Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller testified in front of the House Judiciary Committee for over three hours this morning mainly over Volume II mainly on obstruction.

Mueller did not provide new answers and told the representatives over 100 to refer to his report.

Mueller’s Actual Words

The Democrats admitted they didn’t expect to hear anything new, but wanted to give the report more attention.

I doubt it worked because Mueller has told Congress over 100 times to refer to his report, he would not speculate, or that he cannot comment due to ongoing investigations.

Goehmert Asked About Staff

Texas Republican Rep. Louie Goehmert brought up the staff and asked Mueller if he knew their political background. Goehmert brought up Peter Strzok, who exchanged anti-Trump texts with his mistress.

Mueller said that he did not know about their political beliefs.

The interaction also makes people believe the investigation was staff driven instead of by Mueller. Mueller also said that he did not sit in on many interviews.

Hank Johnson Opposes Impeachment Inquiry

Democratic Rep. Hank Johnson said he does not support to open an impeachment inquiry since he thinks it lacks public support. Democratic Rep. Ted Deutch agreed:

But both men are active participants in the Democratic strategy, which has involved a heavy focus on the summer of 2017, shortly after the first news report surfaced that President Trump was being investigated by Mr. Mueller for possible obstruction of justice.

That article prompted Mr. Trump to call then-White House counsel Don McGahn to “direct him to have the Special Counsel removed,” the Mueller report found.

“You gotta do this. You gotta call Rod,” Mr. Trump said, in a reference to the then deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein.

Impeachment

Rep. Jim Sensenbremmer (R) asked Mueller why he did not refer any of his findings to the House for possible impeachment of Trump.

Mueller said it is not his job:

“We have studiously kept in the center of our investigation our mandate. The mandate does not go to other ways of addressing conduct. Our mandate goes to developing the report,” Mr. Mueller said.

During the Clinton impeachment, independent counsel Ken Starr referred a report to Congress outlining possible impeachable conduct.

As independent counsel, Mr. Starr was operating under a different legal framework than Mr. Mueller, but Mr. Sensenbrenner noted that nothing would have stopped Mr. Mueller from doing the same.

Collins Questions Mueller

Mueller confirms that no one curtailed, hindered, or stopped his investigation.

Mueller also said that collusion and conspiracy are not essentially synonymous terms.

Nadler Questions Mueller

Mueller confirmed to Nadler that his report did not vindicate, exonerate, or exculpate Trump. He also said that the investigators agreed to follow DOJ guidelines that a president cannot be indicted and determined not to make a decision on that.

He also said that he cannot prove Trump didn’t commit a crime.

The second volume of the report detailed episodes of alleged obstruction of justice, but did not reach a conclusion if he committed a crime.

Robert Mueller’s Opening Statement

Mueller sworn in. Each member gets 5 minutes to question him.

Mueller said that his team did not investigate collusion because it is not a legal term.

He also reminded the members that he cannot comment on any ongoing investigations. This includes the origins of the probe or the Steele dossier:

Mr. Mueller notes that his team of investigators and prosecutors charged more than 30 defendents with federal crimes, including 12 officers of Russian military. Seven individuals have convicted or pleaded guilty.

Mr. Mueller says he will not be able to answer questions about areas he knows are of public interest, including questions about the opening of the FBI’s Russia ivestigation.

Ranking Member Rep. Doug Collins

Collins provided his own statement:

Rep. Doug Collins, the ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, says in his opening statement that the president’s attitude toward the Mueller probe was “understandably negative” but says the president “did not shut down the investigation.”

Mr. Collins also said he planned to press Mr. Mueller about the origins of the Mueller probe, which allies of the president say began with an improper reliance on a dossier of salacious and unsubstantiated reports from a former British spy.

He said: “The majority’s dislike of this president and endless hearings into a closed investigation have caused us to accomplish nothing except talk about the problems of our country while our border is on fire and in crisis and everything else is stopped. “

Nadler Opens Hearing

Nadler just opened the Judiciary Committee:

“Responsibility, integrity, and accountability: these are the marks by which we who serve on this Committee will be measured as well,” Mr. Nadler said according to a prepared statement.

After thanking Mr. Mueller for his long career in public service as a combat Marine, Justice Department official and FBI director, Mr. Nadler said: “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.”

Mr. Nadler also highlighted a few incidents in particular from the Mueller report — hinting that the Democrats may make it a focus of the Judiciary Committee hearing.

“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 ever 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,” Mr. Nadler said.

“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 this way would have been charged with a crime. And in this nation, not even the President is above the law,” Mr. Nadler said.

Trump Tweets

Trump tweeted about the hearing this morning:

Details About the Hearing

Like I said the hearing will last from 8:30-11:30 in the Rayburn House Office Building.

All 41 members of the Judiciary Committee will question Mueller. Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler insists that Mueller will “air ‘very substantial evidence’ of wrongdoing” by President Donald Trump

However, Mueller spokesman Jim Popkin said Mueller will provide a brief opening statement and “not expected to veer from his written conclusions.”

Mueller said in his brief press conference in May that if he testified before Congress he “would not provide information beyond that which is already public.”

Democrats admitted they may not receive new information from Mueller:

“I don’t think he’s going to change the world when he comes in,” said Rep. Karen Bass, who is a member of the Judiciary committee. “But I do think its going to be very important because the Trump administration was so deliberate in dissuading people from the report…hopefully there will be renewed interest in the report after Mueller testified.”

 
 
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