Special Counsel Robert Mueller took the stand today and testified before Congress regarding the findings in his investigation into the interference of Russia in the 2016 presidential election.
It’s been 100 days since the release of Mueller’s report detailing Russia’s attempts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. In the two trials that commenced today, Mueller stood before lawmakers and declined to answer or deferred questions 206 times and referred politicians to his report at least 43 times. In the 448-page report put together by Mueller and his staff, no new information was revealed, and no previously known information was explained.
The interview was not only difficult to watch, but Mueller was noticeably nervous and confused in his presenting statements. The most shocking revelation from the trial was Mueller explaining why he decided not to subpoena #DonaldTrump. Mueller said during the trial that he and his team worked with Trump for “a little over a year” to put together an interview.
However, they eventually decided against a subpoena so they could end the investigation in a timely fashion. “But finally, 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,” Mueller said. He added: “The expectation was if we did subpoena the President, he would fight the subpoena, and we would be in the midst of the investigation for a substantial period of time.”
Mueller also said he believes foreign interference could be the reality of future campaigns. Rep. Peter Welch, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, brought up the concern. “My concern is, have we established a new normal from this past campaign that is going to apply to future campaigns so that anyone of us from the US House, any candidate for the Senate, any candidate for the presidency of the United States, aware that if a hostile foreign powers is trying to influence an election has no duty to report that to the FBI or other authorities?” Welch asked. Mueller responded: “I hope this is not the new normal. But I fear it is.”
“I would say the basis — the first line of defense really is the ability of the various agencies who have some piece of this to not only share explanation but shared expertise, to share targets, to use the full resources that we have, to address this problem,” Mueller said, referring to protecting the electoral college. “It wasn’t a single attempt. They’re doing it as we sit here. And they expect to do it during the next campaign,” Mueller said about the amount of attempts the Russians made in the 2016 election. He added Russians will be meddling with the upcoming presidential run.
The full two trial hearings can be seen on CNN and YouTube.