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Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller Publicly Answers Questions On His Investigation

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Today, Robert Mueller, the man in charge of the investigation that has cast a shadow over the Trump presidency, testified before Congress. It was the first time Mueller publicly answered questions about his investigation and report.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

In hour after hour of testimony before two different House committees, Judiciary and Intelligence, Robert Mueller was a man of few words; in fact, often the same few words over and over again.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

ROBERT MUELLER: Well, I would have to refer you to the report on that...

I leave the answer to the report...

I direct you to the report...

If it's in the report as stated, yes, it is right.

If it's in the report, I support it.

And to the extent that I have anything to say about it, it is what we have already put into the report.

SHAPIRO: Democrats and Republicans both tried to use Mueller's brevity to push their own interpretations of his work. In the first hearing of the day, Democrats kept returning to the section of the Mueller report on obstruction of justice. In that section, the special counsel described 10 instances of possible obstruction by the president and ultimately did not make a decision about whether to prosecute him. That's where Chairman Jerry Nadler of New York began the hearing.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JERRY NADLER: The president has repeatedly claimed that your report found there was no obstruction and that it completely and totally exonerated him. But that is not what your report said, is it?

MUELLER: Correct. It is not what the report said.

KELLY: Republicans used their time to argue that Mueller and his investigation were biased and politically motivated. They repeatedly questioned the integrity of his staff and the circumstances of his hiring and the origins of the investigation. In one exchange with Tom McClintock of California, Mueller replied with a rare pushback.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

TOM MCCLINTOCK: It's starting to look like, you know, having desperately tried and failed to make a legal case against the president, you made a political case instead. You put it in a paper sack, lit it on fire, dropped it on our porch, rang the doorbell and ran.

MUELLER: I don't think you have reviewed a report that is as thorough, as fair, as consistent as the report that we have in front of us.

KELLY: So that was Robert Mueller talking to the House Judiciary Committee. He then spent the afternoon with members of the House Intelligence Committee. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.


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