Mueller testified before two committees on Wednesday for more than six hours on his 448-page report on Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Mueller answered most questions in short sentences, referring Congress members to his report and choosing not to read his report aloud.
Mueller had made clear in his report that he could not exonerate President Donald Trump on obstruction of justice in the probe. But investigators didn’t find sufficient evidence to establish charges of criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Robert Mueller has clarified that he did not consider bringing criminal charges against President Donald Trump as part of his Russia investigation. Mueller said his team “did not reach a determination as to whether the president committed a crime.”
The former special counsel pushed back on questions from Republicans about his prosecutors’ connections to Hillary Clinton, saying political affiliations played no part in his hiring decisions.
Rep. Eric Swalwell, a California Democrat, asked Mueller if he subpoenaed the president’s eldest son or if he wanted to interview him. Mueller responded: “I’m not going to discuss that.”
Robert Mueller says he hoped to send a message with his Russia probe report “to those who come after us.” Mueller said he wanted the report to be “a signal, a flag … don’t let this problem continue to linger.”
House intelligence committee Chairman Adam Schiff said the Democratic investigations will continue.
Trump calls Mueller hearings ‘all nonsense’
President Donald Trump says the Russia probe created a “phony cloud” over his administration and says House committee hearings featuring testimony from special counsel Robert Mueller were “all nonsense.”
He says Mueller’s performance was “obviously not very good” and is accusing him of not knowing about certain details of his investigation. Trump is calling it a “devastating day” for the Democrats.
After the congressional hearings ended, Trump spoke to reporters at the White House before leaving for Wheeling, West Virginia, where he’s attending a private fundraiser for his re-election campaign.
Reactions of Republicans
The top Republican on the House intelligence committee said a hearing with former special counsel Robert Mueller is “political theater” and a “Hail Mary” attempt by Democrats to convince Americans that President Donald Trump conspired with Russia to win election.
California Rep. Devin Nunes said there were “red flags” as the Justice Department started investigating Russian contacts with Trump’s campaign in 2016. Republicans have argued that the department conspired against Trump as that probe began.
Nunes called the Mueller hearing the “last gasp of the Russia collusion conspiracy.”
The White House called former special counsel Robert Mueller’s congressional testimony “an epic embarrassment for the Democrats.” Grisham’s statement says: “The last three hours have been an epic embarrassment for the Democrats. Expect more of the same in the second half.”
Georgia Rep. Doug Collins said “the president knew he was innocent” and did not shut down Mueller’s probe, even though he had the authority to do so.
Collins said Russia meddled in the 2016 election but “the president did not conspire with Russians.” He said “nothing we hear today will change those facts.” Collins said Republicans will also question the origins of Mueller’s investigation.
Donald Trump Jr. called the hearing a “disaster” for Democrats. He said Mueller claims he can’t understand the Republicans’ questions, but totally gets the ones from Democrats.
Eric Trump said GOP Rep. Jim Jordan’s comments at the hearing were “spot on.” Jordan said Democrats should be investigating what he says are “false accusations” that started the Russia probe.
Former White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said the hearing shows the Russia probe was run by Democrats wanting to destroy Trump.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 24, 2019
Includes reporting from The Associated Press