How you feel about yesterday’s marathon hearings featuring former Special Counsel Robert Mueller largely depends on your political persuasion. But for his part? Mueller didn’t say anything “new.” He deferred to his official report a number of times, often giving one-word or very abbreviated responses Still, he’s warning about ongoing election interference by Russia.
Testifying in a House hearing, Mueller said Russia's intervention in the 2016 presidential election was "not a single attempt – they're doing it as we sit here." He noted that other countries are plotting to do the same. Mueller said Russia's intervention in the campaign was not a “hoax” and he rejected President Trump's assertion that the investigation was a witch hunt.
What Mueller wouldn’t do? Speculate about whether Russia helped sway the presidential election for Trump. But he did note that members of Trump's campaign welcomed Russia's involvement. He also cited insufficient evidence to file criminal charges of conspiracy.
But Mueller did deflect repeated Republican questions about the origins and legitimacy of the Russia probe. California Republican Devin Nunes [[NEW-nez]] said the early investigation was fueled by an anti-Trump fervor within the FBI. Along the way, Nunes accused the news media of being culpable in a massive hoax.
Mueller also addressed the President’s refusal to be questioned by prosecutors, and filling out a questionnaire prepared by Mueller's team instead. When asked why he didn’t just subpoena Mr. Trump, Mueller replied that time was a factor.
Either way, Mueller maintained his team did not make a determination as to whether Mr. Trump committed obstruction of justice. And while, Republicans noted that Trump didn’t down the Russia investigation, Mueller also acknowledged that Trump could face criminal charges after leaving office. There is a longstanding Justice Department policy that a sitting president cannot be indicted.