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Robert Mueller testifies before two house committees


#1

Robert Mueller Testifies Before House Judiciary Committee, 7:30AM ET

Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller testifies before the House Judiciary Committee about the special counsel’s investigation into whether President Trump obstructed the FBI probe into Russian interference in the 2016 campaign.

:eyes: Watch here :point_down:

And then

Robert Mueller Testifies Before House Intelligence Committee, 12:45PM ET

House Intelligence Committee members react to testimony from former Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

:eyes: Watch here :point_down:

Read the Mueller Report here :point_down:

Housekeeping:
This is a single event thread to be intended to be part of the Congressional wiki as well as a general comments thread. This event will hopefully generate a lot of news, best to keep together until this thread closes.


#2

Thx @Pet_Proletariat for opening up this space for the Mueller testimony…and it looks like I need to set the alarm west coaat time more hours earlier with the 7:30a EST/4:30a PST start time. A thrill to be able to hear some more words come out of Mueller’s mouth. Go get 'em Dems…keep your expectations just above simmer…and we should do fine.

Here is some of the late breakinh Zebley addition nees…


#3

They have one of those is the morning too?! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:
I opened this tonight because that’s way to early for many of us in different time zones. Happy Mueller’s Eve Y’all! :cowboy_hat_face:


#4

Good morning - it is Mueller time. Cspan just opened it’s lens …caffeine ready. :coffee:

:statue_of_liberty:


#5

Going to look for the ongoing reviews of testimony…via twitter

But for starters @ddale8 (CNN’s Fact checker) starts us with these assumptions.

And T’s schedule - His first appointment is at 4:30p. (T has been tweeting all morning)

Live updates here.


#6

Maggie Haberman White House Correspondent

9:59 AM ET

Rep. Jim Jordan is likely to provide fireworks.

Jordan naming Mifsud, Pappadopoulis, and zeroing in on the origins of how the evidence should not have started a probe. The Mifsud lies…and Jordan is now claiming that Mueller should have charged Mifsud.

Mueller says he can not get into charging decisions…and Mueller says, he can agree with Jordan’s characterizations.

Katie Benner

Department of Justice Reporter

10:02 AM ET

Jim Jordan is laying the groundwork to accuse the special counsel’s office and the intelligence community of a separate, shadowy conspiracy.


#7

From MSNBC’s Kyle Griffen:

:boom:


#8

:boom:


#9

Here comes Rep Matt’s Gaetz’s (R-FL)Testimony attacking Mueller on Steele Dossier, the July 9th meeting, spinning up all sorts of conspiracy…

Michael S. Schmidt

Washington Correspondent

10:25 AM ET

This story we wrote in February details how Gaetz became one of the president’s allies in the efforts to undermine Mueller.

Article describes all the President’s allies who protected the T during the investigation and thereafter…below Rep Matt Gaetz and Rep Jordan reviewed.

Sitting in the Delta Sky Lounge during a layover at Atlanta’s airport in July 2017, Representative Matt Gaetz, a first-term Republican from the Florida Panhandle, decided it was time to attack. Mr. Gaetz, then 35, believed that the president’s allies in Congress needed a coordinated strategy to fight back against an investigation they viewed as deeply unfair and politically biased.

He called Representative Jim Jordan, a conservative Republican from Ohio, and told him the party needed “to go play offense,” Mr. Gaetz recalled in an interview.

The two men believed that Republican leaders, who publicly praised the appointment of Mr. Mueller, had been beaten into a defensive crouch by the unending chaos and were leaving Democrats unchecked to “pistol whip” the president with constant accusations about his campaign and Russia.

So they began to investigate the investigators. Mr. Trump and his lawyers enthusiastically encouraged the strategy, which, according to some polls, convinced many Americans that the country’s law enforcement apparatus was determined to bring down the president.


#10

Marcy Wheeler (independent journalist/provided previous testimony for Mueller)

Rep Ken Buck (R-CO) got at this point again - why couldn’t you indict President? Mueller refuted his logic.

and from NYT live feed (link above)

Sharon LaFraniere

Washington Investigative Reporter

10:40 AM ET

One more point on Buck’s questioning a few moments ago. Mueller answered that he could investigate the president because he could be charged once he left office and because others involved in any conspiracy to obstruct justice could be charged while the president was in office, according to a Justice Department opinion.


#11

Good capture of what has been going on with Mueller and those he serves - the citizens.

And Dahlia Lithwick writes,

“Somehow, in a deep misjudgment of the moment, Mueller released Moby Dick to a country that couldn’t quite be bothered to open a can of tuna. He asked us to read the report, and he trusted government officials and purveyors of the news to offer truthful summaries. Mueller cares deeply about democracy and the rule of law. But he has never been a man who would respond with anger or frustration in order to direct our attention toward himself. He believes he has done his job. He also believes the House of Representatives needs to do its constitutionally assigned job. He told us this, literally, in his report.”

Dahlia Lithwick is a Canadian-American writer and journalist. Lithwick is currently a contributing editor at Newsweek and senior editor at Slate. She primarily writes about law and politics in the United States.


#12

Robert Mueller Says He Didn’t Indict President Trump Because of OLC Opinion

During a line of questioning from Representative Ted Lieu (D-CA) on what constitutes the crime of obstruction of justice, former Special Counsel Robert Mueller says he did not bring an indictment against President Trump on obstruction of justice charges because of a Justice Department opinion that you cannot indict a sitting president. “That is correct,” Mueller says.

:eyes: Watch :point_down:


#13

Robert Mueller confirmed former White House counsel Don McGahn was pressured to lie by the White House about whether he was ever asked by Donald Trump to fire the former special counsel while testifying before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

"The president told the White House staff secretary, Rob Porter, to try to pressure [Don] McGahn to make a false denial. Is that correct?" Democrat Karen Bass asked Mr Mueller.

"That’s correct,” he replied.


#14

Rep Schiff is a very eloquent writer and a great legal mind. Here are his opening comments to Mueller.

Mueller testimony: Read the prepared opening statement from House Intelligence Chairman Adam B. Schiff

July 24, 2019

9:59 AM

Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Burbank), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, delivered the following statement at the Robert S. Mueller III hearing on Wednesday:

At the outset and on behalf of my colleagues, I want to thank you, Special Counsel Mueller, for a lifetime of service to the country.

Your report, for those who have taken the time to study it, is methodical and it is devastating, for it tells the story of a foreign adversary’s sweeping and systematic intervention in a close U.S. presidential election.

That should be enough to deserve the attention of every American, as you well point out. But your report tells another story as well. For the story of the 2016 presidential election is also a story about disloyalty to country, about greed, and about lies.

Your investigation determined that the Trump campaign – including Trump himself – knew that a foreign power was intervening in our election and welcomed it, built Russian meddling into their strategy, and used it.

Disloyalty to country. Those are strong words, but how else are we to describe a presidential campaign which did not inform the authorities of a foreign offer of dirt on their opponent, which did not publicly shun it, or turn it away, but which instead invited it, encouraged it, and made full use of it?

That disloyalty may not have been criminal. Constrained by uncooperative witnesses, the destruction of documents and the use of encrypted communications, your team was not able to establish each of the elements of the crime of conspiracy beyond a reasonable doubt, so not a provable crime, in any event. But, I think, maybe, something worse. A crime is the violation of a law written by Congress. But disloyalty to country violates the very obligation of citizenship, our devotion to a core principle on which our nation was founded, that we, the people, not some foreign power that wishes us ill, we decide, who shall govern, us.

This also a story about money, about greed and corruption, about the leadership of a campaign willing to compromise the nation’s interest not only to win, but to make money at the same time.

About a campaign chairman indebted to pro-Russian interests who tried to use his position to clear his debts and make millions. About a national security advisor using his position to make money from still other foreign interests. And about a candidate trying to make more money than all of them, through a real estate project that to him, was worth a fortune, hundreds of millions of dollars, and the realization of a lifelong ambition – a Trump Tower in the heart of Moscow. A candidate who, in fact, viewed his whole campaign as the greatest infomercial in history.

Donald Trump and his senior staff were not alone in their desire to use the election to make money. For Russia, too, there was a powerful financial motive. Putin wanted relief from U.S. economic sanctions imposed in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and over human rights violations. The secret Trump Tower meeting between the Russians and senior campaign officials was about sanctions. The secret conversations between Flynn and the Russian ambassador were about sanctions. Trump and his team wanted more money for themselves, and the Russians wanted more money for themselves, and for their oligarchs.

But the story doesn’t end here either. For your report also tells a story about lies. Lots of lies.

Lies about a gleaming tower in Moscow and lies about talks with the Kremlin. Lies about the firing of FBI Director James Comey, and lies about efforts to fire you, Mr. Mueller, and lies to cover it up. Lies about secret negotiations with the Russians over sanctions and lies about Wikileaks. Lies about polling data and lies about hush money payments. Lies about meetings in the Seychelles to set up secret back channels, and lies about a secret meeting in New York Trump Tower. Lies to the FBI, lies to your staff, and lies to our Committee.

And lies to obstruct an investigation into the most serious attack on our democracy by a foreign power in our history.

That is where your report ends, Mr. Mueller, with a scheme to cover up, obstruct and deceive every bit as systematic and pervasive as the Russian disinformation campaign itself, but far more pernicious since this rot came from within.

Even now, after 448 pages in two volumes, the deception continues. The President and his acolytes say your report found no collusion, though your report explicitly declined to address that question, since collusion can involve both criminal and non-criminal conduct.

Your report laid out multiple offers of Russian help to the Trump campaign, the campaign’s acceptance of that help, and overt acts in furtherance of Russian help. To most Americans, that is the very definition of collusion, whether it is a crime or not.

They say your report found no evidence of obstruction, though you outline numerous actions by the President intended to obstruct the investigation.

They say the President has been fully exonerated, though you specifically declare you could not exonerate him.

In fact, they say your whole investigation was nothing more than a witch hunt, that the Russians didn’t interfere in our election, that it’s all a terrible hoax. The real crime, they say, is not that the Russians intervened to help Donald Trump, but that the FBI had the temerity to investigate it when they did.

But worst of all, worse than all the lies and the greed, is the disloyalty to country, for that too, continues. When asked, if the Russians intervene again, will you take their help, Mr. President? Why not, was the essence of his answer. Everyone does it.

No, Mr. President, they don’t. Not in the America envisioned by Jefferson, Madison and Hamilton. Not for those who believe in the idea that Lincoln labored until his dying day to preserve, the idea animating our great national experiment, so unique then, so precious still — that our government is chosen by our people, through our franchise, and not by some hostile foreign power.

This is what is at stake. Our next election, and the one after that, for generations to come. Our democracy.

This is why your work matters, Mr. Mueller. This is why our investigation matters. To bring these dangers to light.


#15

Some live comments from NYT’s live analysis… Mueller needs to clarify what he had told Rep Ted Lieu in House Judiciary Committee in previous session. See below

  • Nicholas Fandos

Congressional Correspondent

1:13 PM ET

Mueller is now clarifying his exchange this morning with Representative Ted Lieu. This is important.

Maggie Haberman

White House Correspondent

1:14 PM ET

He’s clarifying his own answer.

  • Charlie Savage

Charlie Savage

Washington Correspondent

1:14 PM ET

Called it.

  • Nicholas Fandos

Nicholas Fandos

Congressional Correspondent

1:14 PM ET

Democrats had seized on that exchange, in which Mueller agreed that a Justice Department legal opinion had prevented him from charging President Trump for obstruction.

  • Katie Benner

Katie Benner

Department of Justice Reporter

1:14 PM ET

He corrects the record on the Justice Department opinion that a sitting president cannot be indicted: He says that he does not agree with Lieu’s assertion that Mueller didn’t prosecute Trump because of that opinion.


#16

This exchange relates to Rep Ratcliffe’s q’s to Mueller about what kind of effect the Steele Dossier had on the Russian investigation. Mueller will not answer and says it is a DOJ issue. He’s already gone over this in his opening statement.

Commentary below gives more details on what the FBI has done with the Steele Dossier.

### Charlie Savage

#### Washington Correspondent

1:33 PM ET

Ratcliffe asks a great question, given that a lot of what was in the Steele dossier didn’t turn out to be confirmed by the evidence Mueller gathered: “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?”

*** ### Charlie Savage**

#### Washington Correspondent

1:33 PM ET

To which Mueller demurs.

### Nicholas Fandos

#### Congressional Correspondent

1:34 PM ET

Mueller is able to do so in this case, again, because the Justice Department inspector general is examining this issue. His report is expected in the coming weeks.

### Adam Goldman

#### Washington Correspondent

1:35 PM ET

The F.B.I. had a team of analysts and agents vetting every line of the dossier. The F.B.I. even interviewed one of Steele’s main sources, who contributed a significant amount of information to the dossier.


(David Bythewood) #17



#18

Nunes is a Trumper and a conspiracist…stirring up the pot. See remarks from NYT’s live analyses who try to determine what he is saying.

  • Nicholas Fandos

Congressional Correspondent

1:19 PM ET

Now it is Nunes’ turn to ask questions.

  • Adam, can you help us with what Nunes is talking about here?

  • Adam Goldman

Adam Goldman

Washington Correspondent

1:21 PM ET

Nick, Nunes tried to assert that the F.B.I. opened its Russia investigation prior to the end of July 2016. There is no information to support that version of events.

  • Michael S. Schmidt

Michael S. Schmidt

Washington Correspondent

1:21 PM ET

Nunes is questioning the origination of the Flynn investigation. Important fact: Nunes has a longstanding close friendship with Flynn.

  • Nicholas Fandos

Nicholas Fandos

Congressional Correspondent

1:21 PM ET

Nunes has just put up a poster behind him of what appears to be Boris Johnson, the new British prime minister, and Joseph Mifsud.

  • Nunes: “What we are trying to figure out here, Mr. Mueller, is if our NATO allies or Boris Johnson had been compromised.”

  • Katie Benner

Katie Benner

Department of Justice Reporter

1:23 PM ET

Unsure what Nunes is talking about anymore!

  • Sharon LaFraniere

Sharon LaFraniere

Washington Investigative Reporter

1:23 PM ET

I have studied this for a long time but I can’t make heads or tails of Nunes’ line of questioning.

  • Katie Benner

Katie Benner

Department of Justice Reporter

1:24 PM ET

But it almost doesn’t matter what the lawmakers say. Mueller tells Nunes, as he’s told everyone, that he stands by what is in the report, and not necessarily by what is not in the report.

  • Adam Goldman

Adam Goldman

Washington Correspondent

1:25 PM ET

Sharon and Katie, to understand Nunes’ line of thinking, you need to be deeply familiar with right-wing theories that the F.B.I. cooked up this investigation and Mifsud was working for the West. There is no evidence any of this is true.

  • Nicholas Fandos

Nicholas Fandos

Congressional Correspondent

1:25 PM ET

Nunes is questioning the loyalties of Mifsud, I believe, trying to suggest that he was not a Russian agent in fact an agent of a Western power trying to help concoct a case against the Trump campaign.


#19

It’s over. Comments? Reactions? What did you all think?


#20

This was the moment that stuck with me,

“I hope this is not the new normal,” he told Representative Peter Welch, Democrat of Vermont, after the congressman asked him whether future political campaigns could accept foreign interference, “but I fear it is.”

Quote from New York Times