Mueller concludes day of testimony
by Harvest Prude
Posted 7/24/19, 06:02 pm
WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump and his allies sought to frame former special counsel Robert Mueller’s testimony before Congress on Wednesday as a win for the president. In back-to-back hearings of the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees, Mueller largely reiterated the conclusions of his two-year investigation, pushing back on partisan talking points from members of both parties. After the hearing, Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale called the day “a disaster for Democrats,” adding, “This entire spectacle has always been about the Democrats trying to undo the legitimate result of the 2016 election, and today they again failed miserably.” Meanwhile, the president tweeted that he would “like to thank the Democrats for holding this morning’s hearings.”
In his opening statements, Mueller said he would not speak to anything outside the purview of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. He pushed back on Republicans’ questions of whether the probe was biased against Trump, denying the president’s characterization of the investigation as a “witch hunt.” Mueller declined to discuss the origins of the inquiry, referring lawmakers instead to the FBI.
In his hearing before the Intelligence Committee Wednesday afternoon, Mueller retracted one aspect of his testimony from his time in front of the Judiciary Committee that morning, when Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif, asked if he didn’t indict Trump on obstruction of justice charges due to the Department of Justice policy that it cannot indict a sitting president. Mueller responded, “That is correct.” But in the afternoon session, he retracted it, clarifying that “we did not reach a determination as to whether the president committed a crime.”
Mueller also honed in on national security concerns raised in the report, calling foreign attempts to interfere with U.S. elections among the most serious threats to American democracy he had witnessed. He urged lawmakers and national security officials to respond swiftly and not “let this problem continue to linger as it has over so many years.”
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Harvest is a reporter for WORLD based in Washington, D.C.