dandyfopp

In dramatic testimony, Mueller says he did not exonerate Trump

dandyfopp
last year

In dramatic testimony, Mueller says he did not exonerate Trump

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-mueller/in-dramatic-testimony-mueller-says-he-did-not-exonerate-trump-idUSKCN1UJ0DF


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller on Wednesday defended the integrity of his Russia investigation during a dramatic congressional hearing and reiterated that he had not cleared President Donald Trump of obstruction of justice or, as the president has said, totally exonerated Trump.


Mueller appeared for eagerly anticipated testimony at the first of two back-to-back congressional hearings that carry high stakes for Trump and Democrats who are split between impeaching him or moving on to the 2020 election.

(here)

The former FBI director, who spent 22 months investigating Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election and Trump’s conduct, appeared first before the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee. The committee’s Democratic chairman, Jerrold Nadler, praised Mueller and said no one, including Trump, is “above the law.”


Mueller, 74, was surrounded by news photographers as he took his place in the packed hearing room, showing little apparent emotion as he scanned the scene.

“Obstruction of justice strikes at the core of the government’s efforts to find the truth and to hold wrongdoers accountable,” Mueller testified.

Trump has claimed that the Mueller inquiry resulted in the president’s “complete and total exoneration.” Asked by Nadler if he had exonerated Trump, Mueller said, “No.”

Mueller, accused by Trump of heading a “witch hunt” and trying to orchestrate a “coup” against the Republican president, said his inquiry was conducted in “a fair and independent manner” and that members of the special counsel’s team “were of the highest integrity.”

“Let me say one more thing,” Mueller said. “Over the course of my career, I have seen a number of challenges to our democracy. The Russian government’s effort to interfere with our election is among the most serious.”

In a comment sure to disappoint Republicans, Mueller said he would not answer questions about the origins of the Russia probe in the FBI before he was named to take over the inquiry in 2017 or about a controversial dossier compiled by a former British intelligence agent

Mueller was set to testify later in the day before the House Intelligence Committee. Democrats control the House, while Trump’s fellow Republicans control the Senate.

The hearing provided Democrats a chance to air publicly and in plain language the key findings of the sometimes dense Mueller report. Democrats entered the hearings hoping Mueller’s testimony would rally public support behind their own ongoing investigations of the president and his administration. Democrats are deeply divided over whether to launch the impeachment process set out in the U.S. Constitution for removing a president from office for “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

Mueller’s inquiry detailed numerous contacts between Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and Russia at a time when the Kremlin was interfering in the 2016 U.S. election with a scheme of hacking and propaganda to sow discord among Americans and boost Trump’s candidacy.


Mueller’s investigative report said the inquiry found insufficient evidence to establish that Trump and his campaign engaged in a criminal conspiracy with Russia. The report did not reach a conclusion on whether Trump committed the crime of obstruction of justice in a series of actions aimed at impeding the inquiry, but pointedly did not exonerate him. Attorney General William Barr, a Trump appointee, subsequently cleared the president of obstruction of justice.

The Justice Department has a longstanding policy against bringing criminal charges against a sitting president.

‘PRINCIPLES OF FAIRNESS’

In his opening statement, Mueller reiterated that his team had decided not to make a determination on the question of obstruction. “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 remains our decision today,” Mueller said.

Nadler said in his opening statement that Mueller conducted the inquiry with “remarkable integrity” and was “subjected to repeated and grossly unfair personal attacks.”

“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,” Nadler said.

But Republican congressman John Ratcliffe accused Mueller of exceeding his authority in the report’s extensive discussion of potential obstruction of justice by Trump after the special counsel made the decision not to draw a conclusion on whether Trump committed a crime. Ratcliffe agreed that Trump was not above the law, but said the president should not be “below the law” either.

The committee’s top Republican, Doug Collins, said the facts of the Mueller report are that “Russia meddled in the 2016 election. The president did not conspire with Russians. Nothing we hear today will change those facts.”

“The president watched the public narrative surrounding the investigation assume his guilt while he knew the extent of his innocence,” Collins said. “The president’s attitude toward the investigation was understandably negative, yet the president did not use his authority to close the investigation.”

Collins asked Mueller a series of rapid-fire questions.

Slideshow (17 Images)

“That went a little fast for me,” Mueller told Collins at one point.

Ahead of the hearing, Republicans objected to Democrats on the two committees allowing Aaron Zebley, the former deputy special counsel who had day-to-day oversight of investigations in the inquiry, to accompany Mueller.

“This was specifically NOT agreed to, and I would NEVER have agreed to it,” Trump wrote on Twitter on Wednesday morning before the hearing began. Trump also complained that Mueller had not investigated various of the president’s foes including 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and, referring to the former special counsel, “HIMSELF.”

Trump has repeatedly assailed the inquiry as a “witch hunt” and an attempted “coup,” accused Mueller of having conflicts of interest and called the special counsel’s team of lawyers “thugs” with a Democratic political agenda. Trump is hoping to move beyond the Russia investigation as he runs for re-election in 2020, with a large field of Democratic candidates competing for their party’s nomination to challenge him.

Mueller’s investigation led to criminal charges against 34 people and three Russian entities. People who were convicted at trial or pleaded guilty included Trump’s former campaign chairman and other aides.

The Justice Department on Monday sent a letter telling Mueller to limit his testimony to merely discussing what is written in the report, a directive that the two committee chairmen rejected as exceeding the department’s authority.

Mueller appeared for his testimony reluctantly and only after being subpoenaed.

Until Wednesday, Mueller had not faced questioning in public about his findings. He remained silent when the Justice Department on April 18 released a redacted version of his 448-page investigation report, which the special counsel had submitted to Attorney General Barr the prior month. Mueller made a nine-minute statement to reporters on May 29 at the Justice Department but took no questions.

Mueller, who served as Federal Bureau of Investigation director from 2001 to 2013 under presidents in both parties, was named as special counsel by the Justice Department in May 2017 to take over the FBI’s Russia probe after Trump fired James Comey as the agency’s chief. Mueller’s inquiry lasted 22 months.

With a no-nonsense reputation, Mueller is a Marine Corps combat veteran from the Vietnam War who later served as a federal prosecutor and became the architect of the modern FBI after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.

Comments (275)

  • Ann
    last year
    last modified: last year

    "I wonder if they have even stopped and given any thought to what was said in the report and reaffirmed by Mueller.It is astounding that they can be accepting of his behaviour and that of his campaign. "

    "You would think those that were so excited and pleased by the promise of aggressive action to remove the illegals would be questioning why it didn't happen and demanding that he do what he promised to do...but they won't. They will defend, excuse and deflect.

    I don't know what it will take to have more of his base wake up to what his game plan is...that they are the ones he is playing. Most never will........"

    "I know that the Trump supporters don't care that he lies continually about all things big and small. However, one would think they would care when he flat out lies to them about something they are so passionate about. "

    There was a concerted effort with the middle of these three quotes above, as the poster reposted it, for impact, two additional times in the very same thread.

    Let me try a comparable example of a blatant attempt at shaming, in order to make my point. It is astounding that they (Canadians) can accept a government that makes all the decisions for its people, that they don't have the backbone to stand up against socialism, and that they are incapable of thinking for themselves. But, it doesn't matter how many times you say it, they just keep wagging their tails and doing what they're told to do. Those Canadians act like bobbleheads.

  • Carro
    last year

    They also just accept every new tax without so much as a whimper.

  • chase_gw
    last year

    My comments about Trump supporters are no different that your comments about liberals, except that I don't take your comments about liberals personally.

    Have at it...I will not be party to derailing threads with deflections to our personal differences. You can continue to do that if you wish....but as I said ..I will not be party to it.

  • Ann
    last year

    "Ann, why do you insist on going there ? How do your comments directed personally at me move the conversation forward?

    I absolutely recognize how many comments I make in this regard. Do you realize how many times you comment on liberals being way out there in their thinking? Is there a difference?

    One thing I know to be different......I don't internalize your criticism of liberals the way you internalize my critism of Trump supporters.

    You need to figure out a way to get me out of your head."

    Why do I insist on going there? My example about "Canadians" above is exactly why. Even if I truly feel that way about Canadians, that would be a rude and useless kind of comment to make and make and make. It is your oft-repeated comments like this that prevent conversations from moving forward. You may not agree with Trump supporters or Trump voters, but the constant attempts at shaming are an unnecessary part of any discussion. These comments are meant to bash Trump voters (including posters who happen to be Trump supporters), just as a comment like that about Canadians would likely be meant to bash you and some of the other Canadian posters. Chase, it's rude, it's not sticking to topics, it's snark at its finest, and it does not move conversation forward. As far as getting you out of my head, it's because you're the one doing this and doing it in nearly every thread and with a large percentage of your comments. You can keep doing it but I don't have a requirement to ignore comments like that as you have chosen to bring them to and make them part of conversation after conversation.

  • Ann
    last year

    "My comments about Trump supporters are no different that your comments about liberals, except that I don't take your comments about liberals personally."

    Yes, they are very different! We have significantly different commenting styles.

  • chase_gw
    last year
    last modified: last year

    That is your opinion and you are welcome to it. .....but please think of that when you say such nasty things about crazy left wing liberals . Style is a matter of style.....I don't find yours balanced or necessarily logical in thier composition.......I just don't say so. What purpose would that serve?

    ETA...we have bored the rest enough ...done

  • barncatz
    last year

    Schiff: “I gather you believe knowingly accepting foreign assistance during a presidential campaign is an unethical thing to do.”

    Mueller: “And a crime in given circumstances."

    Schiff: "...also unpatriotic."

    Mueller: "True."

  • Carro
    last year

    I'll bet Mueller would agree that soliciting foreign assistance to get dirt on one's political opponent and set him up for an investigation is a crime and unpatriotic.

    Your example above never happened. My example did.


  • Jenn TheCaLLisComingFromInsideTheHouse
    last year

    Previous elections are PREVIOUS ELECTIONS! Can't travel back in time to ensure that an election is protected from foreign interference (or any interference that undermines our democratic republic and voter confidence in elections).

    What is being done now? Other than McConnell being the legislative grim reaper.

  • Carro
    last year

    Let's not hold Obama responsible. Got it.

    Say, why don't you call your Representative and ask what measures are being taken in your state to prevent election hacking and fraud.

    You know, the Left are so apoplectic about election interference in an election that hasn't happened yet they don't care that you don't even an I.D. to vote.

    Go figure.

  • Jenn TheCaLLisComingFromInsideTheHouse
    last year

    Obama privately warned Trump that Russian election interference was, at the very least, something attempted - based on US intelligence briefings.

    It's not like Obama could issue an executive order on election security!

    Also, you're wrong about there being no election interference or hacking against federal and state elections on the part of foreign interests.

  • Carro
    last year

    It's not like Obama could issue an executive order on election security!

    Why not?

    Why did he tell his cyber team to stand down?

  • maifleur01
    last year

    No one on here knows what Trump's team and McConnell told Obama. He may have been told to butt out they had it.

  • Jenn TheCaLLisComingFromInsideTheHouse
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Because executive orders can only be issued for certain things, and any practical/rational plan for election security requires LEGISLATION setting forth how it will be done, what it will apply to, who will be doing it, and getting funding allocated by congress.

  • judeNY_gw
    last year

    Deflection. Let's talk about anything but the content of Mueller's testimony.

  • chase_gw
    last year

    Jude, it is noticeable and telling that the one thing Trump supporters will not discuss is the substance of the report and Mueller's testimony.

    FACT

    The Trump campaign knew and willingly accepted help from the Russian government because they felt it would help him win. The campaign manager went so far as to directly provide Russia with polling data and other voter information on the highly contested mid west States, MI, PA, MN, and WI for the purpose of disseminating true FAKE news.

    FACT

    Mueller sets forth in great detail , with supporting evidence, 10 instances of obstruction of justice by Trump. He refused to make a determination on whether Trump should be indicted or not but clearly states he followed DOJ policy to not indict a sitting President. He goes out of his way to say the they would have exonerated Trump if they could ( Volume one proves that he would have)

    He states a President can be charged with crimes committed in office after he leaves office. Additionally, he states in the report that he is recording all this information so it may be used if necessary in future proceedings.

    Would they accept unquestioningly that behaviour from the previous President? Will they accept it from the next Democratic President? Is this the new norm of Presidential behaviour and ethics that has become acceptable?

  • MMT
    last year

    Morning Joe's new title for trump - "Unindicted Criminal Trump". Works for me.

  • elvis
    last year

    He goes out of his way to say the they would have exonerated Trump if they could.

    Not in those words ^^^ but let's move on. We don't "exonerate". We find probable cause or we don't. We find guilty or not guilty.

    FTR, Mueller never said "we would have exonerated Trump if we could". Never happened.

  • chase_gw
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Elvis I did not indicate I was quoting exact text...here is the actual wording. Make of it what you want...as I know you will.

    “Our investigation found multiple acts by the President that were
    capable of exerting undue influence over law enforcement investigations,
    including the Russian-interference and obstruction investigations,”
    Mueller wrote. “The incidents were often carried out through one-on-one
    meetings in which the President sought to use his official power outside
    of usual channels. These actions ranged from efforts to remove the
    Special Counsel and to reverse the effect of the Attorney General’s
    recusal; to the attempted use of official power to limit the scope of
    the investigation; to direct and indirect contacts with witnesses with
    the potential to influence their testimony..............“the indictment or criminal prosecution of a sitting President would
    impermissibly undermine the capacity of the executive branch to perform
    its constitutionally assigned functions” in violation of “the
    constitutional separation of powers.”

    “Because we determined not to make a traditional prosecutorial
    judgment, we did not draw ultimate conclusions about the President’s
    conduct........”

    ”[I]f 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, we are
    unable to reach that judgment.”

    In other words he did NOT exonerate him.

    ETA
    "We find guilty or not guilty.".......no , that's the job of the courts which in this case Trump is immune from......for now.

  • Stan Areted
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Mueller never could "exonerate" anyone, there were never any charges.

    What a silly and useless and extremely expensive exercise for losers to prove they are losers.

    This is something we already knew.

  • elvis
    last year

    Words matter.

    FACT

    Mueller sets forth in great detail , with supporting evidence, 10 instances of obstruction of justice by Trump. He refused to make a determination on whether Trump should be indicted or not but clearly states he followed DOJ policy to not indict a sitting President. He goes out of his way to say the they would have exonerated Trump if they could ( Volume one proves that he would have)

  • chase_gw
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Show me the quotation marks. This is clearly my interpenetration , which by the way I stand by. In Volume 1 Mueller exonerates Trump of criminal conspiracy. In Volume 2 he refuses to do so........

    Yes words matter. Mueller's more so than mine.

  • chase_gw
    last year

    You folk do trip over your self. Mueller never said that he exonerated Trump...I don't think he even used that word in the report. Trump said Mueller exonerated him.

  • vgkg Z-7 Va
    last year

    There is a deep state going on concerning trump, a deep state of denial.

  • vgkg Z-7 Va
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Yeah, it's pretty apparent alright. They don't even care about trump's meetings with putin of which no one even knows what they talked about other than putin and his translator, weird is too much of an understatement.

  • justerrilynn
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Yes words matter. Mueller's more so than mine.

    But, does Mueller even know the difference between his words and those from biased Trump haters who wrote the words? I wonder if Mueller today remembers yesterday? Does Mueller even know he’s a Mueller?

    Anyhoo, Dem’s please proceed with impeachment. It’s working out so wonderfully. Keep running on Trump hate. Slowly but surely you are showing your true selves as America haters, name callers and general Negative Nellies. People like to hang with people who are full of gloom and never have anything positive to say. Yep, keep it up.

    All the better for us happy people in 2020.

  • Ann
    last year

    "Yes words matter. Mueller's more so than mine."

    Well, it's not Mueller that is here on this thread posting so called "FACT"s. That would be you Chase, in your words, and calling them "FACT"s.

  • Ann
    last year

    "Anyhoo, Dem’s please proceed with impeachment. It’s working out so wonderfully."

    I agree!

  • dandyfopp
    Original Author
    last year

    Judge Box of Wine tells us how the DEEP STATE Hillary lovers colluded with Russia to defeat Hillary so they could spend years crucifying Donnie.


    I guess it makes sense if you struggle to stay conscious.

  • chase_gw
    last year
    last modified: last year

    What I posted was factual. I did not quote Mueller directly nor did I indicate I did. Mueller did not exonerate Trump......quite the opposite.

  • Kathy
    last year

    Mueller used a different word than exonerate.

  • Ziemia
    last year

    Trump was not cleared of election wrongdoings nor of obstruction.

  • elvis
    last year

    They don't even care about trump's meetings with putin of which no one even knows what they talked about

    Exactly. What do you think they talked about?

  • vgkg Z-7 Va
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Have no idea, no one does, that's the point. You trust trump?....oops, silly question.

  • Prim Rose
    last year

    It's not like we don't have context about trump. His secret meeting with a known murdering dictator would lead any thinking person question his motives.

    it's not like trump didn't lie repeatedly about expanding his business into Russia. it's not like we haven't watched trump ridicule other Americans while overseas and sitting next to and wink winking at Putin. it's not like we haven't seen his salute one of Kim's minions.

    Wake up!!!

  • Kathy
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Trump is making more money from other countries than he did before he ran for office. We are on the way to the exact governing of how Putin controls Russia. Do Trump a favor and line his pockets and you can get away with murder, literally.

  • Delilah66
    last year
    last modified: last year

    I am POSITIVE trump lies. I am POSITIVE Mueller does not lie. I am POSITIVE trump cannot form cogent sentences longer than 3 words with no errors. I am POSITIVE Mueller can speak with clarity and correctly. I am POSITIVE trump rails at opposition. I am POSITIVE Mueller accepts and deals with opposition effectively. I am POSITIVE trump is not admirable. I am POSITIVE Mueller IS.

  • bleusblue2
    last year

    elvis

    They don't even care about trump's meetings with putin of which no one even knows what they talked about

    Exactly. What do you think they talked about?

    ~~~~

    Putin's new grandchild? Complimentary stay at Trump's hotel? Hillary's emails? Nuclear secret documents? Since it was a tete a tete and no record exists, we can suspect anything we like.

  • Prim Rose
    last year

    If Karma were real, then truly hateful people who spread hate and falsehoods would be zapped.


  • Kathy
    last year

    Mueller has more integrity in his little finger than Trump has in his whole body.

    When all is said and done I hope Republicans realize they voted for an oligarchy not a democratic republic.

  • vgkg Z-7 Va
    last year

    Oh they realize it now, they realized it yesterday, they realized it when they cheered with glee when the SC gave a thumbs up to Citizens United.

  • Ziemia
    last year

    This Republican party can't win in a situation where every citizen registered to vote gets one vote.

    The GOP can't win based on voting unless there's interference.

  • queenmargo
    last year

    If Karma were real, then truly hateful people who spread hate and falsehoods would be zapped.

    Many have been ')

  • Kathy
    last year

    Lol—-what’s funny, is most of them were in the Trump administration of crooks.

  • queenmargo
    last year

    Kathy- I wasn't speaking of any political administration, LOL

  • cattyles
    last year

    Kathy, they would have to care enough to look up “oligarchy”.

  • barncatz
    last year

    They mocked and scoffed at a war hero and honorable public servant in order to defend a draft-dodging liar and corporate fraud. For every through line of fact, they concocted an equal and opposite farrago of fantasy. The truly chilling thing about the hearings, however, is that the Republicans were obviously not trying to persuade the wider public; they were each vying to ingratiate themselves with one audience alone: their dear leader. This is how parties behave in authoritarian states, not liberal democratic ones.

    Andrew Sullivan, The American System is Already Failing


    http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/07/andrew-sullivan-the-american-system-is-already-failing.html

  • Ann
    last year

    "Many have been ')"

    Daily and time and time and time again.

  • Ziemia
    last year

    Yes, the revolving door which serves the Trump admin isn't slowing.

  • bleusblue2
    last year

    barncatz

    ....< >....

    The truly chilling thing about the hearings, however, is that the Republicans were obviously not trying to persuade the wider public; they were each vying to ingratiate themselves with one audience alone: their dear leader. This is how parties behave in authoritarian states, not liberal democratic ones.

    http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/07/andrew-sullivan-the-american-system-is-already-failing.html

    ~~~~

    from barncatz's post -- YES, this is exactly what we all saw.