Mueller says Trump ‘not exculpated’
by Harvest Prude
Posted 7/24/19, 12:58 pm
WASHINGTON—During a congressional hearing Wednesday morning, former special counsel Robert Mueller contradicted President Donald Trump’s claims that the Russia investigation had put to rest concerns that the president obstructed justice. In a three-hour meeting of the House Judiciary Committee, Mueller affirmed the conclusions of his two-year investigation, which found that the Trump campaign did not conspire with the Russians to interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election but made no judgment on whether the president might have committed crimes by attempting to interfere with the inquiry. At one point, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., asked Mueller directly whether he had exonerated the president of obstruction of justice. “No,” Mueller said, adding that Trump “was not exculpated for the acts he allegedly committed.”
Democrats pushed for Mueller to testify, hoping his televised appearance would have a greater effect on the public’s view of the president than the release of the report itself. In his opening statement, Mueller noted that it “is unusual for a prosecutor to testify about a criminal investigation” and insisted his testimony would “necessarily be limited.” In response to lawmakers’ questions, Mueller frequently gave brief, one-word “yes” or “no” answers or referred members to what he had written in the report. He also said he would not answer questions “outside my purview.” Along those lines, Mueller refused to answer Republican lawmakers’ questions regarding the origins of the Russia investigation, saying it started before he came on as special counsel. He also declined to say whether any of the president’s conduct was “impeachable.”
Minutes before the hearing began, Trump took to Twitter to offer his version of events, calling Mueller “highly conflicted” and tweeting “NO COLLUSION, NO OBSTRUCTION!”
Mueller will appear before the House Intelligence Committee for a second hearing Wednesday afternoon.
Read more from The Sift Sign up for The Sift email
Harvest is a reporter for WORLD based in Washington, D.C.