Thanks for following our live coverage on Wednesday of former special counsel Robert Mueller's testimony before the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees about his report into Russian election interference and President Donald Trump.
Read more of our coverage below:
- Mueller says Trump not exonerated, knocks president's praise of WikiLeaks.
- 'Bob Mueller is struggling': The Democrats don't get their Trump gotcha moment.
- Fact checking Mueller's congressional hearings.
- Mueller clarifies comments on whether he could indict Trump.
- A complete timeline of all 198 times Mueller deflected, declined or deferred a question.
- 2020 candidates say Mueller's already made the case for impeachment.
- Mueller left impeachment breadcrumbs, if Democrats choose to follow.
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Protester interrupts start of hearing
As he made his way to his seat, Mueller shook hands with several Democratic Judiciary Committee members along the aisle. Just before Nadler gaveled in, a man began shouting: “Kushner and Manafort downloaded encrypted apps on the day of the Trump Tower meeting!” The man repeated that several times until he was quickly and forcibly removed.
Nadler gives opening statement
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., began the hearing by reading his opening statement.
"The President’s behavior included, and I quote from your report, "public attacks on the investigation, non-public efforts to control it, and efforts in both public and private to encourage witnesses not to cooperate," he said.
"Director Mueller, we have a responsibility to address the evidence you have uncovered. You recognized as much when you said 'the Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing.'"
Legal expert Neal Katyal lays out what he thinks Congress should ask Mueller
Among the questions for Mueller: Why wasn't Donald Trump Jr. interviewed?
Mueller is likely to face questions about one of the lingering mysteries in his report when he testifies before Congress on Wednesday: Why was Donald Trump Jr. the only American attendee of the infamous Trump Tower meeting in June 2016 not questioned by investigators?
Mueller’s report, released in April, states only that President Trump’s eldest son “declined to be voluntarily interviewed by the Office.” But the next two lines in the report are redacted because they contain grand jury information.
Dems want Mueller to tell swing voters what Trump did wrong
While America's political class has been obsessively following the two-year investigation into Russia's efforts to help Trump win the presidency, most of the country has not.
Democrats are hoping to disrupt that dynamic by questioning Mueller in five hours of televised public hearings before the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees.
They say they intend to guide the former FBI director into presenting a movie version of his dense and lawyerly tome, bringing to life what they consider a deeply disturbing story of a president who welcomed help from a foreign adversary and then tried mightily to cover it up.
Fact check: Trump claims Mueller was 'highly conflicted'
In a Wednesday morning tweetstorm, the president repeated his accusation that Mueller was "highly conflicted." But the Department of Justice and Trump's own aides found this claim to be baseless.
Ahead of Mueller’s appointment as special counsel, DOJ ethics officials considered potential conflicts of interest — namely that Mueller had previously worked with a law firm that represented Trump affiliates who could be caught up in the investigation — and cleared him for service.
Mueller’s report notes that Trump complained that Mueller had disputed certain fees related to his membership at a Trump golf course in Virginia in 2011, and had interviewed for the FBI director job shortly before his appointment as special counsel. But Trump’s own White House aides — Reince Priebus, Stephen Bannon, and counsel Don McGahn — all told the special counsel’s office that they had told the president these were not true conflicts of interest.
"The President's advisors pushed back on his assertion of conflicts, telling the President they did not count as true conflicts. Bannon recalled telling the President that the purported conflicts were 'ridiculous' and that none of them was real or could come close to justifying precluding Mueller from serving as Special Counsel," the report says.
Trump kicks off Mueller day with early morning rant
The president fumed on Twitter over the news that a member of Mueller's team would sit alongside him during congressional testimony. He also lashed out at Democrats and questioned why Mueller didn't investigate himself.
How much did Mueller's investigation cost? Millions
The special counsel's office has incurred direct and indirect costs totaling $25.2 million through Sept. 30, 2018, according to expenditure reports.
At a rate of roughly $1.5 million per month, the investigation may top $35 million when the final costs are tallied.
Mueller, Trump's silent foil, gets ready to talk
Since he was first appointed special counsel, Mueller has been a unique foil for Trump — the kind who doesn't clap back on Twitter, issue press releases in his own defense or go on television to accuse the president of committing crimes.
That may or may not change Wednesday, when Mueller testifies before the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees about the findings of his report on Russian interference in the 2016 election, contacts between Russia and the Trump campaign, and evidence of possible obstruction of justice by the president.
Mueller arrives on Capitol Hill
Mueller arrived on the Hill shortly before 8 a.m. on Wednesday.
The first of the two hearings, with the House Judiciary Committee, will begin around 8:30 a.m.
Who is Robert Mueller, the man behind the report on Trump?
He's a Republican born into a wealthy family in New York who attended a tony prep school, graduated an Ivy League university, is known for his trademark suits and hair — and isn't someone you want to be on the wrong side of.
Robert Swan Mueller III is also the man behind the most highly anticipated document in the country — the special counsel report, submitted to Attorney General William Barr in March, on whether Donald Trump's presidential campaign was involved with Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 election.
Pressure is unlikely to rattle Mueller, 74, who was named special counsel in May 2017. A decorated Vietnam War hero, he was the second longest-serving FBI director in the history of the agency, which he took over one week before the 9/11 terror attacks.