With Meghna Chakrabarti
A special broadcast to unpack Robert Mueller’s testimony: what he said, what lawmakers asked and what happens next.
Steve Dennis, congressional correspondent for Bloomberg. (@StevenTDennis)
Josh Blackman, associate professor at South Texas College of Law, and contributor to Lawfare. Author of "Unprecedented: The Constitutional Challenge to Obamacare" and "Unraveled: Obamacare, Religious Liberty, and Executive Power." (@JoshMBlackman)
Victoria Nourse, professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center. Chief counsel to the vice president of the United States from 2015 to 2016. Former appellate lawyer in the Justice Department and special counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Served as junior counsel to the Senate Iran-Contra Committee under New Hampshire Republican Sen. Warren Rudman and Hawaii Democratic Sen. Daniel Inouye.
From The Reading List
New York Times: "Robert Mueller Testimony to Congress: Live Updates" — "The partisan war over Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election reached a messy and contentious climax on Wednesday as lawmakers spent hours grilling Mr. Mueller about his conclusions but extracted little information beyond what he had written in his voluminous report.
"In highly anticipated back-to-back sessions before the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees, Mr. Mueller tried rigorously to stick to his script — the 448-page tome he produced in April — and declined repeatedly to offer his opinion of key questions or even to read directly from his report. But Democrats did get him to confirm the most damaging elements of his findings for President Trump, denying that the president had been cleared of obstructing justice or completely exonerated as he has so often declared.
"Mr. Mueller also defended the investigation that produced the report, which laid bare that Mr. Trump was elected with the help of a foreign power and cataloged his frantic efforts to undermine the investigation into Russian interference."
Vox: "Mueller said Trump could be indicted once he leaves office" — "During Robert Mueller’s testimony in front of the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) asked Mueller if he could indict the president on obstruction charges.
"The former special counsel’s answer was simple: 'Yes.'
"It was a rare striking moment in a hearing that has, so far, been largely unenlightening. Mueller’s position is that he didn’t consider indicting Trump solely because of the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) ruling saying sitting presidents can’t be indicted. But Trump won’t be president forever, and Mueller’s view is that once Trump is out of office, prosecutors could charge him with obstruction if they believe the facts laid out in the report warrant it."
Politico: "Mueller walks back explosive part of testimony" — "Former special counsel Robert Mueller walked back his most explosive testimony Wednesday, after he initially suggested he didn't indict President Donald Trump because of a technical Justice Department policy — a crucial reversal that marked an unsteady day of testimony.
"'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 declined a chance to retract his comments when pressed later by Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.). Mueller, however, corrected himself during the second portion of his testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, saying, 'That is not the correct way to say it.'
"Mueller clarified his response by noting instead that the Justice Department policy that prohibits the indictment of a sitting president meant that he 'did not reach a determination as to whether the president committed a crime.' "
CNBC: "Read Robert Mueller’s opening statement: Russian interference among ‘most serious’ challenges to American democracy" — "Special counsel Robert Mueller began his testimony before a House panel on Wednesday with an opening statement that called Russian efforts to interfere with the 2016 election that sent President Donald Trump to the White House among the 'most serious' challenges to American democracy.
"Mueller is expected to testify on Capitol Hill for hours about his investigation into Russian interference, possible coordination by members of Trump’s campaign, and possible obstruction of justice by Trump himself.
"'Over the course of my career, I’ve seen a number of challenges to our democracy,' Mueller said before he began being questioned by members of the House committee.
"'The Russian government’s effort to interfere in our election is among the most serious. As I said on May 29, this deserves the attention of every American.' "
Washington Post: "As Mueller speaks, Trump attacks, lobs baseless claims" — "With a barrage of morning tweets, President Donald Trump renewed his efforts Wednesday to undermine the credibility of Robert Mueller as the former special counsel appeared before Congress to lay out the findings of his investigation into the sitting president and possible ties between Trump’s campaign and Russia.
"Before Mueller even took his seat to testify, the president tweeted nine times about Mueller and his investigation, part of a two-year pattern of attacks in which Trump has made baseless claims about Mueller’s probe and its findings.
"Trump in recent days had claimed that he would not watch much, if any, of Wednesday’s highly anticipated nationally televised hearings. But his morning tweets made clear that he had his mind focused squarely on the proceedings unfolding at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue."
This program aired on July 24, 2019.