This morning, crowds filled the Capitol and some Washington bars that opened early to screen an event that would appear as groundhog day for the American people: Robert Mueller’s testimony on his Special Counsel report.
Although his office closed in May, Mueller agreed to testify before the House Judiciary Committee.
Mueller’s opening statement didn’t provide any new information. In May 2017, the Special Counsel’s office began digging into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election, “I undertook that role because I believe that it was of paramount interest to the nation to determine whether a foreign adversary had interfered in the presidential election,” said Mueller.
Although it took two years to close, Mueller described, “it was in the public interest for our investigation to be complete and not to last a day longer than was necessary.”
Thirty defendants were charged with federal crimes and seven of them plead guilty however, Mueller concluded that the Trump campaign, nor any American, conspired with Russia in the 2016 presidential election.
“First, our investigation found that the Russian government interfered in our election in sweeping and systematic fashion,” he said. “Second, the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired with the Russian government in its election interference activities. We did not address collusion, which is not a legal term rather we focused on whether the evidence was sufficient to charge any member of the campaign with taking part in a criminal conspiracy, and it was not. Third, our investigation of efforts to obstruct the investigation and lie to investigators was of critical importance.”
Further, Mueller continued, “based on Justice Department policy and principles of fairness, we decided we would not make a determination as to whether the president committed a crime.”
Mueller closed his opening statement saying he wouldn’t be able to discuss “ongoing matters” including the FBI’s opening of the Russia investigation and the dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele. Steele has now been questioned by DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz, who is investigating the bureau’s handling of the Trump campaign probe.