Jul 24, 2019

The Trump claims that Robert Mueller rebutted in his testimony

Mueller testifies before the House Select Committee on Intelligence on July 24, 2019. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

In his testimony Wednesday, former special counsel Robert Mueller disputed 5 of President Trump's frequent claims about his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and the president's potential efforts to obstruct justice.

The big picture: Many of the claims Mueller knocked down were already refuted in his 450-page report, but Democrats were seeking to animate the special counsel's findings through Wednesday's high-stakes testimony. That was clear from the moment that Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) opened the hearing with his line of questioning.

"No collusion"

Mueller said in his opening statement that the counsel's investigation did not address "collusion," since it is not a legal concept.

"No obstruction"

Mueller denied that the report concluded that Trump did not commit obstruction of justice. Mueller reiterated that he did not reach a "traditional prosecutorial judgment" as to whether Trump obstructed justice because the Justice Department's Office of Legal Opinion bars him from indicting a sitting president.

"Total exoneration”

In the first question of the hearing, Nadler asked Mueller whether his investigation "totally exonerated" Trump, as the president has so often claimed. Mueller responded, "No."

"The 3 year Witch Hunt" and the "Russia Collusion Hoax"

Mueller told the House Intelligence Committee that his investigation was "absolutely" not a "witch hunt," and that Russian interference in the 2016 election is not a "hoax." Trump tweeted both phrases in the hours leading up to Mueller's appearance.

Mueller's FBI job interview

Mueller said that DOJ ethics officials concluded that he had no conflicts of interest that prevented him from serving as special counsel. He also denied Trump's claim that his application for FBI director was rejected and said he discussed the FBI job with Trump, but "not as a candidate."

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Former special counsel Robert Mueller told the House Intelligence Committee Wednesday that his investigation is "absolutely" not a "witch hunt" and that Russian interference in the 2016 election is not a "hoax."

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The 9 big moments from Robert Mueller's House testimony

Robert Mueller prepares to testify before the House Judiciary Committee. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Former special counsel Robert Mueller testified Wednesday in back-to-back sessions before the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees.

The big picture: Mueller — who refused to read directly from the report during his appearances, denied Democrats some of the cinematic wins they'd hoped for — was generally concise with his responses, often asking members to repeat their questions and directing them to refer to the wording in his report.

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Mueller tells Congress his report did not exonerate Trump of obstruction

Just minutes into his back-to-back hearings on Capitol Hill, former special counsel Robert Mueller told the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday that his report did not exonerate President Trump of obstruction of justice.

The big picture: Just a half-hour before the hearing began, Trump tweeted, "NO COLLUSION, NO OBSTRUCTION!" Mueller had previously stated at a press conference in May that he "would have said" if his office was confident the president did not commit a crime.

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