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What Could Come At The Mueller Hearings

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Robert Mueller ready for his close-up. The former special counsel will appear before the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees next Wednesday. Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi of the 8th District of Illinois sits on both, and he joins us, I believe, from Schaumburg in his home district. Representative, thanks so much for being with us.

RAJA KRISHNAMOORTHI: Hey. Good morning, Scott.

SIMON: Our interview now is going to last just about as long as the five minutes you and...

KRISHNAMOORTHI: (Laughter).

SIMON: ...Gets to question Robert Mueller. What's the one thing you want to know most?

KRISHNAMOORTHI: Well, it's Mueller time. And, you know, basically, you know, I'll be asking him generally, you know, what did he find? Why does it matter? And how do we prevent, you know, Russian or other foreign interference in our 2020 elections, based on what we know in 2016?

SIMON: Are you more interested - if you had to weigh it on a scale - in foreign interference or possible misconduct by the president?

KRISHNAMOORTHI: Well, I think it's both. You know, what we know, in broad outlines, and this has been established by the Mueller report, is that Trump officials - Trump campaign officials knew advance - knew in advance about Russian interference in the 2016 elections. They welcomed it. They used it and perceived that this information that was obtained by the Russians through their interference activities would help them in the 2016 elections. They never informed the FBI or law enforcement of their contacts with the Russians, and then they covered up a lot of their interactions. And so this type of information is deeply disturbing, and I'm sure that Robert Mueller will talk about it next week.

SIMON: Do you expect - and, of course, it's been reported that - I can't imagine this - that some representatives have actually been rehearsing. Will you or one of your colleagues ask Robert Mueller point-blank, did the president commit acts that would be crimes if committed by somebody other than the president?

KRISHNAMOORTHI: You know, I suspect that that would probably be among the general topic areas. As you know, the Judiciary Committee is going to be covering Volume 2, which goes to the obstruction issues, and the Intelligence Committee will talk about Volume 1. And I think that, certainly, what you brought up, I think, will come up in the hearings.

SIMON: Politicians like to give speeches.

KRISHNAMOORTHI: No, I don't. I don't know what you're talking about.

(LAUGHTER)

SIMON: Well, I meant some - not you, of course, Representative.

KRISHNAMOORTHI: Oh, OK. OK.

SIMON: What can be done to try and discipline their performance values?

KRISHNAMOORTHI: Well, I think that, as you mentioned before, we have five minutes each, right? So you have to ask pointed questions. And I think that the effectiveness of your five minutes or your presentation, I think, is going to depend on how much Bob Mueller speaks about the topics at hand and how much he educates people in his answers, not whether you make an amazing speech or not during those five minutes.

SIMON: So short, specific questions.

KRISHNAMOORTHI: Yes, I think so. I think that, really, in my opinion, the big goal here is to educate the public about the findings in this report. And, you know, I think it's one thing to read the report - and I've read it a couple of times now, and I'm rereading different sections - but it's another to hear Bob Mueller talk about them. It's - you know, a lot more people have watched "Godfather" than read the book. And in this particular instance, I think that, you know, Bob Mueller's a special public figure and what he has to say will really matter

SIMON: In the half a minute we have left, I notice you invoked "The Godfather," specifically an organized crime movie.

KRISHNAMOORTHI: I - you know, I happen to allude to that movie.

SIMON: Yes.

KRISHNAMOORTHI: But I do think that there's, unfortunately, some of that type of drama involved in what happened in 2016, and I'm sure it will come out next Wednesday.

SIMON: Well, a lot of us do cite that movie. And, you know, you've made us an offer we can't refuse.

(LAUGHTER)

SIMON: Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois, thanks so much.

KRISHNAMOORTHI: Thank you, and go Cubs. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.


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