No witch hunt, no Russia hoax, no press leaks from his office and, seemingly more often than not, no comment: Those were among the highlights of this afternoon’s Robert Mueller testimony before the House Intelligence Committee.
Mueller testified before the House Judiciary Committee this morning focusing on the topic of obstruction of justice; this afternoon’s hearing before Intelligence focused on Russia collusion.
Declining or deferring answers to his report more than 200 times today (by CNN’s count), Mueller wouldn’t be baited by Congressional Republicans into discussing Fusion GPS or the Steele Dossier, but the 74-year-old Mueller was blunt in rejecting President Donald Trump’s catch-phrase description of the his investigation as a witch hunt or Russia’s interference in the election that got Trump elected as a hoax.
Here’s what Mueller told Rep. Will Hurd about Russian interference: “It wasn’t a single attempt. They’re doing it as we sit here, and they expect to do it during the next campaign.”
Earlier, under question by Rep. Adam Schiff, Mueller said bluntly about his investigation, “It was not a witch hunt.”
On whom Russians intended to help by meddling in the election: “Donald Trump.” Mueller added, though, that there “were instances where Hillary Clinton was subject to much the same behavior.”
On various pro-WikiLeaks statements made by Donald Trump and Donald Trump Jr.: “Problematic is an understatement in terms of giving some hope or boost to what is or should be illegal activity.”
On why Mueller didn’t subpoena Trump: “When we were almost towards the end of our investigation, and we had little success in pushing to get the interview of the President, we decided that we did not want to exercise the subpoena powers because of the necessity of expediting the end the investigation.”
On Trump’s written responses to Mueller’s questions: Rep. Val Demings asked whether it is “fair to say the President’s written answers were not only inadequate and incomplete, because he didn’t answer many of your questions, but where he did, his answers showed he wasn’t always being truthful?” Mueller answered: “I would say generally.”
He later added some stronger responses:
Here are some social media reactions to the afternoon session that did not come from the White House: