Robert Mueller went on trial today in front of the House Intelligence Committee…
Like any witness he was circumspect …
Democrats wanted him to say one thing….
To admit that Donald Trump committed illegalities …
Republicans went after Mueller….
No one disputed that anyone else would have been indicted and most probably convicted…
Mueller was beat down the first minutes …
But recovered the second half of his time before the committee…
Robert Mueller was a man out of water…..
Former special counsel Robert Mueller pushed back against President Donald Trump’s characterizations of his 22-month investigation, telling lawmakers on Wednesday that he did not evaluate “collusion” with the Russian government, and confirming that his report did not conclude that there was “no obstruction” of the probe.
“The president was not exculpated for the acts that he allegedly committed,” Mueller told the House Judiciary Committee, adding that Trump could theoretically be indicted after he leaves office.
“We did not address ‘collusion,’ which is not a legal term,” Mueller added. “Rather, we focused on whether the evidence was sufficient to charge any member of the campaign with taking part in a criminal conspiracy. It was not.”
In potentially one of the most critical moments, Mueller said he did not charge Trump with obstruction of justice because of long-standing Justice Department guidelines that prohibit the indictment of a sitting president.
“The reason, again, that you did not indict Donald Trump is because of [a Justice Department] opinion stating that you cannot indict a sitting president, correct?” Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) asked.
“That is correct,” responded Mueller, who often asked lawmakers to repeat questions and sometimes appeared flustered.
When Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.) pressed Mueller on that response, he did not walk it back….
Former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, in a quiet and occasionally halting manner, provided short, clipped answers to most of the questions thrown at him Tuesday morning, often referring lawmakers back to his report during the highly anticipated congressional hearing about his investigation of President Trump and Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Politicians and the public have waited anxiously for two years to hear Mueller describe his investigation and findings. With the first few words of his testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, Mueller sought to tamp down expectations that his spoken words would go beyond what his 448-page report has already laid out.
“I do not intend to summarize or describe the results of our work in a different way,” Mueller said.
As lawmakers peppered him with questions, Mueller’s reluctance to elaborate on any topic seemed to stem from more than just his previously stated desire to avoid the hearing altogether.
He frequently asked lawmakers to repeat their questions. At times he said he could not hear them, sometimes asserting they were speaking too fast. In contrast to his inquisitors, Mueller spoke slowly, and on a few occasions seemed confused by lawmakers’ inquiries.
For a prosecutor who built a distinguished career on digging deep into the weeds of investigations, to the point that many of his subordinates complained he was a maddening micromanager…
At one point, Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) asked Mueller if the reason he did not indict the president was because of that policy, spelled out in a Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel memo.
“That is correct,” Mueller answered. But Mueller’s report and other answers seem to emphasize his office never considered the question of whether the president committed a crime, precisely because of that long-standing OLC memo….
Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller faced a barrage of criticism Wednesday from House Republicans for his handling of the obstruction probe into President Trump — not reaching a conclusion, while declaring the president was not exonerated either — as his fiery congressional hearing gave the investigation’s detractors a rare chance to confront him.
While Democrats were hoping for a memorable hearing performance that might offer clear-cut testimony on crimes by the president, the result of hours of grueling testimony — like the report itself — was more ambiguous. Mueller at times appeared flustered, often asking lawmakers to repeat questions, while referring back to the report or stating topics were outside his purview whenever questioners sought to drag him outside the bounds of his written findings.
Mueller notably declared Wednesday that, despite Trump’s assertions to the contrary, the report does not exonerate the president of obstruction of justice….