Robert Mueller Testifies before the House Judiciary Committee
Robert Mueller testified before the House Judiciary Committee and the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday morning. Muller was questioned by Democrats and Republicans but kept his promise and strictly discussed statements only regarding his report about the Trump campaign and Russia.
Although Mueller did not side with either party, he continued to discuss his process of the two-year investigation with Congress. Mueller began with his opening statement before the House Judiciary Committee.
“In May 2017, the active attorney general asked me to serve as special council, I undertook that role because I believe it was a paramount interests to the nation to determine whether a foreign advisory had interfered in the presidential election,” Mueller said.
Throughout the investigation they charged over 30 defendants with committing federal crimes. Many defendants are still in the trial process and have not been proven guilty, Mueller stated.
During the testimony many Democrats asked Mueller questions about his report to hopefully have him elaborate more on his findings about Trump campaign and Russia. Mueller kept the answers short and would not read his report, forcing Democrats to read statements from his report out loud.
In the testimony, Mueller was asked by Representative Ted Lieu about the reason the president was not indicted.
The Special Counsel could not indict the president due to the Office of Legal Counsel Rule which states, “The indictment or criminal prosecution of a sitting President would unconstitutionally undermine the capacity of the executive branch to perform its constitutionally assigned functions,” according to the United States Department of Justice.
“I’d like to ask you the reason, again, that you did not indict Donald Trump is because of OLC opinion stating that you cannot indict a sitting president, correct?” Lieu asked. “That is correct,” Mueller responded.
Mueller then clarifies the answer he stated to Rep. Lieu during the second part of the testimony.
“[W]hat I want to clarify is that we did not make any determination with regard of culpability in any way. We did not start that process down the road,” Mueller said.
Mueller was also asked whether he totally exonerated the President and he responded no. He was also asked if this investigation was a “witch hunt,” which is what Trump would repeatedly call this investigation. Mueller responded, “it is not a witch hunt.”
Republican Representative Tom McClintock criticized Mueller’s report by stating, “It is starting to look like having desperately tried to make a legal case against the President you made a political case instead.”
“I don’t think you reviewed a report that is thorough as fair as consistent as the report that we have in front of us,” Mueller responded.
Mueller did state during his testimony that Russian interference is still occurring. There has been evidence found that the Russians used social media to cause discord among American voters. Throughout the testimony Mueller made an effort to not mention anything about impeachment.
Following the Mueller testimony Trump spoke about the hearing.
“There was no defense to this ridiculous hoax, this witch hunt that’s been going on for a long time, pretty much from the time I came down from the escalator with our first lady. It’s a disgrace what happened, but I think today proved a lot to everybody today,” Trump said.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also commented after the Mueller hearing about impeachment.
“We want to have the strongest possible case, to make a decision as to what path we will go down, and that is not endless it terms of time or endless in terms of the information that we want, but if it comes to a point where the con of silence and obstruction of justice and the cover up in white house prevents us from getting that information that will not prevent us from going forward, and that is even more grounds for going forward,” Pelosi said.