, 40 tweets, 6 min read Read on Twitter
Good morning, everyone! The testimony is about to begin. I’ll tweet any thoughts or comments I have during the testimony here under this tweet #MuellerTestifies
I liked the small smile Mueller gave as he looked up after his introduction. The only times I’ve ever seen that expression were when he was ready for something and was confident. I still don’t think he likes anything about giving testimony, but he’s ready to go
Mueller: We determined the Trump campaign did not conspire with Russian interference in the election. He clarified, though, they “did not address collusion, which is not a legal term.” That’s a significant distinction, given @realDonaldTrump’s constant “no collusion” refrain
Nadler: “Did the president refuse an interview with your team?” Mueller: “Yes”
Mueller said that in his career he has seen and investigated many significant matters. “Russian efforts to interfere in our elections were among the most serious”
That is a huge claim, given the prominence of investigations he has been involved in, such as the prosecution of John Gotti
Nadler: The president said the report totally exonerated him. Mueller: “That is not what the report said”
Mueller started a sentence then corrected himself mid-sentence: “A president... a SITTING President... cannot be indicted.” Once again I’ll emphasize that Mueller’s report is specifically intended to preserve evidence for prosecution of @realDonaldTrump once he is out of office
One observation: When we prepared to brief Congress when I worked with Mueller, GOP reps took far less preparation, because they were seen as more supportive. It’s fascinating seeing how different this preparation must have been, and how combative the GOP interactions are now
Mueller is getting really irritated with Rep. John Ratcliffe’s soapbox speech without giving him a chance to respond. I suspect that’s the GOP game plan today. They’re afraid of what he will say, so they’re going to fill as much time as they can stating their talking points
OMG, Ratcliffe is lecturing Robert Mueller about prosecutorial conduct and how to be a prosecutor. Compare careers, punk
Two different GOP reps, as Mueller started to respond to them, immediately talked over him saying “My time is limited” and started saying something else. That’s definitely their game plan for the day, don’t let Mueller say anything that can be a sound bite. They’re afraid of him
Observation: Mueller’s demeanor is definitely more hesitant and less forceful than it was in the past, but don’t let that fool you. Age is showing, and has taken the edge off of his aura of invincibility, but he’s still as sharp as ever
Mueller: there were at least two times the President tried to get Sessions to un-recuse himself
GOP Rep. Louie Gohmert was also grandstanding and refusing to let Mueller say anything, even when he kept trying to interject and respond
Rep. Jim Jordon grandstanding about FBI spying on American citizens, and how the investigation started. Mueller: “I’m not sure I agree with your characterizations”
I am surprised that Mueller has not more aggressively defended the repeated attacks on his own honor and integrity. I assume he is letting his record speak for itself, and feels defending himself against them is unnecessary, and he will let others do that
Mueller emphasized the DOJ regulations prevented him from charging @realDonaldTrump with a crime. Rep. asked if that means he could charge the President after he leaves office? Mueller: “Yes”
Rep Ted Lieu: “The reason that you did not indict the President is because of the OLC guidance that you cannot indict a sitting President.” Mueller: “Correct”
Observation: Mueller is going out of his way to avoid being used for political purposes by either party. He declined to read a sentence from the report, which would have given a prime TV clip, and has said he doesn’t support the characterizations of both sides at different times
GOP Rep Tom McClintock argued that Mueller’s team did not accurately capture the underlying evidence, and, failing to make a legal conclusion, tried to make a political one. Mueller: “I don’t think you reviewed a report that is as fair and thorough as the report in front of us.”
Did Rep. Debbie Lesko just call him Mr. Miller? Maybe I misheard
Rep. Lesko is really trying to get Mueller to change his answer to Rep. Lieu’s question about the OLC guidance being the reason he did not indict Trump. Mueller did not change his answer
Rep. Guy Reschenthaler said exculpatory evidence was left out of the report. Mueller: “I disagree with that. We put into the report exculpatory evidence as well.” Shortly later, Mueller: “Not true.”
When a rep referred to “spying” on members of Trump’s campaign, Mueller: “I do not accept your characterization”
Mueller emphasized that they did not ask about political views while hiring his team. He looked for those “who could do the job.” About interviewing: “In those 25 years I have not had occasion to ask someone about their political affiliation. It is not done.”
Rep. Mike Johnson called Mueller’s team heavily biased. Mueller tried to interject and respond, and Johnson would not let him, saying, “Excuse me, this is my time.”
Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell quoted the report that Trump’s efforts at obstruction of justice failed largely because subordinates failed to carry out Trump’s orders. She then asked if “simply TRYING to obstruct justice can be a crime.” Mueller: “Yes.”
Rep. Jackie Speier said that a member earlier referred to the Russian Hoax. Speier considered Russia’s actions to be akin to an invasion. She asked Mueller if he agreed that it was NOT a hoax that Russia was trying to affect our election. Mueller: “Absolutely. It was not a hoax.”
Mueller said he “absolutely” agreed that Wikileaks is a hostile intelligence service. Rep. Mile Quigley cited multiple Trump quotes including “This Wikileaks is great.” “Boy, I love reading that Wikileaks” and similar. Mueller: “Problematic would be an understatement”
Mueller just said that not only is Russia still targeting US elections, multiple other countries are trying to build up their own capabilities to follow Russia’s interference model from the 2016 elections
Mueller is definitely getting tired. He had a hard time coming up with the alternative word “conspiracy” when saying that they didn’t use the word “collusion.” Six(ish) hours of straight testimony is wearing on him
When discussing with Rep. Peter Welch foreign governments’ efforts to interfere in our elections, Mueller responded “I hope this is not the new normal, but I fear it is”
Rep: Why didn’t you subpoena the Pres.? Mueller wanted interview, but “We had little success in pushing to get the interview” & decided not to subpoena “to expedite the end of the investigation.” He then added that they expected that Trump’s team would start a long legal fight
That confirmed the reason they didn’t subpoena Trump was because of a need to wrap up the investigation. I’m sure that Mueller wasn’t the origin of that time pressure, and I very much doubt it was a coincidence that it wrapped up so soon after Barr was confirmed as AG
Mueller was just asked if it was accurate to say that Trump’s sworn written answers were incomplete and generally less than truthful. Mueller’s answer: “Generally.” That is a big deal, since it is perjury to lie in sworn testimony
Rep: Your office did not not obtain Trump’s tax returns, correct? Mueller: “I’m not going to speak to that.”

Rep: Trump’s personal finances were outside the purview of your investigation? Mueller: “I’m not going to speak to that.”
I’ve said numerous times that there is no way Mueller didn’t get Trump’s taxes and financial records. I still believe that to be true, and he certainly didn’t take that opportunity to counter it
Rep Schiff asked if accepting election help from a foreign government without reporting it was unethical. Mueller immediately interjected “and a crime.” After a brief pause Mueller corrected his wording, “and a crime... under certain circumstances.” Rare lapse showing his thought
Mueller repeatedly referenced ongoing investigations (including counterintelligence) in declining to respond to different questions. Which makes this even more interesting in both substance and timing
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