The House Committee on the Judiciary opened their hearing with former special counsel Robert Mueller earlier today as Democrats looked forward to hopefully and finally finding some dirt on President Donald Trump through some additional political theater while Republicans look for closure and the possibility of revealing more details on the origins of this seemingly never ending Russian collusion investigation. First we’ll hear from former federal prosecutor David Weinstein and then tune into the opening statement of Republican Doug Collins of Georgia.
Mr. Weinstein said, “I think it’s going to start off and conclude as partisan theater. The Democrats are going to be asking certain questions to expand the scope of what they hope is going to be an impeachment proceeding. The Republicans are going to be asking questions that are going to lead to an answer that would say this is a closed investigation and the results of my investigation are in the report.”
Chairman Jerry Nadler (D–N.Y.) said, “Thank you again Director Mueller. We look forward to your testimony. It is now my pleasure to recognize the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, the gentleman from Georgia, Mr. Collins for his opening statement.”
Rep. Collins said, “Thank you Mister Chairman. And thank you Mr. Mueller for being here. For two years leading up to the release of the Mueller report and in the three months since, Americans were first told what to expect and what to believe. Collusion, we were told, was in plain sight even if the special counsel’s team didn’t find it. When Mr. Mueller produced his report, and Attorney General Barr provided to every American, we read no American conspired with Russia to interfere in our elections but learned the depths of Russia’s malice toward America. We are here to ask serious questions about Mr. Mueller’s work and we will do that. After an extended and unhampered investigation, today marks the end of Mr. Mueller’s involvement in an investigation that closed in April. The burden of proof on accusations that remain unproven is extremely high and especially in light of the special counsel’s thoroughness.“
So after more than two and a half years and over $35 million taxpayer dollars, the American public is treated to yet one more intensive review about things revealed in the now infamous Mueller report straight from the horse’s mouth and briefly summarized by Rep. Collins.
Rep. Collins said, “We are told that this investigation began as an inquiry into whether Russia meddled in our 2016 election. Mr. Mueller, you concluded they did. Russians accessed Democrat servers and disseminated sensitive information by tricking campaign insiders into revealing protected information. The investigation also reviewed whether Donald Trump, the president, sought Russian assistance as a candidate to win the presidency. Mr. Mueller concluded he did not. His family or advisers did not. In fact the report concludes no one in the president’s campaign colluded, collaborated or conspired with a Russian. The president watched the public narrative surrounding this investigation assume his guilt, while he knew the extent of his innocence. Volume II of Mr. Mueller’s report details the president’s reaction to a frustrating investigation where his innocence was established early on. The president’s attitude was understandably negative. Yet the president did not use his authority to close the investigation. He asked his lawyer if Mr. Mueller had conflicts that would disqualify Mr. Mueller from the investigation but he did not shut down the investigation. The president knew he was innocent. Those are the facts of the Mueller report. Russia meddled in the 2016 election, the president did not conspire with the Russians and nothing we hear today will change those facts.”
Assuming the report is true, Mr. Mueller’s testimony is a rehash of his report and no dirt on the President, then the only real area of interest becomes how can a bunch of senseless gossip possibly justify an FBI investigation and did the U.S. House essentially grind to a productive halt in terms of accomplishing the people’s work just because the Democrats have such a strong dislike for President Trump?
Rep. Collins said, “But one element of this story remains, the beginnings of the FBI investigation into the president. I look forward to Mr. Mueller’s testimony about what he found during his review of the origins of the investigation. In addition, the inspector general continues to review how baseless gossip can be used to launch an FBI investigation against a private citizen and eventually a president. Those results will be released and we’ll need to learn from them to ensure that government intelligence and law enforcement powers are never again used and turned on a private citizen or a political candidate as a result of the political leanings of a handful of FBI agents.”
And then he said, “Six and a half years ago I came here to work on behalf of the people of the ninth district in this country and we accomplished a lot in those first six years on a bipartisan basis with many of my friends across the aisle sitting on this dais with me today. However, this year, because of the majority’s dislike of this president and the endless hearings and closed investigation have caused us to accomplish nothing except talk about the problems of our country while our border is on fire, in crisis, and everything else is stopped. This hearing is long overdue. We have had truth for months, no American conspired to throw our election. What we need today is to let that truth bring us confidence and I hope, Mr. Chairman, closure. With that I yield back.”
Includes reporting from HouseJudiciary.gov.