel was public knowledge.” That’s in the report, correct?
Robert Mueller: 01:15 Correct.
Ted Lieu: 01:17 That would constitute evidence of a nexus to an official proceeding because the grand jury investigation is an official proceeding, correct?
Robert Mueller: 01:24 Well, yes.
Ted Lieu: 01:25 Okay. I’d like to now turn to the final element of the crime of obstruction of justice on that same page, page 97, do you see where there’s the intent section on that page?
Robert Mueller: 01:37 I do see that.
Ted Lieu: 01:38 All right. Would you be willing to read the first sentence?
Robert Mueller: 01:41 And that was starting with?
Ted Lieu: 01:43 Substantial evidence.
Robert Mueller: 01:44 Indicates that the president-
Ted Lieu: 01:46 If you could read that first sentence, would you be willing to do that?
Robert Mueller: 01:48 I’m happy to have you read it.
Ted Lieu: 01:49 Okay. I will read it then. You wrote, “Substantial evidence indicates that the President’s effort to have Sessions limit the scope of the Special Counsel’s investigation to future election interference was intended to prevent further investigative scrutiny of the President’s and his campaigns conduct.” That’s in the report, correct?
Robert Mueller: 02:10 That is in the report and I rely on what’s in the report to indicate what’s happened in a the paragraphs that we’ve been discussing.
Ted Lieu: 02:20 Thank you. So to recap what we’ve heard, we have heard today that the President ordered former White House counsel Don Mcgahn to fire you. The President ordered Don Mcgahn to then cover that up and create a false paper trail. And now we’ve heard the President ordered Corey Lewandowski to tell Jeff Sessions to limit your investigation so that he, you, stop 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. And I like to ask you the reason again that you did not indict Donald Trump is because of OLC opinion stating that you can not indict a sitting President. Correct?
Robert Mueller: 03:04 That is correct. The fact that their order’s by the President were not carry it out. That is not a defense to absorb trans justice because the statute itself is quite broad. It says that as long as you endeavor or attempt to obstruct justice, that would also constitute a crime.
Ted Lieu: 03:24 I ain’t getting into that at this juncture.
Ted Lieu: 03:25 Okay. Thank you and based on the evidence that we have heard today, I believe a reasonable person could conclude that at least three crimes of social injustice by the President occurred. We’re going to hear about two additional crimes. That would be the witness tamperings of Michael Cohen and Paul Manafore.
Robert Mueller: 03:45 All that, the only thing I want to add is that I’m going through the elements with you did not mean, or does not mean that I subscribe to the what you’re trying to prove through those elements.
Speaker 3: 03:57 The timer of the gentleman has expired.
Rep. Scanlon Questioning
Ms. Scanlon: 00:00 Director Mueller, I want to ask you some questions about the president’s statements regarding advanced knowledge of the WikiLeaks dumps. The president refused to sit down with your investigators for an in-person interview, correct?
Robert Mueller: 00:13 Correct.
Ms. Scanlon: 00:14 So the only answers we have to questions from the president are contained in Appendix C to your report.
Robert Mueller: 00:20 Correct.
Ms. Scanlon: 00:21 Okay. So looking at Appendix C, on page five you asked the president over a dozen questions about whether he had knowledge that WikiLeaks possessed or might possess the emails that were stolen by the Russians.
Robert Mueller: 00:35 I apologize. I-
Ms. Scanlon: 00:35 Sure.
Robert Mueller: 00:36 Can you start it again?
Ms. Scanlon: 00:37 Okay, sure.
Robert Mueller: 00:39 Thank you.
Ms. Scanlon: 00:39 So we’re looking at Appendix C.
Robert Mueller: 00:41 Right.
Ms. Scanlon: 00:42 Appendix C, page five, you asked the president about 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? You asked those questions?
Robert Mueller: 00:59 Yes.
Ms. Scanlon: 00:59 Okay. In February of this year, Mr. Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, testified to Congress under oath that “Mr. Trump knew from Roger Stone in advance about the WikiLeaks drop of emails.” That’s a matter of public record, isn’t it?
Robert Mueller: 01:17 Well, are you referring to the report or some other public records?
Ms. Scanlon: 01:20 This was testimony before Congress by Mr. Cohen. Do you know if he told you that?
Robert Mueller: 01:25 Then I’m not explicitly familiar with what he testified to before Congress.
Ms. Scanlon: 01:30 Okay. Let’s look in an event described on page 18 of Volume II of your report. We’re going to put it up on a slide, I think. According to Deputy Campaign 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. And 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 from the report?
Robert Mueller: 02:10 If it’s in the report, I support it.
Ms. Scanlon: 02:12 Okay, and that’s on page 18 of Volume II. Now, on page 77 of Volume II, your report also stated, “In addition, some witnesses said that Trump privately sought information about future WikiLeak releases.” Is that correct?
Robert Mueller: 02:28 Correct.
Ms. Scanlon: 02:28 Okay. Now, in Appendix C, where the president did answer some written questions, he said, “I do not recall discussing WikiLeaks with him, nor do I recall being aware of Mr. Stone having discussed WikiLeaks with individuals associated with my campaign.” Is that correct?
Robert Mueller: 02:47 If it’s from the report, it is correct.
Ms. Scanlon: 02:49 Okay. So is it fair to say the president denied ever discussing WikiLeaks with Mr. Stone and denied being aware that anyone associated with his campaign discussed WikiLeaks with Stone?
Robert Mueller: 02:59 I’m sorry, could you repeat that one?
Ms. Scanlon: 03:01 Is it fair then that the president denied knowledge of himself or anyone else discussing WikiLeaks dumps with Mr. Stone?
Robert Mueller: 03:09 Yes. yes.
Ms. Scanlon: 03:09 Okay. And with that, I would yield back.
Rep. Steve Chabot Questioning
Steve Chabot: 00:00 Thank you. Director Mueller, my democratic colleagues were very disappointed in your report. They were expecting you to say something along the lines of, here’s why president Trump deserves to be impeached much as Ken Starr did relative to President Clinton back about 20 years ago. Well, you didn’t. So their strategy had to change. Now they allege that there’s plenty of evidence in your report to impeach the president, but the American people just didn’t read it. And this hearing today is their last best hope to build up some sort of groundswell across America to impeach president Trump. That’s what this is really all about today. Now, a few questions. On page 103 of volume two of your report when discussing the June 2016 Trump tower meeting, you reference quote, “The firm that produced the steel reporting.” Unquote. The name of that firm was Fusion GPS. Is that correct?
Robert Mueller: 01:01 And you’re on page 103?
Steve Chabot: 01:02 103 that’s correct. Volume two. When you talk about the firm that produced the steel reporting, the name of the firm that produced that was Fusion GPS. Is that correct?
Robert Mueller: 01:16 I’m not familiar with with that.
Steve Chabot: 01:20 Well, let me just help you. It was, it’s not a trick question or anything. It was Fusion GPS. Now Fusion GPS produced the opposition research document widely known as the Steele dossier and the owner of Fusion GPS was someone named Glenn Simpson. Are you familiar with?
Robert Mueller: 01:39 This is outside my purview.
Steve Chabot: 01:41 Okay. Glenn Simpson was never mentioned in the 448 page Mueller report was he?
Robert Mueller: 01:50 As I say, it’s outside my purview and it’s being handled in the department by others.
Steve Chabot: 01:54 Okay. Well he was not. 448 pages, the the owner of Fusion GPS, they did the Steele dossier that started all this. He’s not mentioned in there. Let me move on. At the same time, Fusion GPS was working to collect opposition research on Donald Trump from foreign sources on behalf of the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. It also was representing a Russian-based company, Prevezon, which had been sanctioned by the US government. Are you aware of that?
Robert Mueller: 02:28 It’s outside my purview.
Steve Chabot: 02:29 Okay, thank you. One of the key players in the … I’ll go to something different. One of the key players in the June 2016 Trump tower meeting was Natalia Veselnitskaya who you described in your report as a Russian attorney who advocated for the repeal of the Magnitsky Act. Veselnitskaya had been working with none other than Glenn Simpson and Fusion GPS since at least early 2014. Are you aware of that?
Robert Mueller: 03:01 Outside my purview. T
Steve Chabot: 03:02 hank you. But you didn’t mention that or her connections to Glenn Simpson and Fusion GPS in your report at all. Let me move on. Now, NBC News has reported the following quote, “Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya says she first received the supposedly incriminating information she brought to Trump tower describing alleged tax evasion and donation to Democrats from none other than Glenn Simpson, the Fusion GPS owner.” You didn’t include that in the report and I assume you’re saying …
Robert Mueller: 03:36 This is a matter being handled by others at the Department of Justice.
Steve Chabot: 03:39 Okay, thank you. Now your report spends 14 pages discussing the June 9th, 2016 Trump tower meeting. It would be fair to say would it not that you spent significant resources investigating that meeting?
Robert Mueller: 03:56 Well, I refer you to the report.
Steve Chabot: 03:59 Okay. And president Trump wasn’t at the meeting.
Robert Mueller: 04:02 No, he was not.
Steve Chabot: 04:03 You’re aware of that. Thank you. Now, in stark contrast to the actions of the Trump campaign, we know that the Clinton campaign did pay Fusion GPS to gather dirt on the Trump campaign from persons associated with foreign governments. But your report doesn’t mention a thing about Fusion GPS in it and you didn’t investigate Fusion GPS’s connections to [inaudible 00:04:26]. So let me just ask you this. Can you see that from neglecting to mention Glenn Simpson and Fusion GPS’s involvement with the Clinton campaign to focusing on a brief meeting at the Trump tower that produced nothing, to ignoring the Clinton campaign’s own ties to Fusion GPS why some view your report as a pretty one-sided attack on the president?
Robert Mueller: 04:53 I tell you, this is still outside of my purview.
Steve Chabot: 04:56 All right. And I would just note finally that I guess it’s just by chance, by coincidence that the things left out of the report tended to be favorable to the president.
Devin Nunes: 00:00:00 Hearing the appointment of a Special Counsel who sits here before us today.
Devin Nunes: 00:00:06 The FBI investigation was marred by further corruption and bizarre abuses. Top DOJ official Bruce Ohr, whose own wife worked on Fusion GPS’s anti-Trump operation fed Steele’s information to the FBI, even after the FBI fired Steele.
Devin Nunes: 00:00:24 The top FBI investigator and his lover, another top FBI official, constantly texted about how much they hated Trump and wanted to stop him from being elected. And the entire investigation was open based not on Five Eyes intelligence, but on a tip from a foreign politician about a conversation involving Joseph Mifsud.
Devin Nunes: 00:00:48 He’s a Maltese diplomat who is widely portrayed as a Russian agent, but seems to have far more connections with Western governments, including our own FBI and our own State Department than with Russia.
Devin Nunes: 00:01:03 Brazenly ignoring all these red flags, as well as the transparent absurdity of the claims they are making, the Democrats have argued for nearly three years that evidence of collusion is hidden just around the corner. Like the Loch Ness Monster. They insist it’s there even if no one can find it.
Devin Nunes: 00:01:21 Consider this. In March, 2017 Democrats on this committee said they had more than circumstantial evidence of collusion, but they couldn’t reveal it yet. Mr. Mueller was soon appointed and they said he would find the collusion.
Devin Nunes: 00:01:36 Then when no collusion was found in Mr Mueller’s indictments, the Democrats said we’d find it in his final report. Then when there was no collusion in the report, we were told Attorney General Barr was hiding it.
Devin Nunes: 00:01:50 Then when it was clear Barr wasn’t hiding anything, we were told it will be revealed through a hearing with Mr. Mueller himself. And now that Mr. Mueller is here, they are claiming that the collusion has actually been in his report all along, hidden in plain sight. And they’re right.
Devin Nunes: 00:02:08 There is collusion in plain sight. Collusion between Russia and the Democratic Party. The Democrats colluded with Russian sources to develop the Steele dossier and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya colluded with a dossier’s key architect, Fusion GPS head, Glenn Simpson.
Devin Nunes: 00:02:27 The Democrats have already admitted, both in interviews and through their usual anonymous statements to reporters, that today’s hearing is not about getting information at all. They said they want to, quote, bring the Mueller report to life and create a television moment through ploys like having Mr. Mueller recite passages from his own report.
Devin Nunes: 00:02:49 In other words, this hearing is political theater. It’s a hail Mary attempt to convince the American people that collusion is real and that it’s concealed in the report. Granted, that’s a strange argument to make about a report that is public. It’s almost like the Democrats prepared arguments accusing Mr. Barr of hiding the report and didn’t bother to update their claims once he published the entire thing.
Devin Nunes: 00:03:15 Among congressional Democrats, the Russian investigation was never about finding the truth. It’s always been a simple media operation. By their own accounts, this operation continues in this room today.
Devin Nunes: 00:03:29 Once again, numerous pressing issues this committee needs to address are put on hold to indulge the political fantasies of people who believed it was their destiny to serve Hillary Clinton’s administration. It’s time for the curtain to close on the Russia hoax. The conspiracy theory is dead.
Devin Nunes: 00:03:49 At some point, I would argue, we’re going to have to get back to work. Until then, I yield back the balance of my time.
Adam Schiff: 00:03:59 To ensure fairness and make sure that our hearing is prompt, I know we got a late start, Director Mueller, the hearing will be structured as follows.
Adam Schiff: 00:04:09 Each member of the committee will be afforded five minutes to ask questions, beginning with the chair and ranking member. As chair, I will recognize thereafter, in alternating fashion and descending order of seniority, members of the majority and minority. After each member has asked his or her questions, the ranking member will be afforded an additional five minutes to ask questions. Followed by the chair, who will have additional five questions, five minutes for questions.
Adam Schiff: 00:04:32 The ranking member and the chair will not be permitted to delegate or yield our final round of questions to any other member. After six members of the majority and six members of the minority have concluded their five minute rounds of questions, we’ll take a five or 10 minute break, that we understand you’ve requested, before resuming the hearing with Congressman Swalwell starting his round of questions.
Adam Schiff: 00:04:55 Special Counsel Mueller is accompanied today by Aaron Zebley, who served as deputy Special Counsel from May, 2017 until May 2019, and had day to day oversight of the Special Counsel’s investigation. Mr. Mueller and Mr. Zebley resigned from the Department of Justice at the end of May 2019 when the Special Counsel’s Office was closed.
Adam Schiff: 00:05:17 Both Mr. Mueller and Mr. Zebley will be available to answer questions today and will be sworn in consistent with the rules of the House and the committee. Mr. Mueller and Mr Zebley’s appearance today before the committee is in keeping with the committee’s longstanding practice of receiving testimony from current or former Department of Justice and FBI personnel regarding open and closed investigative matters.
Adam Schiff: 00:05:40 As this hearing is under oath and before we begin your testimony, Mr. Mueller and Mr. Zebley, Would you please rise and raise your right hands to be sworn?
Speaker 1: 00:05:53 [inaudible] do you want to?
Adam Schiff: 00:05:57 Swear them in. Yes. Do you swear or affirm that the testimony you are about to give at this hearing is the whole truth and nothing but the truth?
Robert Mueller: 00:06:02 I do.
Adam Schiff: 00:06:05 Thank you. The record will reflect that the witnesses have been duly sworn.
Adam Schiff: 00:06:11 Ranking member.
Devin Nunes: 00:06:12 Thank you Mr. Chair. I just want to clarify that this is highly unusual for a Mr. Zebley to be sworn in. We’re here to ask Director Mueller questions. He’s here as counsel. Our side is not going to be directing any questions to Mr. Zebley. And we have concerns about his prior representation of the Hillary Clinton campaign aide, so I just want to voice that concern that we do have. We will not be addressing any questions to Mr. Zebley today.
Adam Schiff: 00:06:48 I thank the ranking member. I realize, as you probably do, Mr. Zebley, That there is an angry man down the street who’s not happy about your being here today. But it is up to this committee, and not anyone else, who will be allowed to be sworn in and testify. And you are welcome as a private citizen to testify and members may direct their questions to whoever they choose.
Adam Schiff: 00:07:11 With that, Director Mueller, you are recognized for any opening remarks you’d like to make.
Robert Mueller: 00:07:21 Good afternoon, Chairman Schiff, ranking member Nunes, and members of the committee.
Robert Mueller: 00:07:26 I testified this morning before the House Judiciary Committee. I asked that the opening statement I made before that committee be incorporated into the record here.
Adam Schiff: 00:07:37 Without objection, Director.
Robert Mueller: 00:07:38 I understand that this committee has a unique jurisdiction and that you are interested in further understanding the counterintelligence implications of our investigation. So let me say a word about how we handled the potential impact of our investigation on counterintelligence matters.
Robert Mueller: 00:07:59 As we explained in our report, the Special Counsel regulations effectively gave me the role of the United States attorney. As a result, we structured our investigation around evidence for possible use in prosecution of federal crimes.
Robert Mueller: 00:08:14 We did not reach what you would call counterintelligence conclusions. We did, however, set up processes in the office to identify and pass counterintelligence information on to the FBI. Members of our office periodically briefed the FBI about counterintelligence information. In addition, there were agents and analysts from the FBI who were not on our team, but whose job it was to identify counterintelligence information in our files and to disseminate that information to the FBI.
Robert Mueller: 00:08:51 For these reasons, questions about what the FBI has done with the counterintelligence information obtained from our investigation should be directed to the FBI.
Robert Mueller: 00:09:03 I also want to reiterate a few points that I made this morning. I am not making any judgments or offering opinions about the guilt or innocence in any pending case. It is unusual for a prosecutor to testify about a criminal investigation. And given my role as a prosecutor, there are reasons why my testimony will necessarily be limited.
Robert Mueller: 00:09:29 First, public testimony could affect several ongoing matters. In some of these matters, court rules or judicial orders limit the disclosure of information to protect the fairness of the proceedings. And consistent with longstanding Justice Department policy, it would be inappropriate for me to comment in any way that could affect an ongoing matter.
Robert Mueller: 00:09:54 Second, the Justice Department has asserted privileges concerning investigative information and decisions, ongoing matters within the Justice Department, and deliberations within our office. These are Justice Department privileges that I will respect.
Robert Mueller: 00:10:12 The Department has released that letter discussing the restrictions on my testimony. But 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 opening of the FBI’s Russia investigation, which occurred months before my appointment, or matters related to the so-called Steele and dossier. These matters are the subject of ongoing review by the Department. Any questions on these topics should therefore be directed to the FBI or the Justice Department.
Robert Mueller: 00:10:49 Third, as I explained this morning, it is important for me to adhere to what we wrote in our report. The report contains our findings and analysis and the reasons for the decisions we made. We stated the results of our investigation with precision. I do not intend to summarize or describe the results of our work in a different way in the course of my testimony today.
Robert Mueller: 00:11:16 As I stated in May, I also will not 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 standards that govern. Finally, as I said this morning, over the course of my career, I’ve seen a number of challenges to our democracy. The Russian government’s efforts to interfere in our election is among the most serious, and I am sure that the committee agrees.
Robert Mueller: 00:11:48 Now, before we go to questions, I want to add one correction to my testimony this morning. I want to go back to one thing that was said this morning by Mr. Lieu, who said, and I quote, “You didn’t charge the President because of the OLC opinion.” That is not the correct way to say it. As we say in the report, and as I said at the opening, we did not reach a determination as to whether the President committed a crime.
Robert Mueller: 00:12:15 And with that, Mr. Chairman, I’m ready to answer questions.
Adam Schiff: 00:12:20 Thank you, Director Mueller. I recognize myself for five minutes.
Adam Schiff: 00:12:23 Director Mueller, your report describes a sweeping and systematic effort by Russia to influence our presidential election. Is that correct?
Robert Mueller: 00:12:31 That is correct.
Adam Schiff: 00:12:33 And during the course of this Russian interference in the election, the Russians made outreach to the Trump campaign. Did they not?
Robert Mueller: 00:12:40 That occurred over the course of, yeah, that occurred.
Adam Schiff: 00:12:45 It’s also clear from your report that during that Russian outreach to the Trump campaign, no one associated with the Trump campaign ever called the FBI to report it. Am I right?
Robert Mueller: 00:12:55 I don’t know of that for sure.
Adam Schiff: 00:12:59 In fact, the campaign welcomed the Russian help. Did they not?
Robert Mueller: 00:13:03 I think we report in the report indications that that occurred. Yes.
Adam Schiff: 00:13:09 The president’s son said when he was approached about dirt on Hillary Clinton that the Trump campaign would love it.
Robert Mueller: 00:13:15 That is generally what was said. Yes.
Adam Schiff: 00:13:19 The President himself called on the Russians to hack Hillary’s emails.
Robert Mueller: 00:13:23 There was a statement by the President in those general lines.
Adam Schiff: 00:13:27 Numerous times during the campaign, the President praised the releases of the Russian hacked emails through Wikileaks.
Robert Mueller: 00:13:34 That did occur.
Adam Schiff: 00:13:37 Your report found that the Trump campaign planned, quote, “a press strategy, communications campaign, and messaging,” unquote, based on that Russian assistance.
Robert Mueller: 00:13:47 I am not familiar with that.
Adam Schiff: 00:13:49 That language comes from volume one, page 54. Apart from the Russians wanting to help Trump win, several individuals associated with the Trump campaign were also trying to make money during the campaign and transition. Is that correct?
Robert Mueller: 00:14:05 That is true.
Adam Schiff: 00:14:06 Paul Manafort was trying to make money or achieve debt forgiveness from a Russian oligarch.
Robert Mueller: 00:14:10 Generally, that is accurate.
Adam Schiff: 00:14:13 Michael Flynn was trying to make money from Turkey.
Robert Mueller: 00:14:15 True.
Adam Schiff: 00:14:17 Donald Trump was trying to make millions from a real estate deal in Moscow.
Robert Mueller: 00:14:21 To the extent you’re talking about the the hotel in Moscow?
Adam Schiff: 00:14:25 Yes.
Robert Mueller: 00:14:26 Yes.
Adam Schiff: 00:14:28 When your investigation looked into these matters, numerous Trump associates lied to your team, the grand jury, and to Congress.
Robert Mueller: 00:14:34 A number of persons that we interviewed in our investigation, it turns out, did lie.
Adam Schiff: 00:14:40 Mike Flynn lied.
Robert Mueller: 00:14:42 He was convicted of lying. Yes.
Adam Schiff: 00:14:44 George Papadopoulos was convicted of lying.
Robert Mueller: 00:14:46 True.
Adam Schiff: 00:14:47 Paul Manafort was convicted of lying.
Robert Mueller: 00:14:49 True.
Adam Schiff: 00:14:50 Paul Manafort, in fact, went so forest to encourage other people to lie.
Robert Mueller: 00:14:54 That is accurate.
Adam Schiff: 00:14:56 Manafort’s deputy Rick Gates lied.
Robert Mueller: 00:14:58 That is accurate.
Adam Schiff: 00:14:59 Michael Cohen, the President’s lawyer, was indicted for lying.
Robert Mueller: 00:15:03 True.
Adam Schiff: 00:15:04 He lied to stay on message with the President.
Robert Mueller: 00:15:06 Allegedly, by him.
Adam Schiff: 00:15:09 And when Donald Trump called your investigation a witch hunt, that was also false. Was it not?
Robert Mueller: 00:15:14 I’d like to think so. Yes.
Adam Schiff: 00:15:16 Well, your investigation is not a witch hunt. Is it?
Robert Mueller: 00:15:18 It is not a witch hunt.
Adam Schiff: 00:15:20 When the President said the Russian interference was a hoax, that was false. Wasn’t it?
Robert Mueller: 00:15:24 True.
Adam Schiff: 00:15:26 When he said it publicly, it was false.
Robert Mueller: 00:15:30 He did say publicly that it was false. Yes.
Adam Schiff: 00:15:34 And when he told it to Putin, that was false too. Wasn’t it?
Robert Mueller: 00:15:37 That I’m not familiar with.
Adam Schiff: 00:15:39 When the President said he had no business dealings with Russia, that was false. Wasn’t it?
Robert Mueller: 00:15:45 I’m not going to go into the details of the report, that along those lines.
Adam Schiff: 00:15:51 Well, when the President said he had no business dealings with Russia, in fact, he was seeking to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. Is he not?
Robert Mueller: 00:15:57 I think there are some questions about when this was accomplished.
Adam Schiff: 00:16:03 Well, you would consider a billion dollar deal to build a tower in Moscow to be business dealings, wouldn’t you, Director Mueller?
Robert Mueller: 00:16:10 Absolutely.
Adam Schiff: 00:16:12 In short, your investigation found evidence that Russia wanted to help Trump win the election. Right?
Robert Mueller: 00:16:17 I think generally that would be accurate.
Adam Schiff: 00:16:20 Russia informed campaign officials of that?
Robert Mueller: 00:16:24 I’m not certain to what conversations you’re referring to.
Adam Schiff: 00:16:28 Well, through an intermediary they informed Papadopoulos that they could help with the anonymous release of stolen emails.
Robert Mueller: 00:16:33 Accurate.
Adam Schiff: 00:16:35 Russia committed federal crimes in order to help Donald Trump.
Robert Mueller: 00:16:38 When you’re talking about the computer crimes and the charge in our case, absolutely.
Adam Schiff: 00:16:45 The Trump campaign officials built their strategy, their messaging strategy, around those stolen documents.
Robert Mueller: 00:16:53 Generally, that’s true.
Adam Schiff: 00:16:55 And then they lied to cover it up.
Robert Mueller: 00:16:57 Generally, that’s true.
Adam Schiff: 00:17:00 Thank you.
Adam Schiff: 00:17:02 Mr. Nunes?
Devin Nunes: 00:17:04 Thank you. Welcome, Director.
Devin Nunes: 00:17:07 As a former FBI director, you’d agree that the FBI is the world’s most capable law enforcement agency.
Robert Mueller: 00:17:14 I would say we were, yes.
Devin Nunes: 00:17:16 The FBI claims the counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign began on July 31st, 2016, but in fact it began before that. In June 2016, before the investigation officially opened, Trump campaign associates Carter Page and Stephen Miller, a current Trump advisor, were invited to attend a symposium at Cambridge University in July 2016. Your office, however, did not investigate who was responsible for inviting these Trump associates to this symposium.
Devin Nunes: 00:17:48 Your investigators also failed to interview Steven Schrage, an American citizen who helped organize the event and invited Carter Page to it. Is that correct?
Robert Mueller: 00:17:59 Can you repeat the question?
Devin Nunes: 00:18:01 Whether or not you interviewed Steven Schrage, who organized the Cambridge event.
Robert Mueller: 00:18:06 Okay. In those areas I am going to stay away from.
Devin Nunes: 00:18:10 Okay. The first Trump associate to be investigated was General Flynn. Many of the allegations against him stem from false media reports that he had an affair with a Cambridge academic, Svetlana Lokhova, and that Lokhova was a Russian spy. Some of these allegations were made public in a 2017 article written by British intelligence historian Christopher Andrew.
Devin Nunes: 00:18:35 Your report fails to reveal how or why Andrew and his collaborator, Richard Dearlove, former head of Britain’s MI6, spread these allegations. And you failed to interview Svetlana Lokhova about these matters. Is that correct?
Robert Mueller: 00:18:51 I’m not going to get into those matters to which you refer.
Devin Nunes: 00:18:58 You had a team of 19 lawyers, 40 agents, and an unlimited budget. Correct, Mr. Mueller?
Robert Mueller: 00:19:04 I would not say we had an unlimited budget.
Devin Nunes: 00:19:09 Let’s continue with the ongoing or the opening of the investigation, supposedly on July 31st, 2016. The investigation was not open based on an official product from Five Eyes intelligence, but based on a rumor conveyed by Alexander Downer.
Devin Nunes: 00:19:24 On volume one, page 89, your report describes him blandly as a representative of a foreign government. But he was actually a long time Australian politician, not a military or intelligence official, who had previously arranged a $25 million donation to the Clinton Foundation and has previous ties to Dearlove.
Devin Nunes: 00:19:46 So Downer conveys a rumor that he supposedly heard about a conversation between Papadopoulos and Joseph Mifsud. James Comey has publicly called Mifsud a Russian agent. Yet your report does not refer to Mifsud as a Russian agent.
Devin Nunes: 00:20:02 Mifsud has extensive contacts with Western governments and the FBI. For example, there is a recent photo of him standing next to Boris Johnson, the new Prime Minister of Great Britain.
Devin Nunes: 00:20:14 What we’re trying to figure out here, Mr. Mueller, is if our NATO allies or Boris Johnson have been compromised. So we’re trying to figure out, Comey says Mifsud is a Russian agent, you do not. So, do you stand by what’s in the report?
Robert Mueller: 00:20:30 I’d stand by that which is in the report and not so necessarily with that which is not in the report.
Devin Nunes: 00:20:39 I want to return to Mr. Downer. He denies that Papadopoulos mentioned anything to him about Hillary Clinton’s emails. And in fact Mifsud denies mentioning that that to Papadopoulos. He denies that Papadopoulos mentioned anything to him about Hillary Clinton’s emails. And in fact Mifsud denies mentioning to them to Papadopoulos in the first place. So how does the FBI know to continuingly ask Papadopoulos about Clinton’s emails for the rest of 2016? Even more strangely, your sentencing memo on Papadopoulos blames him for hindering the FBI’s ability to potentially detain or arrest Mifsud. But the truth is Mifsud waltzed in and out of the United States in December 2016. The U.S. media could find him, the Italian press found him, and he’s a supposed Russian agent at the epicenter of the purported collusion conspiracy. He’s the guy who knows about Hillary Clinton’s emails and that the Russians have them.
Devin Nunes: 00:21:39 But the FBI failed to question him for a half a year after officially opening the investigation. And then according to volume one, page 193 of your report, once Mifsud finally was questioned, he made false statements to the FBI. But you declined to charge him. Is that correct? You did not indict Mr Mifsud?
Robert Mueller: 00:22:05 I’m not going to speak to the series of happenings as you articulated them.
Devin Nunes: 00:22:09 But you did not indict Mr. Mifsud.
Adam Schiff: 00:22:11 The time for the gentleman has expired.
Robert Mueller: 00:22:13 Pardon?
Devin Nunes: 00:22:14 You did not indict Mr. Mifsud.
Robert Mueller: 00:22:15 True.
Adam Schiff: 00:22:17 Mr. Himes?
Jim Himes: 00:22:19 Director Mueller, thank you for your lifetime of service to this country and thank you for your perseverance and patience today.
Jim Himes: 00:22:25 Director, your report opens with two statements of remarkable clarity and power. The first statement is one that is, as of today, not acknowledged by the President of the United States. And that is, quote, “the Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion.”
Jim Himes: 00:22:46 The second statement remains controversial amongst members of this body. Same page on your report, and I quote, “the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome.” Do I have that statement right?
Robert Mueller: 00:23:02 I believe so.
Jim Himes: 00:23:04 Director Mueller, this attack on our democracy involved, as you said, two operations. First, a social media disinformation campaign. This was a targeted campaign to spread false information on places like Twitter and Facebook. Is that correct?
Robert Mueller: 00:23:18 That’s correct.
Jim Himes: 00:23:19 Facebook estimated, as per your report, that the Russian fake images reached 126,000,000 people. Is that correct?
Robert Mueller: 00:23:26 I believe that’s the sum that we recorded.
Jim Himes: 00:23:28 Director, who did the Russian social media campaign ultimately intend to benefit; Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump?
Robert Mueller: 00:23:37 Donald Trump.
Jim Himes: 00:23:39 The second operation, Director-
Robert Mueller: 00:23:41 Let me just say Donald Trump, but there were instances where Hillary Clinton was subject to much of the same behavior.
Jim Himes: 00:23:47 The second operation in the Russian attack was a scheme, what we call the hack and dump, to steal and release hundreds of thousands of emails from the Democratic Party and the Clinton campaigns. Is that a fair summary?
Robert Mueller: 00:23:57 That is.
Jim Himes: 00:23:59 Did your investigation find that the releases of the hacked emails were strategically timed to maximize impact on the election?
Robert Mueller: 00:24:08 I’d have to refer you to our report on that question.
Jim Himes: 00:24:12 Page 36, I quote, “The release of the documents was designed in time to interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election.”
Jim Himes: 00:24:19 Mr. Mueller, which presidential candidate was Russia’s hacking and dumping operation designed to benefit; Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump?
Robert Mueller: 00:24:28 Mr. Trump.
Jim Himes: 00:24:28 Mr. Mueller, is it possible that this sweeping and systematic effort by Russia actually had an effect on the outcome of the presidential election?
Robert Mueller: 00:24:38 Those issues are being or have been investigated by other entities.
Jim Himes: 00:24:43 With 126,000,000 Facebook impressions, fake rallies, attacks on Hillary Clinton’s health. Would you rule out that it might’ve had some effect on the election?
Robert Mueller: 00:24:52 I’m not going to speculate.
Jim Himes: 00:24:54 Mr. Mueller, your report describes a third avenue of attempted Russian interference. That is the numerous links and contacts between the Trump campaign and individuals tied to the Russian government. Is that correct?
Robert Mueller: 00:25:04 Could you repeat that question?
Jim Himes: 00:25:07 Your report describes what is called a third avenue of Russian interference, and that’s the links and contacts between the Trump campaign and individuals tied to the Russian government.
Robert Mueller: 00:25:16 Yes.
Jim Himes: 00:25:18 Let’s bring up slide one, which is a about George Papadopoulos. And it reads, “On May 6, 2016, ten days after that meeting with Mifsud,” much discussed today, “Papadopoulos suggested to a representative of a foreign government that the Trump campaign had received indications from the Russian government that it could assist the campaign through the anonymous release of information that would be damaging to Hillary Clinton.”
Jim Himes: 00:25:47 And, Director, that’s exactly what happened two months later. Is it not?
Robert Mueller: 00:25:52 Well, I can speak to the excerpt that you have on the screen as being accurate from the report, but not the second half of your question.
Jim Himes: 00:25:58 Well, the second half, just to refer to page six of the report, is that on July 22nd, through Wikileaks, thousands of these emails that were stolen by the Russian government appeared. Correct? That’s on page six of the report.
Robert Mueller: 00:26:10 Do we have that?
Jim Himes: 00:26:15 This is the Wikileaks posting of those emails.
Robert Mueller: 00:26:19 Right. I can’t find it quickly, but please continue.
Jim Himes: 00:26:23 Okay. So just to be clear, before the public or the FBI ever knew the Russians previewed for a Trump campaign official, George Papadopoulos, that they had stolen emails that they could release anonymously to help Donald Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton. Is that correct?
Robert Mueller: 00:26:38 I am not going to speak to to that.
Jim Himes: 00:26:44 Director, rather than report this contact with Joseph Mifsud and the notion that there was dirt that the campaign could use, rather than report that to the FBI, that I think most of my constituents would expect an individual to do, Papadopoulos in fact lied about his Russian context to you. Is that not correct?
Robert Mueller: 00:27:02 That’s true.
Jim Himes: 00:27:06 We have an election coming up in 2020, Director. If a campaign receives an offer of dirt from a foreign individual or a government, generally speaking, should that campaign report those contacts?
Robert Mueller: 00:27:17 It should be, and can be, depending on their circumstances or crime.
Jim Himes: 00:27:22 I will yield back the balance of my time.
Adam Schiff: 00:27:28 Mr. Conaway?
Mike Conaway: 00:27:29 Thank you. Mr. Mueller, did anyone ask you to exclude anything from your report that you felt should have been in the report?
Robert Mueller: 00:27:38 I don’t think so, but it’s not a small report.
Mike Conaway: 00:27:44 No one asked you specifically to exclude something that you believe should have been in there?
Robert Mueller: 00:27:47 Not that I can recall. No.
Mike Conaway: 00:27:49 I yield balance my time. Director, thank you.
Speaker 2: 00:27:52 Thank you, gentlemen, for yielding. Good afternoon, Director Mueller.
Speaker 2: 00:27:57 In your May 29th press conference, and again in your opening remarks this morning, you made it pretty clear you wanted the Special Counsel report to speak for itself. You said at your press conference that that was the office’s final position and we will not comment on any other conclusions or hypotheticals about the President.
Speaker 2: 00:28:15 Now, you spent the last few hours of your life from Democrats trying to get you to answer all kinds of hypotheticals about the President, and I expect that it may continue for the next few hours of your life. I think you’ve stayed pretty much true to what your intent and desire was. But I guess regardless of that, the Special Counsel’s Office is closed and it has no continuing jurisdiction or authority. So what would be your authority or jurisdiction for adding new conclusions or determinations to the Special Counsel’s written report?
Robert Mueller: 00:28:48 As the latter, I don’t know or expect changes in conclusions that we included in our report.
Speaker 2: 00:28:58 To that point, you addressed one of the issues that that I needed to, which was from your testimony this morning, which some construed as a change to the written report. You talked about the exchange that you had with Congressman Lieu. I wrote it down a little bit different. I want to ask you about it so that the records perfectly clear.
Speaker 2: 00:29:15 I recorded that he asked you, quote, “the reason you did not indict Donald Trump is because of the OLC opinion stating you cannot indict a sitting President.” To which you responded, “That is correct.”
Speaker 2: 00:29:29 That response is inconsistent, I think you’ll agree, with your written report. I want to be clear that it is not your intent to change your written report, it is your intent to clarify the record today.
Robert Mueller: 00:29:41 As I started today, this afternoon, and added either a footnote or an end note, what I wanted to clarify is the fact that we did not make any determination with regard to culpability in any way, we did not start that process down down the road.
Speaker 2: 00:29:59 Terrific. Thank you for clarifying the record.
Speaker 2: 00:30:02 A stated purpose of your appointment as Special Counsel was to ensure a full and thorough investigation of the Russian government efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. As part of that full and thorough investigation, what determination did the Special Counsel Office make about whether the Steele dossier was part of the Russian government efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election?
Robert Mueller: 00:30:25 Again, when it comes to Mr Steele, I defer to the Department of Justice.
Speaker 2: 00:30:30 Well, first of all, Director, I very much agree with your determination that Russia’s efforts were sweeping and systematic. I think it should concern every American. That’s why I want to know just how sweeping and systematic those efforts were. I want to find out if Russia interfered with our election by providing false information through sources to Christopher Steele about a Trump conspiracy that you determined didn’t exist.
Robert Mueller: 00:30:58 Well, again, I’m not going to discuss the issues with regard to Mr. Steele and the-
PART 1 OF 5 ENDS [00:31:04]
Robert Mueller: 00:31:03 The issue with regard to Mr. Steele and in terms of a portrayal of the conspiracies, we returned two indictments in the computer crimes arena, one GRU and another active measures in which we lay out in excruciating detail what occurred in those two rather large conspiracies.
Speaker 3: 00:31:26 I agree with respect to that, but why this is important is an application and three renewal applications were submitted by the United States government to spy or surveil on Trump campaign Carter associate or Carter Page, and on all four occasions the United States government submitted the Steele dossier as a central piece of evidence with respect to that. Now, the basic premise of the dossier, as you know, was that there was a well-developed conspiracy of cooperation between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, but the special counsel investigation didn’t establish any conspiracy. Correct?
Robert Mueller: 00:32:00 Well, what I can tell you is that the events that you are characterizing here now is part of another matter that is being handled by the Department of Justice.
Speaker 3: 00:32:09 But you did not establish any conspiracy, much less a well-developed one.
Robert Mueller: 00:32:14 Again, I pass on answering that question.
Speaker 3: 00:32:17 The special counsel did not charge Carter Page with anything, correct?
Robert Mueller: 00:32:21 Special counsel did not.
Speaker 3: 00:32:22 All right. My time has expired. I yield back.
Speaker 4: 00:32:27 Ms. Sewell.
Ms. Sewell: 00:32:28 Director Mueller, I’d like to turn your attention to the June 9th, 2016 Trump tower meeting. Slide two, which should be on the screen now, is part of an email chain between Donald Trump, Jr. and a publicist representing the son of a Russian oligarch. The email exchange ultimately led to the now infamous June 9th, 2016 meeting. The email from the publicist to Donald Trump, Jr. reads, in part, “The crown prosecutor of Russia offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and is a part of Russia and its government’s support of Mr. Trump.” In this email, Donald Trump, Jr. is being told that the Russian government wants to pass along information which would hurt Hillary Clinton and help Donald Trump. Is that correct?
Robert Mueller: 00:33:22 That’s correct.
Ms. Sewell: 00:33:24 Now, Trump, Jr.’s response to that email is slide three.
Ms. Sewell: 00:33:29 He said, and I quote, ” If it is what you say, I love it, especially later in the summer.” Then Donald, Jr. invited senior campaign officials, Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner to the meeting. Did he not?
Robert Mueller: 00:33:42 He did
Ms. Sewell: 00:33:44 This email exchange is evidence of an offer of illegal assistance? Is it not?
Robert Mueller: 00:33:49 I cannot adopt that characterization.
Ms. Sewell: 00:33:51 Well, isn’t it against the law for a presidential campaign to accept anything of value from a foreign government?
Robert Mueller: 00:33:57 Generally speaking, yes. But there … Generally, the cases are unique.
Ms. Sewell: 00:34:04 Well, you say in page 184 in volume one that the federal campaign finance law broadly prohibits foreign nationals from making contributions, et cetera. And then you say that foreign nationals may not make a contribution or donation of money or anything of value. It says clearly in the report itself.
Robert Mueller: 00:34:23 Yep. Thank you.
Ms. Sewell: 00:34:24 Now let’s turn to what actually happened at the meeting when Donald Trump, Jr. and the others got to the June 9th meeting, they realize that the Russian delegation didn’t have the promised quote, unquote dirt. In fact, they got upset about that. Did they not?
Robert Mueller: 00:34:40 Generally, yes.
Ms. Sewell: 00:34:42 You say in volume one, page 118 that Trump, Jr. asked, “What are we doing here? What do they have on Clinton?” And during the meeting Kushner actually texted Manafort saying it was, “a waste of time.” Is that correct?
Robert Mueller: 00:34:58 I believe it’s in the report along the lines you specify.
Ms. Sewell: 00:35:02 So to be clear, top Trump campaign officials learned that Russia wanted to help Donald Trump’s campaign by giving him dirt on his opponent. Trump, Jr. said, “Loved it.” Then he and senior officials held a meeting with the Russians to try to get that Russian help. But they were disappointed because the dirt wasn’t as good as they had hoped. So to the next step, did anyone, to your knowledge, in the Trump campaign ever tell the FBI of this offer?
Robert Mueller: 00:35:28 I don’t believe so.
Ms. Sewell: 00:35:31 Did Donald Trump, Jr. tell the FBI that they received an offer of help from the Russians?
Robert Mueller: 00:35:39 That’s about all I’ll say on this aspect of it.
Ms. Sewell: 00:35:42 Wouldn’t it be true, sir, that if they had reported it to the FBI or anyone in that campaign during the course of your two year investigation, you would have uncovered such a-
Robert Mueller: 00:35:50 I would hope, yes.
Ms. Sewell: 00:35:51 Yes. Sir, is it not the responsibility of political campaigns to inform the FBI if they receive information from a foreign government?
Robert Mueller: 00:36:01 I would think that that’s something they would and should do.
Ms. Sewell: 00:36:04 Well, not only did the campaign not tell the FBI, they sought to hide the existence of the June 9th meeting for over a year, is that not correct?
Robert Mueller: 00:36:14 On the general characterization, I would question it. If you’re referring to later initiative that flowed from the media then-
Ms. Sewell: 00:36:26 No. What I’m suggesting is that you’ve said in volume two, page five, on several occasions, the president directed aides not to publicly disclose the email setting up the June 9th meeting.
Robert Mueller: 00:36:37 Yes. That’s accurate.
Ms. Sewell: 00:36:38 Thanks. Sir, given this illegal assistance by Russians, you chose … even given that, you did not charge Donald Trump, Jr. or any of the other senior officials with conspiracy, is that right?
Robert Mueller: 00:36:52 Correct.
Ms. Sewell: 00:36:52 And while it-
Robert Mueller: 00:36:54 If you’re talking about other individuals, you’re talking the attendees.
Ms. Sewell: 00:36:58 Yes. That’s right.
Robert Mueller: 00:36:58 On June 9 and that’s accurate.
Ms. Sewell: 00:37:00 So Mr. Mueller, even though you didn’t charge them with conspiracy, don’t you think that the American people would be concerned that these three senior campaign officials eagerly sought a foreign adversary’s help to win elections? And don’t you think that reporting that is important that we don’t set a precedent for future elections?
Robert Mueller: 00:37:17 I can’t accept that kind of characterization.
Ms. Sewell: 00:37:20 Well, listen, I think that it seems like a betrayal of American values to me, sir, that someone with … if not being criminal, is definitely unethical and wrong. And I would think that we would not want to set a precedent that political campaigns should not divulge information if it’s foreign governments. The assistance.
Ms. Sewell: 00:37:38 Thank you, sir.
Speaker 4: 00:37:39 Mr. Turner.
Mr. Turner: 00:37:41 Mr. Mueller, I have your opening statement and in the beginning of your opening statement, you indicate that pursuant to justice department regulations that you submitted a confidential report to the Attorney General at the conclusion of the investigation. What I’d like you to confirm is, the report that you did that is the subject matter of this hearing, was to the Attorney General?
Robert Mueller: 00:38:03 Yes.
Mr. Turner: 00:38:05 You also state in this opening statement that you threw overboard the word collusion because it’s not a legal term. You would not conclude because collusion was not a legal term.
Robert Mueller: 00:38:15 Well, it depends on how you want to use the word. In the general parlance, people can think of it that way, but if you’re talking about in a criminal statute arena, you can’t because it really … it’s much more accurately described as conspiracy.
Mr. Turner: 00:38:35 Right. So in your words, it’s not a legal term, so you didn’t put it in your conclusion. Correct? That’s what you’re opening statement-
Robert Mueller: 00:38:39 That’s right.
Mr. Turner: 00:38:41 Mr. Mueller, I want to talk about your powers and authorities. Now, the Attorney General and the appointment order gave you powers and authorities that reside in the Attorney General. Now, the Attorney General has no ability to give you powers and authority greater than the powers and authority of the Attorney General, correct?
Robert Mueller: 00:38:57 No, I don’t believe … Yeah. I think that is correct.
Mr. Turner: 00:39:00 Mr. Mueller, I want to focus on one word in your report. It’s the second to the last word in the report. It’s exonerate. The report states accordingly, “While this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it does not exonerate him.” Now in the judiciary hearing in your prior testimony, you’ve already agreed with Mr. Radcliffe that exonerate is not a legal term, that there is not a legal test for this. So I have a question for you Mr. Mueller. Mr. Mueller, does the Attorney General have the power or authority to exonerate?
Mr. Turner: 00:39:32 What I’m putting up here is the United States code. This is where the Attorney General gets his power and the Constitution and the annotated cases of these, which we’ve searched. We even went to your law school because I went to Case Western but I thought maybe your law school teaches it differently. And we got the Criminal Law textbook from your law school. Mr. Mueller, nowhere in these … because we had them scanned … is there a process or description on exonerate. There’s no office of exoneration at the Attorney General’s office. There is no certificate at the bottom of his desk. Mr. Mueller, would you agree with me that the Attorney General does not have the power to exonerate?
Robert Mueller: 00:40:07 I’m going to pass on that.
Mr. Turner: 00:40:11 Why?
Robert Mueller: 00:40:12 Because it embroils us in a legal discussion and I’m not prepared to do a legal discussion in that arena.
Mr. Turner: 00:40:18 Well, Mr. Mueller, you would not disagree with me when I say that there is no place that the Attorney General has the power to exonerate and he’s not been given that authority. You would not disagree.
Robert Mueller: 00:40:27 Yeah. I take your question.
Mr. Turner: 00:40:30 Great. Well, the one thing that I guess is that the Attorney General probably knows that he can’t exonerate, either. And that’s the part that kind of confuses me because if the Attorney General doesn’t have the power to exonerate, then you don’t have the power to exonerate. And I believe he knows he doesn’t have the power to exonerate. And so this is the part that I don’t understand. If your report is to the Attorney General and the Attorney General doesn’t have the power to exonerate and he knows that you do not have that power, you don’t have to tell him that you’re not exonerating the president. He knows this already. So then that kind of changed the context of the report.
Robert Mueller: 00:41:07 No. We included it in the report for exactly that reason. He may not know it and he should know it.
Mr. Turner: 00:41:11 So you believe that the Attorney Bill Barr believes that somewhere in the hallways of the Department of Justice there’s an office of exoneration?
Robert Mueller: 00:41:21 No, that’s not what I said.
Mr. Turner: 00:41:21 Well, I believe he knows and I don’t believe you put that in there for Mr. Barr. I think you put that in there for exactly what I’m going to discuss next and that is … So the Washington Post yesterday, when speaking of your report, the article said, “Trump could not be exonerated of trying to obstruct the investigation itself.” Trump could not be exonerated. Now that statement is correct, Mr. Mueller, isn’t it in that no one can be exonerated. The reporter wrote this … this reporter can’t be exonerated. Mr. Mueller, you can’t be exonerated. In fact, in our criminal justice system, there is no power or authority to exonerate.
Mr. Turner: 00:41:56 Now, this is my concern, Mr. Mueller. This is the headline on all of the news channels while you were testifying today: Mueller, Trump was not exonerated. Now Mr. Mueller, what you know is that this can’t say Mueller exonerated Trump because you don’t have the power or authority to exonerate Trump. You have no more power to declare him exonerated than you have the power to declare him Anderson Cooper. So the problem that I have here is that since there’s no one in the criminal justice system that has a power, the president pardons, he doesn’t exonerate; courts and juries don’t declare innocent, they declared not guilty. They don’t even declare exoneration. The statement about exoneration is misleading and it’s meaningless and it colors this investigation. One word out of the entire portion of your report, and it’s a meaningless word that has no legal meaning and it has colored your entire [crosstalk 00:00:42:46].
Speaker 5: 00:42:46 The gentleman has expired.
Speaker 4: 00:42:50 Mr. Carson.
Mr. Carson: 00:42:51 Thank you, Chairman. Thank you, Director Mueller, for your years of service to our country. I want to look more closely, sir, at the Trump campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, an individual who I believe betrayed our country, who lied to a grand jury, who tampered with witnesses and who repeatedly tried to use his position with the Trump campaign to make more money. Let’s focus on the betrayal and greed. Your investigation, sir, found a number of troubling contacts between Mr Manafort and Russian individuals during and after the campaign. Is that right, sir?
Robert Mueller: 00:43:25 Correct.
Mr. Carson: 00:43:27 In addition to the June 9th meeting just discussed, Manafort also met several times with a man named Konstantin Kilimnik who the FBI assessed to have ties with Russian intel agencies. Is that right, sir?
Robert Mueller: 00:43:38 Correct.
Mr. Carson: 00:43:39 In fact, Mr. Manafort didn’t just meet with him. He shared private Trump campaign polling information with this man linked to Russian intelligence. Is that right, sir?
Robert Mueller: 00:43:49 That is correct.
Mr. Carson: 00:43:50 And in turn, the information was shared with a Russian oligarch tied to Vladimir Putin. Is that right, sir?
Robert Mueller: 00:43:57 Allegedly.
Mr. Carson: 00:43:59 Director Mueller, meeting with him wasn’t enough. Sharing internal polling information wasn’t enough. Mr. Manafort went so far as to offer this Russian oligarch tied to Putin a private briefing on the campaign. Is that right, sir?
Robert Mueller: 00:44:14 Yes, sir.
Mr. Carson: 00:44:15 And finally, Mr. Manafort also discussed internal campaign strategy on four battleground states, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Minnesota with the Russian intelligence linked individual. Did he not, sir?
Robert Mueller: 00:44:29 And that’s reflected in the report as were the items you listed previously.
Mr. Carson: 00:44:34 Director Mueller, based on your decades of years of experience at the FBI, would you agree, sir, that it creates a national security risk when a presidential campaign chairman shares private polling information on the American people, private political strategy unrelated to winning the votes of the American people and private information about American battleground states with a foreign adversary?
Robert Mueller: 00:44:58 Is that the question, sir?
Mr. Carson: 00:44:59 Yes sir.
Robert Mueller: 00:44:59 I’m not going to speculate along those lines. To the extent that it’s within the lines of the report, then I support it. Anything beyond that is not part of that which I which would support.
Mr. Carson: 00:45:14 Well, I think it does, sir. I think it shows an infuriating lack of patriotism from the very people seeking the highest office in the land. Director Mueller, Manafort didn’t share this information in exchange for nothing. Did he, sir?
Robert Mueller: 00:45:29 I can’t answer that question without knowing more about the question.
Mr. Carson: 00:45:34 Well, it’s clear that he hoped to be paid back money he was owed by Russian or Ukrainian oligarchs in return for the passage of private campaign information.
Robert Mueller: 00:45:43 That is true.
Mr. Carson: 00:45:45 Director Mueller, as my colleague, Mr. [Heck 00:00:45:47], will discuss later, greed corrupts. Would you agree, sir, that the sharing of private campaign information in exchange for money represents a particular kind of corruption, one that presents a national security risk for our country, sir?
Robert Mueller: 00:46:01 I’m not going to opine on that. I don’t have the expertise in that arena to really opine.
Mr. Carson: 00:46:07 Would you agree, sir, that Manafort’s contacts with Russians close to Vladimir Putin and his efforts to exchange private information on Americans for money left him vulnerable to blackmail by the Russians?
Robert Mueller: 00:46:19 I think generally so, that would be the case.
Mr. Carson: 00:46:23 Would you agree, sir, these acts demonstrated a betrayal of the democratic values of our country rests on?
Robert Mueller: 00:46:30 I can’t agree with that.
Mr. Carson: 00:46:33 Director Mueller-
Robert Mueller: 00:46:33 Not that it’s not true, but I cannot agree with it.
Mr. Carson: 00:46:36 Yes, sir. Director Mueller, well, I can tell you that in my years of experience as a law enforcement officer and as a member of Congress, fortunate to serve on the Intel Committee, I know enough to say yes. Trading political secrets for money with a foreign adversary can corrupt and it can leave you open to blackmail and it certainly represents a betrayal of the values underpinning our democracy. I want to thank you for your service again, Director Muller. We appreciate you for coming today. I yield back to Chairman.
Speaker 4: 00:47:07 Dr. Wenstrup.
Dr. Wenstrup: 00:47:09 Thank you, Mr Chairman. Thank you, Mr. Mueller for being here today. Mr. Mueller, is it accurate to say your investigation found no evidence that members of the Trump campaign were involved in the theft or publication of the Clinton campaign related emails?
Robert Mueller: 00:47:26 Can you repeat the question?
Dr. Wenstrup: 00:47:28 Is it accurate to say your investigation found no evidence that members of the Trump campaign were involved in the theft or publication of the Clinton campaign related emails?
Robert Mueller: 00:47:38 I don’t know. I don’t know what they … well.
Dr. Wenstrup: 00:47:43 Well, volume one, page five, the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities. So it would therefore be inaccurate, based on this, to describe that finding as open to doubt, that finding being that the Trump campaign was involved with theft or publication of the Clinton campaign emails.
Dr. Wenstrup: 00:48:11 You’re following that, sir?
Robert Mueller: 00:48:12 I do believe I’m following it, but it is that portion or that matter does not fall within our jurisdiction. All right. Or fall within our investigation.
Dr. Wenstrup: 00:48:23 Well, based on what your report says, volume one, page five, I just want to be clear that open to doubt is how the committee Democrats described this finding in their minority views of our 2018 report. And it kind of flies in the face of what you have in your report. So is it accurate also to say the investigation found no documentary evidence that George Papadopoulos told anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign about Joseph Mifsud’s claims that the Russians had dirt on candidate Clinton?
Robert Mueller: 00:48:57 Well, let me turn that over to Mr. Zebley, if I could.
Dr. Wenstrup: 00:49:00 I’d like to ask you, sir. This is your report and that’s what I’m basing this on.
Robert Mueller: 00:49:05 And then could you repeat the question for me, again?
Dr. Wenstrup: 00:49:07 Yeah. Is it accurate to say the investigation found no documentary evidence that George Papadopoulos told anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign about Joseph Mifsud’s claims that the Russians had dirt on candidate Clinton?
Robert Mueller: 00:49:23 I believe, it appearing in the report, it is accurate.
Dr. Wenstrup: 00:49:26 Okay. So in the report it says no documentary evidence that Papadopoulos shared this information with the campaign. It’s therefore inaccurate to conclude that by the time of the June 9, 2016 Trump tower meeting, “The campaign was likely already on notice, via George Papadopoulos’ contact with Russian agents, that Russia in fact had damaging information on Trump’s opponent.” Would you say that that is inaccurate to say that it’s likely already-
Robert Mueller: 00:49:58 I direct you to the report.
Dr. Wenstrup: 00:50:00 Well. I appreciate that because the Democrats jumped to this incorrect collusion in their minority views, again which contradicts what you have in your report. Concerned about a number of statements I’d like you to clarify because a number of Democrats have made some statements that I have concerns with and maybe you can clear them up. So a member of this committee said President Trump was a Russian agent after your report was publicly released. That statement is not supported by your report, correct?
Robert Mueller: 00:50:30 That is accurate. It’s not supported.
Dr. Wenstrup: 00:50:32 Multiple Democrat members have asserted that Paul Manafort met with Julian Assange in 2016 before Wikileaks released DNC emails implying Manafort colluded with Assange. Because your report does not mention finding evidence that Manafort met with Assange, I would assume that means you found no evidence of this meeting. Is that assumption correct?
Robert Mueller: 00:50:52 I’m not certain I agree with that assumption.
Dr. Wenstrup: 00:50:55 But you make no mention of it in your report. Would you agree with that?
Robert Mueller: 00:51:02 Yes, I would agree with that.
Dr. Wenstrup: 00:51:03 Okay. Mr Mueller, does your report contain any evidence that President Trump was enrolled in the Russian system of kompromat as a member of this committee once claimed?
Robert Mueller: 00:51:14 What I can speak to is information and evidence that we picked up as the special counsel. And I think that’s accurate as far as it goes.
Dr. Wenstrup: 00:51:22 Thank you. I appreciate that. So let’s go for a second to scope. Did you ask the Department of Justice to expand the scope of the special counsel’s mandate related to August 2nd, 2017 or August 20th, 2017 scoping memoranda?
Robert Mueller: 00:51:41 Without looking at the memorandum, I could not answer that question.
Dr. Wenstrup: 00:51:43 Well, let me ask you, did you ever make a request to expand your office’s mandate at all?
Robert Mueller: 00:51:49 Generally, yes.
Dr. Wenstrup: 00:51:51 And was that ever denied?
Robert Mueller: 00:51:54 I’m not going to speak to that. It goes to internal deliberations.
Dr. Wenstrup: 00:51:59 Well, I’m just trying to understand process. Does expanding the scope come from the acting Attorney General or Rosenstein or does it come from you or can it come from either?
Robert Mueller: 00:52:10 Yeah, I’m not going to discuss any other alternatives.
Dr. Wenstrup: 00:52:14 Thank you. Mr Mueller.
Speaker 4: 00:52:17 Ms. Speier.
Ms. Speier: 00:52:18 Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Mueller, I think I can say without fear of contradiction that you are the greatest patriot in this room today and I want to thank you for being here.
Robert Mueller: 00:52:30 Thank you.
Ms. Speier: 00:52:32 You said in your report … and I’m going to quibble with your words … that the Russian intervention was sweeping and systematic. I would quibble with that because I don’t think it was just an intervention. I think it was an invasion. And I don’t think it was just sweeping and systematic. I think it was sinister and scheming. And having said that, one of my colleagues earlier here referred to this Russian intervention as a hoax and I’d like to get your comment on that. On page 26 of your report, you talk about the Internet Research Agency and how tens of millions of US persons became engaged with the posts that they made, that there were some 80,000 posts on Facebook, that Facebook itself admitted that 126 million people had probably seen the posts that were put up by the Internet Research Agency, that they had 3,800 Twitter accounts and had designed more than 175,000 tweets that probably reached 1.4 million people.
Ms. Speier: 00:53:44 The Internet Research Agency was spending about $1.25 million a month on all of this social media in the United States in what I would call an invasion in our country. Would you agree that it was not a hoax that the Russians were engaged in trying to impact our election?
Robert Mueller: 00:54:09 Absolutely. That was not a hoax. The indictments we returned against the Russians, two different ones, were substantial in their scope, using the scope word again. I think one of the … We have underplayed, to a certain extent, that aspect of our investigation that has and would have longterm damage to the United States that we need to move quickly to address.
Ms. Speier: 00:54:36 Thank you for that. I’d like to drill down on that a little bit more. The Internet Research Agency actually started in 2014 by sending over staff as tourists, I guess, to start looking at where they wanted to engage. And there are many that suggest … and I’m interested in your opinion as to whether or not Russia is presently in the United States looking for ways to impact the 2020 election.
Robert Mueller: 00:55:05 I can’t speak to that. That would be in levels of classification.
Ms. Speier: 00:55:11 All right. Let me ask you this. Often times when we engage in these hearings, we forget the forest for the trees. You have a very large report here of over 400 pages. Most Americans have not read it. We have read it. Actually the FBI director yesterday said he hadn’t read it, which was a little discouraging, but on behalf of the American people, I want to give you a minute and 39 seconds to tell the American people what you would like them to glean from this report.
Robert Mueller: 00:55:49 We spent substantial time assuring the integrity of the report, understanding that it would be our living message to those who come after us. But it also is a signal, a flag to those of us who have some responsibility in this area to exercise those responsibilities swiftly and don’t let this problem continue to linger as it has over so many years.
Ms. Speier: 00:56:13 All right. You didn’t take the whole amount of time, so I’m going to yield the rest of my time to the Chairman.
Speaker 4: 00:56:19 I thank the gentleman for yielding. Dr. Mueller, I wanted to ask you about conspiracy. Generally a conspiracy requires an offer of something illegal, the acceptance of that offer and an overt act in furtherance of it. Is that correct?
Robert Mueller: 00:56:35 Correct.
Speaker 4: 00:56:38 And Don, Jr. was made aware that the Russians were offering dirt on his opponent, correct?
Robert Mueller: 00:56:43 I don’t know that for sure, but one would assume given presence at the meeting.
Speaker 4: 00:56:48 And when you say that you would love to get that help, that would constitute an acceptance of the offer.
Robert Mueller: 00:56:54 It’s a wide open request.
Speaker 4: 00:56:57 And it would certainly be evidence of an acceptance if you say … when somebody offers you something illegal, you say, “I would love it.” That would be considered evidence of an acceptance.
Robert Mueller: 00:57:06 I’m going to stay away from addressing one particular or two particular situations.
Speaker 4: 00:57:12 Well, this particular situation … I’ll have to continue in a bit. Now yield to Mr. Stewart.
Mr. Stewart: 00:57:23 Mr. Mueller, it’s been a long day. Thank you for being here. I do have a series of important questions for you, but before I do that, I want to take a moment to reemphasize something that my friend, Mr. Turner, has said. I’ve heard many people state no person is above the law and many times recently they add not even the President, which I think is blazingly obvious to most of us.
Robert Mueller: 00:57:43 I’m having a little problem hearing you, sir.
Mr. Stewart: 00:57:46 Is this better?
Robert Mueller: 00:57:47 That is better. Thank you.
Mr. Stewart: 00:57:49 I want you to know I agree with this statement that no person is above the law, but there’s another principle that we also have to defend and that is the presumption of innocence. And I’m sure you agree with this principle, though I think the way that your office phrased some parts of your report, it does make me wonder, I have to be honest with you. For going on three years, innocent people have been accused of very serious crimes including treason, accusations made even here today. They have had their lives disrupted and in some cases destroyed by false accusations for which there is absolutely no basis other than some people desperately wished that it was so. But your report is very clear. No evidence of conspiracy, no evidence of coordination. And I believe we owe it to these people who had been falsely accused, including the President and his family, to make that very clear.
Mr. Stewart: 00:58:40 Mr. Mueller, the credibility of your report is based on the integrity of how it is handled. And there’s something that I think bothers me and other Americans. I’m holding here in my hand a binder of 25 examples of leaks that occurred from the special counsel’s office from those who associated with your work dating back to as early as a few weeks after your inception into the beginning of your work and continuing up to just a few months ago. All of these, all of them have one thing in common. They were designed to weaken or to embarrass the President. Every single one. Never was it leaked that you’d found no evidence of collusion. Never was it leaked that the Steele dossier was a complete fantasy, nor that it was funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign. I could go on and on. Mr. Mueller, are you aware of anyone from your team having given advanced knowledge of the raid on Roger Stone’s home to any person or the press, including CNN?
Robert Mueller: 00:59:35 Well, I’m not going to talk about specifics. I will talk for a moment about persons who become involved in an investigation and the understanding that in a lengthy, thorough investigation, some persons will be under a cloud that should not be under a cloud. And one of the reasons for emphasizing as I have the speed of an election … or not election, the speed of an investigation is that so those persons who are disrupted as a result of that-
Mr. Stewart: 01:00:11 I appreciate that. But I do have a series of questions.
Robert Mueller: 01:00:14 With the result of that investigation.
Mr. Stewart: 01:00:16 Thank you. And you’re right, it is a cloud and it’s an unfair cloud for dozens of people. But to my point, are you aware of anyone providing information to the media regarding the raid on Roger Stone’s home, including CNN?
Robert Mueller: 01:00:28 I’m not gonna speak to that.
Mr. Stewart: 01:00:29 Okay Mr. Mueller, you sent a letter dated March 27th to Attorney General Barr in which you claim the Attorney General’s memo to Congress did not fully capture the context of your report. You stated earlier today that response not authorized. Did you make any effort to determine who leaked this confidential letter?
Robert Mueller: 01:00:47 No. And I’m not certain … This was the letter of March 27th?
Mr. Stewart: 01:00:50 Yes sir.
Robert Mueller: 01:00:52 I’m not certain when it was publicized. I do know it was publicized, but I do not believe we would be responsible for the leaks. I do believe that we have done a good job in assuring no leaks occur-
Mr. Stewart: 01:01:06 We have 25 examples here of where you did not do a good job. Not you, sir. I’m not accusing you at all, but where your office did not do a good job in protecting this information. One more example, do you know anyone who anonymously made claims to the press that Attorney General Barr’s March 24th letter to Congress had been misrepresented or misrepresented the basis of your report?
Robert Mueller: 01:01:28 What was the question?
Mr. Stewart: 01:01:30 Do you know who anonymously made claims to the press that Attorney General Barr’s March 24th letter to Congress had misrepresented the findings of your report?
Robert Mueller: 01:01:40 No.
Mr. Stewart: 01:01:41 Sir, given these examples as well as others, you must have realized that leaks were coming from someone associated with the special counsel’s office. But I’d like to ask you-
Robert Mueller: 01:01:51 I do not believe that.
Mr. Stewart: 01:01:54 Well, sir, this was your work. Your office is only one who had information regarding this. It had to come from your office.
Mr. Stewart: 01:02:03 Putting that aside.
PART 2 OF 5 ENDS [01:02:04]
Speaker 6: 01:02:03 … from your office. Putting that aside, which leads me to my final question. Did you do anything about it?
Robert Mueller: 01:02:09 From the outset we’ve undertaken to make certain that we minimize the possibility of leaks, and I think we were successful over the two years that we were in operation.
Speaker 6: 01:02:20 Well, I wish you’d been more successful, sir. I think it was disruptive to the American people. My time’s expired. I yield back.
Chairman: 01:02:28 Mr. Quigley.
Mr. Quigley: 01:02:29 Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Director, thank you for being here. This too shall pass. Earlier today and throughout the day, you have stated the policy that a seated president cannot be indicted, correct?
Robert Mueller: 01:02:42 Correct.
Mr. Quigley: 01:02:43 And upon questioning this morning, you were asked could a president be indicted after their service, correct?
Robert Mueller: 01:02:53 Yes.
Mr. Quigley: 01:02:53 And your answer was that they could.
Robert Mueller: 01:02:54 They could.
Chairman: 01:02:56 Director, please speak into the microphone.
Robert Mueller: 01:02:58 I’m sorry. Thank you. They could.
Mr. Quigley: 01:03:01 The follow up question that should be concerning is what if a president serves beyond the statute of limitations?
Robert Mueller: 01:03:10 I don’t know the answer that one.
Mr. Quigley: 01:03:12 Would it not indicate that if the statute of limitations on federal crime such as this were five years that a president who serves his second term is therefore under the policy above the law?
Robert Mueller: 01:03:26 I’m not sure I would agree with, I’m not sure if I would agree with the conclusion. I’m not certain that I can see a possibility that you suggest.
Mr. Quigley: 01:03:36 But the statute doesn’t toll. Is that correct?
Robert Mueller: 01:03:38 I don’t know specifically it.
Mr. Quigley: 01:03:41 It clearly doesn’t. I just want as the the American public is watching this and perhaps learning about many of these for the first time, we need to consider that and that the other alternatives are perhaps all that we have, but I appreciate your response. Earlier in questioning, someone mentioned that was a question involving whether anyone in the Trump political world publicized the emails, whether or not that was the case. I just want to refer to volume one, page 60 where we learned that Trump Jr publicly tweeted a link to the leak of stolen Podesta emails in October of 2016. You’re familiar with that?
Robert Mueller: 01:04:23 I am.
Mr. Quigley: 01:04:24 So that would at least be a republishing of this information. What would it not?
Robert Mueller: 01:04:29 I’m not certain I would agree. I’m not sure I would agree with that.
Mr. Quigley: 01:04:37 Director Pompeo assessed Wikileaks at one point as a hostile intelligence service. Given your law enforcement experience, in your knowledge of what Wikileaks did here and what they do generally, would you assess that to be accurate or something similar? How would you assess what Wikileaks does?
Robert Mueller: 01:04:58 Absolutely, and they are currently under indictment. As Julian Assange is.
Mr. Quigley: 01:05:04 Would it be fair to describe them as, you would agree with Director Pompeo, that’s what he was when he made that remark, that it’s a hostile intelligence service. Correct?
Robert Mueller: 01:05:14 Yes.
Mr. Quigley: 01:05:14 If we could put up slide six, this just came out. “Wikileaks. I love Wikileaks.: Donald Trump. October 10th, 2016. “This Wikileaks stuff is unbelievable. It tells you the inner heart. You gotta read it.” Donald Trump. October 12th, 2016. “This Wikileaks is like a treasure trove.” Donald Trump, October 31st, 2016. “Boy, I love reading those Wikileaks.” Donald Trump, November 4th, 2016. Would any of those quotes disturb you, Mr. Director?
Robert Mueller: 01:05:52 I’m not sure I would say-
Mr. Quigley: 01:05:54 How do you react to that?
Chairman: 01:05:56 Well, it’s problematic is an understatement in terms of what it displays in terms of giving some, I don’t know, hope or some boost to what is and should be illegal activity.
Mr. Quigley: 01:06:14 Volume one, page 59 Donald Trump Jr had direct electronic communications with Wikileaks during the campaign period. On October 3rd, 2016 Wikileaks sent another direct message to Trump Jr asking you guys to help disseminate a link alleging candidate Clinton had advocated a drone to attack Julian Assange. Trump Jr responded that quote “He had already done.” Same question. This behavior at the very least disturbing? Your reaction?
Robert Mueller: 01:06:45 It disturbed me. It’s also subject to investigation.
Mr. Quigley: 01:06:49 Could it be described as aid and comfort to a hostile intelligence service, sir?
Robert Mueller: 01:06:56 I wouldn’t categorize at with any specificity.
Mr. Quigley: 01:07:02 I yield the balance to the Chairman please.
Chairman: 01:07:06 Not sure I can make good use of 27 seconds, but Director, I’ll think you made it clear that you think it unethical to put it politely to tout a foreign service like Wikileaks publishing stolen political documents in a presidential campaign.
Robert Mueller: 01:07:24 Certainly a calls for investigation.
Chairman: 01:07:27 Thank you, Director. We’re gonna go now to Mr. Crawford, and then after Mr Crawford’s five minutes, we’ll take a 5 or 10 minute break.
Mr. Crawford: 01:07:35 Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, Mr. Mueller for being here. Days after your appointment, Peter Strzok texted about as concerned that there’s “no big there there” in the Trump campaign investigation. Did Strzok or anyone else who worked on the FBI’s investigation tell you that around 10 months into the investigation the FBI still had no case for collusion?
Robert Mueller: 01:07:54 Who? Can you repeat that?
Mr. Crawford: 01:07:56 Peter Strzok.
Robert Mueller: 01:07:57 And could, I’m sorry, can you move the microphone a little closer?
Mr. Crawford: 01:08:00 Sure.
Robert Mueller: 01:08:01 Thank you.
Mr. Crawford: 01:08:01 There’s a quote attributed to Peter Strzok. He texted about his concern that there is quote “no big there there” in the Trump campaign investigation. Did he or anyone else who worked on the FBI’s investigation tell you that around 10 months into the investigation the FBI still had no case for collusion?
Robert Mueller: 01:08:19 No.
Mr. Crawford: 01:08:21 Is the inspector general report correct? That the text messages from Peter Strzok and Lisa Page’s phones from your office were not retained after they left the special counsel’s office?
Robert Mueller: 01:08:30 Well, I don’t, it depends on what you’re talking about. The investigation into those Peter Strzok went on for a period of time, and I’m not certain what it encompasses. It may well have encompassed what you’re referring to.
Mr. Crawford: 01:08:50 Okay. Let me move on just real quickly. Did you ask the Department to authorize your office to investigate the origin of the Trump Russia investigation?
Robert Mueller: 01:08:58 I’m not going to get into that. It goes to internal deliberations.
Mr. Crawford: 01:09:03 So the circumstances surrounding the origin of the investigation have yet to be fully vetted then. I’m certainly glad that Attorney General Barr and US Attorney Durham are looking into this matter and with that I’d like to yield the balance of my time to the ranking member Nunez.
Devin Nunes: 01:09:17 Thank the gentlemen for yielding. Mr. Mueller, I want to make sure you’re aware of who Fusion GPS is. Fusion GPS is a political operations firm that was working directly for the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. They produce the dossier, so they paid Steele, who then went out and got the dossier. And I know you don’t want to answer any dossier questions, so I’m not going there. But your report mentions Natalia Veselnitskaya 65 times. She meets in the Trump tower. It’s this infamous Trump tower meeting. It’s in your report. You’ve heard many of the Democrats refer to it today. The meeting was shorter than 20 minutes, I believe. Is that correct?
Robert Mueller: 01:10:09 I think what we have in our report reflects it was about that length.
Devin Nunes: 01:10:15 So do you know, so Fusion GPS, the main actor of Fusion GPS, the President of the company or the owner of the company as a guy named Glenn Simpson, who’s working for Hillary Clinton. Glenn Simpson. Do you know how many times Glenn Simpson met with Natalia Veselnitskaya?
Robert Mueller: 01:10:36 Myself? No.
Devin Nunes: 01:10:39 Would it surprise you that the Clinton campaign dirty ops arm met with Natalia Veselnitskaya more times then the Trump campaign did?
Robert Mueller: 01:10:49 Well, this is an area that I’m not gonna get into as I indicated at the outset.
Devin Nunes: 01:10:55 Did you ever interview Glenn Simpson?
Robert Mueller: 01:10:58 I’m again, I’m going to pass on that.
Devin Nunes: 01:11:04 According to, I’m going to change topics here. According to notes from the State Department official, Kathleen Kavalec, Christopher Steele told her that former Russian intelligence head Trubnikov and Putin adviser Surkov were sources for the Steele dossier. Now, knowing that these are not getting into whether these sources were real or not real, was there any concern that there could have been disinformation that was going from the Kremlin into the Clinton campaign and then being fed into the FBI?
Robert Mueller: 01:11:44 As I said before, this is an area that I can not speak to.
Devin Nunes: 01:11:50 Is that because it’s not in the report or you’re just or because of some ongoing investigation-
Robert Mueller: 01:11:55 Internal deliberations, other proceedings and the like.
Devin Nunes: 01:11:57 Okay. When Andrew Weissmann and Zainab Ahmad joined your team, were you aware that Bruce Ohr, Department of Justice top official directly briefed the dossier allegations to them in the summer of 2016?
Robert Mueller: 01:12:15 Again, I’m okay to speak to that issue.
Devin Nunes: 01:12:18 Okay. Before you arrested George Papadopoulos in July of 2017, he was given $10,000 in cash in Israel. Do you know who gave him that cash?
Robert Mueller: 01:12:33 Again, that’s outside our ambit and a question such as that should go to the FBI department.
Devin Nunes: 01:12:39 But it involved your investigation?
Robert Mueller: 01:12:41 It involved persons involved in my investigation.
Devin Nunes: 01:12:46 Thank you, Mr Chairman.
Chairman: 01:12:48 We’ll stand in recess for 5 or 10 minutes please folks, remain your seats. Allow the Director and Mr. Zebley to exit the chamber.
Chairman: 01:12:56 The Committee will come to order.
Robert Mueller: 01:17:03 Thank you, sir.
Chairman: 01:26:23 Thank you, Director. Mr. Swalwell, you are recognized.
Mr. Swalwell: 01:26:27 Thank you. Director Mueller, as a prosecutor, You would agree that if a witness or suspect lies or obstructs or tampers with witnesses or destroys evidence during an investigation, that generally that conduct can be used to show a consciousness of guilt? Would you agree with that?
Robert Mueller: 01:26:48 Yes.
Mr. Swalwell: 01:26:50 Let’s go through the different people associated with the Trump campaign and this investigation who lied to you and other investigators to cover up their disloyal and unpatriotic conduct. If we could put exhibit eight up. Director Mueller, I’m showing you Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort, Political Advisor Roger Stone, Deputy Campaign Manager Rick Gates, National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, Donald Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen, and Foreign Policy Advisor George Papadopoulos. These six individuals have each been charged, convicted, or lied to your office or other investigators, is that right?
Robert Mueller: 01:27:27 Yes. Although I look askance at Mr. Stone because he is in a different case here in DC.
Mr. Swalwell: 01:27:39 So National Security Advisor Flynn lied about discussions with Russian ambassador related to sanctions. Is that right?
Robert Mueller: 01:27:45 That’s correct.
Mr. Swalwell: 01:27:46 Michael Cohen lied to this Committee about Trump Tower Moscow. Is that correct?
Robert Mueller: 01:27:51 Yes.
Mr. Swalwell: 01:27:52 George Papadopoulos, the President’s Senior Foreign Policy Advisor lied to the FBI about his communications about Russia’s possession of dirt on Hillary Clinton. Is that right?
Robert Mueller: 01:28:02 Correct. Yes.
Mr. Swalwell: 01:28:03 The President’s Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort lied about meetings that he had with someone with ties to Russian intelligence. Is that correct?
Robert Mueller: 01:28:11 That’s true.
Mr. Swalwell: 01:28:13 And your investigation was hampered by Trump campaign officials ‘use of encryption communications, is that right?
Robert Mueller: 01:28:21 We believe that to be the case.
Mr. Swalwell: 01:28:23 You also believe to be the case that your investigation was hampered by the deletion of electronic messages. Is that correct?
Robert Mueller: 01:28:31 It would be, yes. Generally any case would be if those kind of communications are used.
Mr. Swalwell: 01:28:38 For example, you noted that Deputy Campaign Manager Rick Gates, who shared internal campaign polling data with the person with ties to Russian intelligence at the direction of Manafort, that Mr. Gates deleted those communications on a daily basis. Is that right?
Robert Mueller: 01:28:55 I take your word. I don’t know specifically, but if it’s in the report, then I support it.
Mr. Swalwell: 01:29:00 That’s right. Director. It’s volume one, page one 36
Robert Mueller: 01:29:03 Thank you.
Mr. Swalwell: 01:29:05 In addition to that, other information was inaccessible because your office determined it was protected by attorney-client privilege. Is that correct?
Robert Mueller: 01:29:12 That is true.
Mr. Swalwell: 01:29:13 That would include that you do not know whether communications between Donald Trump and his personal attorneys, Jay Sekulow, Rudy Giuliani and others discouraged witnesses from cooperating with the government. Is that right?
Robert Mueller: 01:29:25 I’m not gonna talk to that.
Mr. Swalwell: 01:29:28 That would also mean that you can’t talk to whether or not pardons were dangled through the President’s attorneys because the shield of attorney-client privilege?
Robert Mueller: 01:29:38 I’m not going to discuss that.
Mr. Swalwell: 01:29:42 Did you want to interview Donald Trump Jr?
Robert Mueller: 01:29:45 I’m not going to discuss that.
Mr. Swalwell: 01:29:47 Did you subpoena Donald Trump Jr?
Robert Mueller: 01:29:49 I’m not going to discuss that.
Mr. Swalwell: 01:29:53 Did you want to interview the President?
Robert Mueller: 01:29:55 Yes.
Mr. Swalwell: 01:29:57 Director Mueller, on January 1st, 2017 through March, 2019, Donald Trump met with Vladimir Putin in-person six times, called him 10 times and exchanged four letters with him. Between that time period, how many times did you meet with Donald Trump?
Robert Mueller: 01:30:18 I’m not going to get into that.
Mr. Swalwell: 01:30:22 He did not meet with you in person, is that correct?
Robert Mueller: 01:30:24 He did not
Mr. Swalwell: 01:30:27 As a result of lies, deletion of text messages, obstruction and witness tampering, is it fair to say that you were unable to fully assess the scope and scale of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and Trump’s role in that interference?
Robert Mueller: 01:30:41 I’m not certain I would adopt that characterization in total. There may be pieces of it that are accurate but not in total.
Mr. Swalwell: 01:30:49 But you did state in volume one, page 10 that while this report embodies factual and legal determinations, the office believes it to be accurate and complete to the greatest extent possible. Given these identified gaps, the office cannot rule out the possibility that the unavailable information would shed additional light. Is that correct?
Robert Mueller: 01:31:08 And that is correct. We don’t know what we don’t know.
Mr. Swalwell: 01:31:10 Why is it so important that witnesses cooperate and tell the truth in an investigation like this?
Robert Mueller: 01:31:15 Because the testimony of the witnesses goes to the heart of just about any criminal case you have.
Mr. Swalwell: 01:31:19 Thank you. And Mr. Chairman, I’d yield back, and thank you, Director Mueller.
Chairman: 01:31:25 Ms. Stefanik.
Ms. Stefanik: 01:31:25 Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Mueller, as Special Counsel, did you review documents related to the origin of the counterintelligence investigation to the Trump campaign
Robert Mueller: 01:31:37 On occasion.
Ms. Stefanik: 01:31:39 Was the Steele dossier one of those that was reviewed?
Robert Mueller: 01:31:42 And I can’t discuss that case.
Ms. Stefanik: 01:31:44 I’m just asking a process question. Have you read the Steele dossier?
Robert Mueller: 01:31:48 And again, I’m not going to respond to that.
Ms. Stefanik: 01:31:50 You were tasked as special counsel to investigate whether there was collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign associates to interfere with the 2016 election, and the FBI we know has relevant documents and information related to the opening of the CI investigation. Were you and your team permitted to access all of those documents?
Robert Mueller: 01:32:10 And again, I can’t get into that investigative and what we collected and what we’re doing with investigation and investigation materials.
Ms. Stefanik: 01:32:22 Let me ask it this way. Was there any limitation in your access to documents related to the counterintelligence?
Robert Mueller: 01:32:29 That’s such a broad question. I have real troubles answering it.
Ms. Stefanik: 01:32:34 Did the Special Counsel’s Office undertake any efforts to investigate and verify or disprove allegations contained in the Steele dossier?
Robert Mueller: 01:32:42 Again, I can’t respond.
Ms. Stefanik: 01:32:44 The reason I’m asking for the American public that is watching, it’s apparent that the Steele dossier formed part of the basis to justify the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election as we know it was used to obtain a FISA warrant on Carter Page. This is why I’m asking these questions.
PART 3 OF 5 ENDS [01:33:04]
Ms. Stefanik: 01:33:03 … Pfizer warrant on Carter page. This is why I’m asking these questions. Did your office undertake any efforts to identify Steele’s sources or sub sources?
Robert Mueller: 01:33:09 Again, the same answer.
Ms. Stefanik: 01:33:12 Was were these tasks referred to any other agencies?
Robert Mueller: 01:33:16 Again, I can’t speak to it.
Ms. Stefanik: 01:33:21 Did your office consider whether the Russian government used Steel sources to provide Steel with disinformation?
Robert Mueller: 01:33:28 Again, I can’t speak to that.
Ms. Stefanik: 01:33:31 I understand. I’m asking these questions just for the record, so thanks for your patience. Shifting gears here, did any member of the special counsel’s office staff travel overseas as part of the investigation?
Robert Mueller: 01:33:44 Yes, but I can’t go further than that.
Ms. Stefanik: 01:33:48 I’m going to ask to which countries?
Robert Mueller: 01:33:51 And I can’t answer that.
Ms. Stefanik: 01:33:53 Did they meet with foreign government officials?
Robert Mueller: 01:33:55 Again, it’s out of our bailiwick.
Ms. Stefanik: 01:33:59 Did they meet with foreign private citizens?
Robert Mueller: 01:34:01 Again, same response.
Ms. Stefanik: 01:34:04 Did they seek information about a US citizen or any US citizens?
Robert Mueller: 01:34:07 Again a territory that I cannot go to.
Ms. Stefanik: 01:34:13 Thank you for answering on the record. These are important questions for the American public and we’re hopeful that the IG is able to answer these questions. I will yield the balance of my time to the ranking member.
Devin Nunes: 01:34:24 I thank the lady for yielding. Mr. Mueller. I want to go back to … we started off with Joseph Mifsud who is at the center of this investigation. He appears in your report dozen times or more. He really is the epicenter. He’s at the origin of this. He’s the man who supposedly knows about Clinton’s emails. You’ve seen on the screen Democrats have currently put up all the prosecutions that you made against Trump campaign officials and others, but I’m struggling to understand why you didn’t indict Joseph Mifsud who seems to be the man in the middle of all of this.
Robert Mueller: 01:35:12 Well, I think you understand that you cannot get into either classified or law enforcement information without a rationale for doing it. And I said all I’m going to be on a say with regard to Mr Mifsud.
Devin Nunes: 01:35:37 Were you aware of Kathleen Kavalec’s involvement that she had met with Ms. Steele, the state department official?
Robert Mueller: 01:35:44 Again, I can’t respond to that question. It’s outside my jurisdiction.
Devin Nunes: 01:35:53 The Carter Paige Pfizer warrant was re upped three times the last time it was re upped was under your watch, so you did you … were you in the approval process of that last time that the Carter page warrant was-
Robert Mueller: 01:36:10 Well, I can’t speak specifically about that warrant, but if you ask or was I in the approval chain, the answer is no.
Devin Nunes: 01:36:18 Okay. That’s very helpful. Thank you, Mr. Thank you, Mr Chairman. Yield back.
Speaker 7: 01:36:25 Mr. Castro.
Mr. Castro: 01:36:26 Thank you, chairman. Thank you, special counsel, Mueller for your testimony and for your service to our country. Donald Trump over the years has surrounded himself with some very shady people, people that lied for him, people that covered up for him, people that helped him enrich himself. I want to talk specifically about one of those instances that’s in your report. Specifically let’s turn to the Trump tower Moscow project, which you described in your report as quote as a quote, “Highly lucrative deal for the Trump organization.” Is that right?
Robert Mueller: 01:36:58 I would have to look at the quote from the the record if you have it.
Mr. Castro: 01:37:02 Sure. It’s on volume two page 135. It’s described as highly lucrative.
Robert Mueller: 01:37:18 Okay. I have it.
Mr. Castro: 01:37:19 Sure.
Robert Mueller: 01:37:19 I have it. Thank you, sir.
Mr. Castro: 01:37:20 Yeah no problem. Your office prosecuted Michael Cohen and Michael Cohen was Donald Trump’s lawyer for lying to this committee about several aspects of the Trump organization’s pursuit of the Trump Tower Moscow deal. Is that right?
Robert Mueller: 01:37:33 That’s correct.
Mr. Castro: 01:37:35 According to your report, Cohen lied to quote, “minimize links between the project and Trump.” Un-quote. And to quote, “stick to the Party line” unquote in order not to contradict Trump’s public message that no connection existed between Trump and Russia. Is that right?
Robert Mueller: 01:37:56 That’s an a yes, that’s correct.
Mr. Castro: 01:37:59 Now, when you’re talking about the party line here, the party line in this case-
Robert Mueller: 01:38:04 If I could interject the one thing I should’ve said at the outset if it was in the report and consequently I do believe it to be true.
Mr. Castro: 01:38:10 Thank you. The party line in this case was that the deal ended in January 2016. In other words, they were saying that the deal ended in January 2016 before the Republican primaries. In truth, though, the deal extended to June 2016 when Donald Trump was already the presumptive Republican nominee. Is that correct?
Robert Mueller: 01:38:33 That’s correct.
Mr. Castro: 01:38:35 The party line was also that Cohen discussed the deal with Trump only three times when in truth they discussed it multiple times. Is that right?
Robert Mueller: 01:38:44 Also true and part of the basis for that plea that he entered for aligned to this entity.
Mr. Castro: 01:38:53 Thank you and thank you for prosecuting that. The party line was also that Cohen and Trump never discussed traveling to Russia during the campaign when in truth they did discuss it. Is that right?
Robert Mueller: 01:39:06 That’s accurate.
Mr. Castro: 01:39:08 And the Party line was at Cohen never received a response from the Kremlin to his inquiries about the Trump Tower Moscow deal. In fact, Cohen not only received a response from the Kremlin to his email, but also had a lengthy conversation with a Kremlin representative who had a detailed understanding of the project. Is that right?
Robert Mueller: 01:39:28 If it’s in the report, that is accurate recitation of that piece of the report.
Mr. Castro: 01:39:34 So you have the candidate Trump at the time saying he had no business dealings with Russia, his lawyer who was lying about it, and then the Kremlin who during that time was talking to President Trump’s lawyer about the deal. Is that right?
Robert Mueller: 01:39:49 I can’t adopt your characterization.
Mr. Castro: 01:39:53 Not only was Cohen lying on Trump’s behalf, but so was the Kremlin. On August 30th, 2017 two days after Cohen submitted his false statement to this committee claiming that he never received a response to his email to the Kremlin, Vladimir Putin’s press secretary told reporters that the Kremlin left the email unanswered. That statement by Putin’s press secretary was false, wasn’t it?
Robert Mueller: 01:40:20 I can’t speak to that.
Mr. Castro: 01:40:22 Although it was right, widely reported in the press. A
Robert Mueller: 01:40:25 gain, I can’t speak to that particularly if it was dependent upon media sources.
Mr. Castro: 01:40:31 But it was consistent with the lie that Cohen had made to the committee. Is that right?
Robert Mueller: 01:40:35 I’m not certain I could go that far.
Mr. Castro: 01:40:38 So Cohen, president Trump, and the Kremlin were all telling the same lie.
Robert Mueller: 01:40:44 I defer to you on that. That I can’t get into details.
Mr. Castro: 01:40:49 Special counsel, Mueller, I want to ask you something that’s very important to the nation. Did your investigation evaluate whether President Trump could be vulnerable to blackmail by the Russians because the Kremlin knew that Trump and his associates lied about connections to Russia related to the Trump Tower deal?
Robert Mueller: 01:41:08 I can’t speak to that.
Mr. Castro: 01:41:09 I yield back chairman?
Speaker 7: 01:41:14 Mr Hurt.
Mr. Hurt: 01:41:16 Thank you Mr Chairman. Director Mueller, you’ve been asked many times afternoon about collusion, obstruction of justice and impeachment in the Steele dossier and I don’t think your answers are going to change if I ask you about those questions. So I’m going to ask about a couple of press stories because a lot of what the American people have received about this have been on press stories and some of that has been wrong. And some of those press stories have been accurate. On April 13th, 2018 McClatchy reported that you had evidence Michael Cohen made his secret trip to Prague during the 2016 presidential election. I think he told one of committees here in Congress that was incorrect. Is that story true?
Robert Mueller: 01:41:58 I can’t, well I can’t go into it.
Mr. Hurt: 01:42:01 I got you. On October 31st, 2016 Slate published a report suggesting that a server at Trump tower was secretly communicating with Russia’s Alpha Bank and I quote, “akin to what criminal syndicates do.” Do you know if that story is true?
Robert Mueller: 01:42:19 Do not. Do not.
Mr. Hurt: 01:42:22 Do you do not.
Robert Mueller: 01:42:22 Whether it’s true.
Mr. Hurt: 01:42:23 So did you not investigate these allegations which are suggestive of potential Trump Russia-
Robert Mueller: 01:42:29 Because I believe if not true doesn’t mean it would not be investigated. It may well have been investigated, although my belief at this point are just not true.
Mr. Hurt: 01:42:37 Good copy. Thank you. As a former CIA officer, I want to focus on something I think both sides of the political aisle can agree on. That is how do we prevent Russian intelligence and other adversaries from doing this again? And after overseeing counterintelligence operations for 12 years as FBI director and then investigating what the Russians have done in the 2016 election, you’ve seen tactics, techniques, and results of Russian intelligence operations. Our committee made a recommendation that the FBI should improve its victim notification process when a person, entity, or campaign has fallen victim to active measures of TAC. Would you agree with this-
Robert Mueller: 01:43:25 It sounds like a worthwhile endeavor. I will tell you, though, that the ability of our intelligence agencies to work together in this arena is perhaps more important than that. And adopting whatever … and I’m not that familiar with the legislation, but whatever legislation will encourage us working together. By us, I mean the FBI, CIA, NSA, and the rest. It should be pursued aggressively early.
Mr. Hurt: 01:43:55 Who do you think should be responsible within the federal government to counter disinformation?
Robert Mueller: 01:44:00 Oh, I’m no longer in the federal government, sorry.
Mr. Hurt: 01:44:03 But you’ve had a long career-
Robert Mueller: 01:44:05 I’ll pass.
Mr. Hurt: 01:44:05 … a storied career, and I don’t think there’s anybody who better understands the threat that we are facing than you. Do you do you have an opinion as a former FBI officer?
Robert Mueller: 01:44:16 As to?
Mr. Hurt: 01:44:17 as to who should be the coordinating points within the federal government on how to deal with that situation?
Robert Mueller: 01:44:22 Well, I don’t want to wade in those waters.
Mr. Hurt: 01:44:25 A good copy. One of the most striking things in your report is that the Internet research agency not only undertook a social media campaign that you asked, but they were able to organize political rallies after the election. Our committee issued a report and an insight on saying that Russian active measures are growing with frequency and intensity and including their expanded use of groups such as the IRA. And these groups pose a significant threat to the United States and our allies in upcoming elections. Would you agree with that?
Robert Mueller: 01:45:03 Yes. In fact, one of the other areas that we have to look at, or many more companies or not companies … many more countries are developing capability to replicate what the Russians had done.
Mr. Hurt: 01:45:17 You alluded to making sure all the elements of the federal government should be working together. Do you have a suggestion on a strategy to do that, to counter the disinformation?
Robert Mueller: 01:45:28 Not overarching.
Mr. Hurt: 01:45:30 Is this … in your investigation that you think that this was a single attempt by the Russians to get involved in our election or did you find evidence to suggest they’ll try to do this again?
Robert Mueller: 01:45:41 Oh, it wasn’t a single attempt. They’re doing it as we sit here and they expect to do it during the next campaign.
Mr. Hurt: 01:45:51 Director Mueller, I appreciate your time in indulging us here in multiple committees and I yield back to the ranking member. If he has … I yield back to the chairman,
Speaker 7: 01:46:06 Mr Heck.
Mr. Heck: 01:46:09 Director Miller. I’d like to go to the motives behind the Trump campaign encouragement and acceptance of help during the election. Obviously a clear motivation was to help them in what would turn out to be a very close election, but there was another key motivation and that was, frankly, the desire to make money. I always try to remember what my dad, who never had the opportunity to go beyond the eighth grade, taught me, which is that I should never ever underestimate the capacity of some people to cut corners and even more in order to worship and chase the almighty buck. And this is important because I think it in fact does go to the heart of why the Trump campaign was so unrelentingly intent on developing relationships with the Kremlin. So let’s quickly revisit one financial scheme we just discussed, which was the Trump Tower in Moscow. We indicated earlier that it was a lucrative deal. Trump in fact stood, he and his company, to earn many millions of dollars on that deal. Did they not sir?
Robert Mueller: 01:47:09 True.
Mr. Heck: 01:47:11 And Cohen … Mr. Cohen, his attorney, testified before this committee that President Trump believed the deal required Kremlin approval. Is that consistent with what he told you?
Robert Mueller: 01:47:25 I’m not certain whether it’s Mr. Trump himself or others associated with that enterprise that had discussed the necessity of having the input from the state, either the Russian government, in order to afford to go forward successfully.
Mr. Heck: 01:47:38 Isn’t it also true that Donald Trump viewed his presidential campaign as he told top campaign aides that the campaign was an infomercial for the Trump organization and his properties?
Robert Mueller: 01:47:52 I’m not familiar with that.
Mr. Heck: 01:47:55 Let’s turn to Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort. Did in fact your investigation find any evidence that Manafort intended to use his position as Trump’s campaign chair for his own personal financial benefit?
Robert Mueller: 01:48:13 Well, I would say there was some indication of that, but I won’t go further.
Mr. Heck: 01:48:13 I think you’ll find it on page 135 of volume one. During the transition, Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, met with Sergei Gorkov, the head of a Russian owned bank that is under US sanctions. And according to the head of the bank, he met with Kushner in his capacity as CEO of Kushner companies to discuss business opportunities. Is that correct, sir?
Robert Mueller: 01:48:40 I’m not certain-
Mr. Heck: 01:48:44 It was-
Robert Mueller: 01:48:44 … Not certain about that, let me just put it that way.
Mr. Heck: 01:48:46 It was asserted thusly in your report. Volume one, pages 161 and 162. Your report notes that at the time Kushner companies were trying to renegotiate a billion, with a B, a billion dollar lease of their flagship building at 66 5th Avenue. Correct?
Robert Mueller: 01:49:09 I am not familiar with those financial arrangements.
Mr. Heck: 01:49:12 Also on page 162 were Kushner companies that was asserted, had debt applications coming due on the company. Eric Prydz, a supporter close to Trump, campaigned-
Robert Mueller: 01:49:24 A supporter. A supporter, I was …
Mr. Heck: 01:49:29 Yes. He met in the Seychelles during the transition with Kirill Dmitriev, who is the head of a sanctioned Russian government investment arm which had close ties to Vladimir Putin, correct, sir?
Robert Mueller: 01:49:45 Yes.
Mr. Heck: 01:49:46 Your investigation determined that Mr. Prince had not known nor conducted business with Dmitriev before Trump won the election, correct?
Robert Mueller: 01:49:57 Well, I defer to the report on that.
Mr. Heck: 01:50:01 Yet it does. And yet Prydz, who had connections to top Trump administration officials, met with Dmitriev during the transition period to discuss business opportunities among other things. But it wasn’t just Trump and his associates who are trying to make money off this deal, nor hide it, nor lie about it. Russia was, too. That was the whole point to gain relief from sanctions, which would hugely benefit their incredibly wealthy oligarchs. For example, sanctions relief was discussed at that June 9th meeting in the Trump Tower, was it not, sir?
Robert Mueller: 01:50:38 Yes, I know it’s not a main subject for discussion.
Mr. Heck: 01:50:46 Trump administration national security advisor designate Michael Flynn also discussed sanctions in a secret conversation with the Russian ambassador. Did he not?
Robert Mueller: 01:50:55 Correct.
Mr. Heck: 01:50:57 So to summarize, Donald Trump, Michael Cohen, Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner, Eric Prydz, and others in the Trump orbit, all tried to use their connections with the Trump organization to profit from Russia, which was openly seeking relief from sanctions. Is that correct?
Robert Mueller: 01:51:17 I’m not certain I can adopt a what-
Mr. Heck: 01:51:22 I will and I’d further assert that was not only dangerous, it was un-American. Greed corrupts, greed corrupts, and it is a terrible foundation for developing American foreign policy.
Speaker 7: 01:51:36 Mr Radcliffe.
Mr. Radcliff: 01:51:38 Director Mueller, given your constraints on what you’re able or allowed to answer with respect to counter-intelligence matters or other matters that are currently open and under investigation, you’re not going to be able to answer my remaining questions. So I thank you for your courtesies in the answers that you have given to my prior questions and I do thank you for your extraordinary career and record of service and yield the balance of my time to the ranking member.
Robert Mueller: 01:52:12 Thank you.
Devin Nunes: 01:52:14 Thank you Mr Radcliffe and Mr. Mueller. Let me associate my words with Mr Radcliffe. A few more questions. I want to clean up a little bit about the Eric Prydz Seychelles meeting. So Eric Prydz testified before this committee that he was surveilled by the US government and the information from this surveillance was leaked to the press. Did you investigate whether Prydz was surveilled and whether classified information on him was illegally leaked to the media?
Robert Mueller: 01:52:46 Did you say, did you or will you?
Devin Nunes: 01:52:48 Well, I know you can’t. I know you’re not-
Robert Mueller: 01:52:51 I can’t discuss either way.
Devin Nunes: 01:52:52 I know you’re not going to join back up in the ranks, but did you refer or were you aware that, you know, Prydz has made these allegations, that he was surveilled, he’s concerned that there were leaks about this surveillance. Did you make any referrals about these leaks?
Robert Mueller: 01:53:08 I can’t get into discussion on it.
Devin Nunes: 01:53:12 Okay. Also one of General Flynn. I know you came after the leak of his phone call with the Russian ambassador, your time at FBI. It would be a major scandal, wouldn’t it, for the leak of the national security advisor and anyone-
Robert Mueller: 01:53:30 Like, I can’t ever make it out that hypothesis.
Devin Nunes: 01:53:41 Did your report name any people who were acting as US government informants or sources without disclosing that fact?
Robert Mueller: 01:53:50 I can’t answer that.
Devin Nunes: 01:53:53 On volume one page 133 of your report, you state that Konstantin Kilimnik has ties to Russian intelligence. His name has came up quite often today, but your report omits to mention that Kilimnik has longterm relationships with US government officials, including our own State Department.
Robert Mueller: 01:54:17 I can’t be a … I can’t get into that.
Devin Nunes: 01:54:21 I know it’s not in the report, but if Kilimnik is being used in the report to say that he was possibly some type of Russian Russian agent and I think it is important for this committee to know if Kilimnik has ties to our own state department, which it appears that he does.
Robert Mueller: 01:54:47 Again, it’s the same territory that I’m loathed to get into.
Devin Nunes: 01:54:53 You were asked this earlier about Trump attorney, John Dowd, that pieces of his phone call were omitted from the report. It was what Mr Dowd calls exculpatory evidence. Are you concerned about-
Robert Mueller: 01:55:12 I’m not certain I would agree with that characterization. I think I said that before? Yes.
Devin Nunes: 01:55:17 Yes. An American citizen from the Republic of Georgia, who your report misidentifies as a Russian, claims that your report omitted parts of a text message he had with Michael Cohen about stopping the flow of compromising tapes of Donald Trump. In the omitted portions, he says he did not know what the tapes actually showed. Was that portion of the exchange left out of the report for a reason?
Robert Mueller: 01:55:50 No. We got an awful lot into the report, but we did not get every intersection or a conversation and like, so I am not familiar with that particular episode you’re talking about.
Devin Nunes: 01:56:05 Thank you. Mr Muller. Thank you, Mr Chairman.
Speaker 7: 01:56:09 Mr. Welch.
Mr. Welch: 01:56:10 Director Mueller, did you find there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia?
Robert Mueller: 01:56:18 Well, we don’t use the word collusion. The word we usually use is the … well not not collusion, but one of the other terms that that fills in when collusion is not used. In any event, we decided not use the word collusion in as much as it has no relevance to the criminal law arena.
Mr. Welch: 01:56:52 The term is conspiracy that you prefer to use.
Robert Mueller: 01:56:55 Conspiracy. Exactly right.
Mr. Welch: 01:56:56 You help me, I’ll help you.
Robert Mueller: 01:56:58 Thank you.
Mr. Welch: 01:56:58 It’s an agreement. Thank you. And in fact you had to then make a charging decision after your investigation where unless there was enough evidence to prove beyond reasonable doubt, you wouldn’t make a charge, correct?
Robert Mueller: 01:57:14 Generally that’s the case.
Mr. Welch: 01:57:15 But making that decision does not mean your investigation failed to turn up evidence of conspiracy.
Robert Mueller: 01:57:22 Absolutely correct.
Mr. Welch: 01:57:23 And in fact, I’ll go through some of the significant findings that your exhaustive investigation made. You found, as I understand it, that from May 2016 until the end of the campaign, campaign chairman Mr Manafort gave private polling information to Russian agents, correct?
Robert Mueller: 01:57:42 Right.
Mr. Welch: 01:57:44 And-
Speaker 7: 01:57:44 Could you speak into the microphone?
Robert Mueller: 01:57:45 I will. My apologies.
Mr. Welch: 01:57:48 Thank you. And your investigation found that in June 2016, Donald Trump Jr made an arrangement to meet at Trump Tower along with Jared Kushner and others expecting to receive dirt on the Hillary Clinton campaign, correct?
Robert Mueller: 01:58:03 Correct.
Mr. Welch: 01:58:05 And you found in your investigation that on July 27th candidate Trump called up on Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails something that for the first time they did about five hours later, correct?
Robert Mueller: 01:58:19 That’s correct.
Mr. Welch: 01:58:20 And you also found that on August 2nd, Mr Manafort met with a person tied to Russian intelligence, Mr Kilimnik, and gave him internal campaign strategy aware that Russia was intending to do a misinformation social media campaign, correct?
Robert Mueller: 01:58:39 I’m not certain of the tie there …
Mr. Welch: 01:58:41 But the fact of that meeting you agree with?
Robert Mueller: 01:58:43 The fact that the meeting took place is accurate.
Mr. Welch: 01:58:46 In your investigation, as I understand it, also found that in late summer of 2016 the Trump campaign in fact devised its strategy and messaging around Wikileaks releases of materials that were stolen from the Democratic National Committee. Correct?
Robert Mueller: 01:59:04 Is that from the report?
Mr. Welch: 01:59:06 Yes, it’s according to Mr. Gates.
Robert Mueller: 01:59:08 Yes.
Mr. Welch: 01:59:09 Yes. Thank you. And you also talked earlier about the finding in your investigation that in September and October of 2016 Donald Trump Jr had email communications with Wikileaks now indicted about releasing information damaging to the Clinton campaign. Correct?
Robert Mueller: 01:59:31 True.
Mr. Welch: 01:59:32 So, all right. So I understand you made a decision, prosecutorial decision, that this would not rise to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. But I ask if you share my concern. My concern is have we established a new normal from this past campaign that is going to apply to future campaigns so that if any one of us running for the US house, any candidate for the US senate, any candidate for the presidency of the United States aware that if hostile foreign power is trying to influence an election has no duty to report that to the FBI or other authorities?
Robert Mueller: 02:00:10 Well I hope-
Mr. Welch: 02:00:11 Go ahead.
Robert Mueller: 02:00:12 I hope this is not the new normal, but I fear it is.
Mr. Welch: 02:00:17 And would in fact have the ability without fear of legal repercussion to meet with agents of that foreign entity hostile to with the American election?
Robert Mueller: 02:00:27 I’m sorry, what is the question?
Mr. Welch: 02:00:29 Is that an apprehension that you share with me?
Robert Mueller: 02:00:32 Yes.
Mr. Welch: 02:00:33 And that there would be no repercussions whatsoever to Russia if they did this again. And as you’ve stated earlier, as we sit here, they’re doing it now. Is that correct?
Robert Mueller: 02:00:48 You’re absolutely right.
Mr. Welch: 02:00:49 Do you have any advice to this congress as together what we should do to protect our electoral system and accept responsibility on our part to report to you or your successor when we’re aware of hostile foreign engagement in our elections?
Robert Mueller: 02:01:09 I would say the basis … the first line of defense, really, is the ability of the various agencies who have some piece of this to not only share information but share expertise, share targets, and use the full resources that we have to address this problem.
Ms. Stefanik: 02:01:32 Thank you, director Mueller. I yield back.
Speaker 7: 02:01:35 Mr Maloney.
Mr. Maloney: 02:01:38 Thanks. Mr. Mueller, thank you. I know it’s been a long day and I want to make clear how much respect I have for your service and for your extraordinary career and I want you to understand my questions in that context. Sir, I’m going to be asking you about Appendix C to your report and in particular the decision not to do a sworn interview with the President. It’s really the only subject I want to talk to you about, sir. Why didn’t you subpoena the president?
Robert Mueller: 02:02:09 Well at the outset after we took over and initiated the investigation-
Mr. Maloney: 02:02:13 if I could ask you to speak into the mic, please.
Robert Mueller: 02:02:15 Yeah of course. At the outset, after we took over the investigation and began it and pursued it, quite obviously one of the things we anticipated wanting to accomplish in that is having the interview of the President. We negotiated with him for a little over a year and I think what you adverted to in the appendix lays out our expectations as a result of those negotiations. But finally, when we were almost towards the end of our investigation and we’d had little success in pushing to get the interview of the President, we decided that we did not want to exercise a subpoena powers because other than necessity of expediting the end of the investigation.
Mr. Maloney: 02:03:08 Was that … excuse me, did you-
Robert Mueller: 02:03:09 I was going to say the expectation was if we did subpoena the President, he would fight the subpoena and we would be in the midst of the investigation for a substantial period of time.
Mr. Maloney: 02:03:19 Right. But as we sit here, you’ve never had an opportunity to ask the President in person questions under oath. And so obviously that must’ve been a difficult decision. And you’re right, Appendix C lays that out and indeed I believe you described the in-person interview as vital. That’s your word. And of course you make clear you had the authority and the legal justification to do it. As you point out, you waited a year, you put up with a lot of negotiations, you made numerous accommodations which you lay out so that he could prepare and not be surprised. I take it you were trying to be fair to the President. And by the way, you were going to limit the questions when you got to written questions to Russia only. And in fact, you did go with written questions after about nine months or, right? And the President responded-
PART 4 OF 5 ENDS [02:04:04]
Mr. Maloney: 02:04:03 … questions after about nine months, sir, right? And the president responded to those and you have some hard language for what you thought of those responses. What did you think of the president’s written responses, Mr. Mueller?
Robert Mueller: 02:04:11 It’s certainly not as useful as the interview would be.
Mr. Maloney: 02:04:15 In fact, you pointed out, and by my account, there were more than 30 times when the president said he didn’t recall, he didn’t remember, no independant recollection, no current recollection. And I take it by your answer, that it wasn’t as helpful. That’s why you used words like incomplete, imprecise, inadequate, insufficient. Is that a fair summary of what you thought of those written answers?
Robert Mueller: 02:04:38 That is a fair summary. And I presume that comes from the report?
Mr. Maloney: 02:04:41 And yet, sir, and I ask this respectfully, by the way, the president didn’t ever claim the fifth amendment, did he?
Robert Mueller: 02:04:46 I’m not going to talk to that.
Mr. Maloney: 02:04:49 Well, from what I can tell sir, at one point, it was vital. And then at another point, it wasn’t vital. And my question to you is why did it stop being vital? And I can only think of three explanations. One, is that somebody told you you couldn’t do it. But nobody told you you couldn’t subpoena the president. Is that right?
Robert Mueller: 02:05:04 No, we understood we could subpoena the president.
Mr. Maloney: 02:05:06 Rosenstein didn’t tell you, Whitaker didn’t tell you, Barr didn’t tell you, you couldn’t-
Robert Mueller: 02:05:09 We could serve a subpoena.
Mr. Maloney: 02:05:10 So, the only other explanation … well, there’s two others, I guess. One, that you just flinched. That you had the opportunity to do it and you didn’t do it. But sir, you don’t strike me as the kind of guy who flinches.
Robert Mueller: 02:05:21 I would hope not.
Mr. Maloney: 02:05:21 Well, then, the third explanation … I’d hope not too, sir. And the third explanation I can think of is that you didn’t think you needed it. And in fact, what caught my eye was Page 13 of Volume 2, where you said, in fact, you had a substantial body of evidence, and you cite a bunch of cases there, don’t you, about how you often have to prove intent to obstruct justice without an in person interview, that’s the kind of nature of it. And you used terms like a substantial body of evidence, significant evidence of the president’s intent.
Mr. Maloney: 02:05:49 So, my question sir is, did you have sufficient evidence of the president’s intent to obstruct justice, and is that why you didn’t do the interview?
Robert Mueller: 02:05:56 There’s a balance. In other words, how much evidence you have, does it satisfy the last element, against how much time are you willing to spend in the courts litigating the interview with the president.
Mr. Maloney: 02:06:10 And in this case, you felt that you had enough evidence of the president’s intent?
Robert Mueller: 02:06:14 We had to make a balanced decision in terms of how much evidence we had, compared to the length of time it would to-
Mr. Maloney: 02:06:22 And sir, because I have limited time, you thought that if you gave it to the attorney general, or to this congress, that there was sufficient evidence that it was better than that delay?
Robert Mueller: 02:06:32 Can you state that again?
Mr. Maloney: 02:06:33 Well, that it was better than the delay to present the sufficient evidence your term, of the president’s intent to obstruct justice to the attorney general and to this committee. Isn’t that why you didn’t do the interview?
Robert Mueller: 02:06:42 No, the reason why we didn’t do the interview is because of the length of time that it would take to resolve the issues attended to that.
Mr. Maloney: 02:06:51 Thank you, sir.
Adam Schiff: 02:06:51 Ms. Demings.
Val Demings: 02:06:57 Thank you so much, Mr. Chairman and Director Mueller, thank you so much for being a person of honor and integrity. Thank you for your service to the nation. We are certainly better for it.
Val Demings: 02:07:07 Director Mueller, I too want to focus on the written responses that the president did provide, and the continued efforts to lie and cover up what happened during the 2016 election. Were the president’s answers submitted under oath?
Robert Mueller: 02:07:26 Yes. Yes.
Val Demings: 02:07:27 Thank you, they were. Were these all the answers your office wanted to ask the president about Russia interference in the 2016 election?
Robert Mueller: 02:07:34 No, not necessarily.
Val Demings: 02:07:35 So, there were other-
Robert Mueller: 02:07:37 Yes.