In his 10-minute public statement on the investigation into Russian interference in late May, Robert Mueller said, "The report is my testimony. I would not provide information beyond that which is already public in any appearance before Congress." That was largely the case, at least in his testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, which began at 8:30am ET and wrapped up shortly after noon. He'll next move on to two hours of questioning by the House Intelligence Committee. The first session focused on Volume II of his report, which looks at whether the president obstructed justice; the Intelligence Committee will tackle Volume I, which zeros in on Russian interference. Among the big lines during his Judiciary Committee appearance:
- "It is unusual for a prosecutor to testify about a criminal investigation, and given my role as a prosecutor there are reasons why my testimony will necessarily be limited": specifically, in those cases when testimony could affect ongoing matters, and in cases where the Justice Department has asserted privilege regarding investigative information and decisions. "I therefore will not be able to answer questions about certain areas that I know of are of public interest" (such as the opening of the FBI's Russian investigation and the Steele dossier).
- "As I explained when we closed the special counsel's office in May, our report contains our findings and analysis and the reasons for the decisions we made ... we stated the results of our investigation with precision. I do not intend to summarize or describe the results of our work in a different way today."
- House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler began by asking Mueller whether his report "found there was no obstruction and that it completely and totally exonerated [Trump]. But that is not what your report said, is it?" Mueller's reply, per CNN: "Correct, that is not what the report said."