Robert Mueller avoided questions from legislators nearly 200 times during the testimony of Russia


Below are the 10 most important takeaways from Robert Mueller's testimony for the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees on Wednesday.

Mueller said everything he wanted to say in his report

When Mueller finally agreed to testify before Congress – after more than two years of silence about the Russian investigation – the Special Counsel said that he would not provide information that goes beyond what is already public & # 39; in the report that was published in April.

He kept that promise at the Wednesday hearing and refused or postponed nearly 200 questions from committee members.

Mueller's reasons for not responding were, among other things, not wanting to speculate, not being able to detail the internal deliberations of the Ministry of Justice and being instructed not to raise specific issues.

Trump paid attention


After saying he couldn't take the trouble to look at Mueller's testimony, President Trump made it clear that he was attuned while tweeting multiple responses to the proceedings on Wednesday.

& # 39; I'm not going to look at Mueller because you can't get all those snacks out of the apple, & # 39; Trump said to reporters in the Oval Office on Monday. & # 39; We had no collusion, no obstruction. & # 39;

Before the hearing even began, Trump had posted seven tweets about the hearing, following his attacks on & # 39; Mueller & his band of 18 Angry Democrats & # 39 ;.

In the next eight hours, 14 messages tweet and retweet about Mueller's testimony, including several videos from Republican legislators grilling the Special Counselor.

& # 39; TRUTH IS A POWER OF NATURE! & # 39; he stated just after 2.30 p.m.

Mueller did not summon Trump to avoid a lengthy lawsuit

The Special Counsel discussed why Trump was not interviewed during the two-year investigation when New York Democratic Rep. Sean Maloney asked him: "Why didn't you summon the President?"


Trump's legal team had refused to have him interviewed in the probe because they felt that such a meeting amounted to a & # 39; perjury fall & # 39 ;.

Before the conference, Mueller stated that his team & # 39; little success & # 39; had insisted on an interview for more than a year and decided that they did not want to delay the investigation with a lengthy lawsuit.

& # 39; We did not want to practice the summons because of the need to speed up the end of the investigation, & # 39; he said, adding that no one at the Department of Justice was pressuring him to finish the probe.

Mueller acknowledged that Trump's written answers to questions about possible conspiracy with Russia were not as useful as the interview would be.

Trump was not acquitted by the Russia investigation


Jerry Nadler, a New York democrat, chairman of the judicial committee, started the proceedings on Wednesday by directly asking Mueller if the Russian investigation had acquitted President Trump.

& # 39; No, & # 39; Mueller said without hesitation.

That goes against the repeated claims of the president that the probe proved that there is & # 39; no obstruction, no collusion & # 39; used to be.

Mueller's team has never determined whether Trump has committed a crime

Although the majority of his answers were simple and technical, Mueller struggled with the question of why he had not sued the president.


During an exchange with Californian Democratic Representative Ted Lieu, Mueller stated that the reason he did not even accuse Trump of being charged with obstruction was due to guidelines from the DOJ & # 39; s Office of Legal Counsel that a sitting president cannot be charged. .

This goes against claims made by Attorney General William Barr, who has repeatedly said that the opinion of the OLC was not the only reason why Mueller did not sue Trump.

Republican Rep Debbie Lesko from Arizona asked Mueller to clarify that contradiction, at which point he said he should look at it better & # 39 ;.

He later admitted that he had made a mistake when he characterized the leadership of the OLC to Lieu.

& # 39; We have not come to a decision whether the President has committed a crime & # 39 ;, he said.


& # 39; Based on the Ministry of Justice policies and the principles of fairness, we decided that we would not decide whether the President committed a crime. & # 39;

Mueller was much less stable than in previous hearings

Sometimes Mueller, 74, stumbled during answers and asked quickly speaking legislators to repeat page citations and repeat their questions. He sometimes had to search the hearing room to find people.

Although his standard answer was to say that problems were outside his mandate, he sometimes did not seem to remember specific information.

& # 39; What do you read about? & # 39; he asked a member, Rep. James Sensenbrenner. & # 39; I am reading my question, & # 39; said the Republican legislator in Wisconsin.

When interrogated by Republican representative Steve Chabot, Mueller did not immediately become acquainted with political intelligence company Fusion GPS, a major player in the wake of the Steele Dossier, and a concern of President Trump and GOP critics of the Mueller probe.

Viewers who responded to social media called Mueller's instability early on and noticed that he was & # 39; like a confused old man & # 39; behaved.

Some said that the wobbly execution could be a delaying tactic on the part of the special counsel to frustrate Republican committee members who were determined to discredit findings that are harmful to Trump.

Mueller and Trump have contradictory explanations of what led to a special appointment of counsel

Republicans investigated Mueller's professional ties with Trump in an attempt to show that he might have had a reason to be biased against the president – in particular whether he was rejected for the position of the FBI director the day before he was tapped to lead the Russian investigation.


Trump gave his version of the events on Wednesday morning by tweeting: & # 39; Robert Mueller is reported to have not applied and applied for the position of FBI Director (and was rejected) the day before he was wrongly appointed as a special counselor.

& # 39; I hope he does not say that we have countless witnesses to the interview under oath, including the vice-president of the United States! & # 39;

Mueller contradicted Trump's report when Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert from Texas seized his alleged conflicts of interest.

Gohmert asked Mueller to meet with Trump the day before the special appointment of the counsel and claimed that it was a job interview for the FBI director.

Mueller stated that he is not & # 39; as a candidate & # 39; before the position was interviewed.


Mueller fiercely defended the impartiality of his team


The Special Counsel was calm and composed throughout the proceedings, except for a moment when Republican Rep. Greg Steube of Florida closed off the political preferences of the lawyers in his team.

Mueller never said in his 25 years in his position that he had felt the need to ask the people he works with about their political beliefs.

Rep Gohmert also questioned Mueller's recruitment practices, in particular his appointment as FBI agent Peter Strzok – who was later removed from the probe after it was determined that he had sent anti-Trump text messages to a woman he was involved with. .

Mueller said he did not know Strzok's contempt for Trump before the probe started and heard about it in the summer of 2017, a few months after the investigation.


Republicans tried to gather evidence for an investigation into Mueller's investigation

Republican committee members tried both the explosion of the origin of the Russian probe and possibly a record that could possibly be released in an ongoing investigation under the supervision of Attorney General William Barr.

& # 39; Before you were arrested in July 2017 (Trump campaign foreign policy assistant), he received $ 10,000 in ashes in Israel. Do you know who gave him that money? & # 39; California Rep Devin Nunes asked Mueller.

& # 39; Again, that is outside of our … questions such as those to be asked to the FBI or department, & # 39; Mueller said.

& # 39; But it was your research, & # 39; said Nunes.

"They were people who were involved in my research," Mueller said.

Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow published a statement saying: & # 39; This morning's testimony uncovered the troubling shortcomings of the special council's investigation. The testimony showed that this probe was performed by a small group of politically biased prosecutors who, as hard as they tried, could not detect any obstruction, conspiracy or conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia. It is also clear that the Special Counsel carried out his two-year investigation unhindered. The American people understand that this issue is over. They also understand that the case is closed. & # 39;

Democrats tried to bring a dense, technical report to life

The Democrats, who have a majority in both committees, have made a joint effort to present the findings of the investigation in a more provocative and destructive light than in the close report of 337 pages.

& # 39; Your research has found that the Trump campaign – including Trump himself – knew that a foreign power intervened in our elections and built this welcome Russian involvement into their strategy and used it, & # 39; California Rep Adam Schiff, the House Intelligence Committee chair, said when the afternoon session began.

& # 39; Infidelity to the country. Those are strong words, but how else should we describe a presidential campaign that did not inform the authorities of a foreign offer of rubbish on their opponents, that it did not publicly shun or decline, but that instead invited it, encouraged it , and made full use of it? & # 39; Schiff went on.

& # 39; That unfaithfulness might not have been punishable. Restricted by non-cooperating witnesses, the destruction of documents and the use of encrypted communication, your team was unable to determine all elements of the conspiracy crime without reasonable doubt, so in any case, no demonstrable crime & # 39 ;, added he ready.

However, a sober Mueller did not play a part, which led to a rather everyday hearing.

Reporting by Megan Sheets for

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