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Robert Mueller to testify before Congress to answer questions on Trump and collusion

Questioning of the special counsel is expected to last for over six hours.

Trump has repeatedly attacked Mueller and his report.
Trump has repeatedly attacked Mueller and his report.
Image: SIPA USA/PA Images

THE MAN WHO headed the probe investigating Russian meddling in the US election, Robert Mueller, will testify before Congress today as Democrats seek his insight into whether Donald Trump committed a crime. 

Three months after releasing the final report on his two-year investigation into the 2016 presidential election, much of the American public remains unclear about special counsel Mueller’s findings on whether Trump criminally obstructed justice and whether his campaign colluded with Russians.

The expected six hours or more of questioning will be broadcast live nationally.

With Trump declaring he was “exonerated” by the investigation and Democrats saying it supplied ample evidence for impeachment, Mueller will answer questions for the first time in front of two separate, Democrat-run committees in the House of Representatives.

It remains unclear whether Mueller, who has resisted testifying, will go beyond the conclusions presented in his report, which was attacked by Trump and his allies to claim the investigation was a politically charged witch hunt that found nothing of substance.

Earlier today, Trump tweeted: “So Robert Mueller has now asked for his long time Never Trumper lawyer to sit beside him and help with answers. What’s this all about? His lawyer represented the ‘basement server guy’ who got off free in the Crooked Hillary case. This should NOT be allowed. Rigged Witch Hunt!”

“Highly conflicted Robert Mueller should not be given another bite at the apple. In the end it will be bad for him and the phony Democrats in Congress who have done nothing but waste time on this ridiculous Witch Hunt,” Trump had already tweeted on Monday.

Democrats meanwhile hoped Mueller would make clear to the public why he did not bring charges despite the evidence outlined in the 448-page report.

“There was enough corruption and criminality in the Trump campaign and Administration to fill a 448-page report. Every American deserves to know the crimes and corruption exposed in the Mueller Report,” said Democratic representative Ted Lieu.

Mueller’s report documents extensive contacts between the Trump campaign and Russians, including attempts to cooperate or collude, neither of which is a specific crime.

Mueller ruled in the end that there was not enough evidence to recommend charges of criminal conspiracy, the main legal charge he could make use of.

The veteran prosecutor and former FBI director also laid out in detail 10 instances when Trump allegedly tried to obstruct the investigation.

But he said he was prevented from recommending charges against Trump because Justice Department rules prohibited him from lodging criminal charges against a sitting president.

That left it to Congress to determine whether Trump committed a crime, and a minority of Democrats are pressing for the House to impeach the president.

Mueller, who has testified before Congress 88 times since 1990, has already signaled that he does not want to deeply discuss the investigation. 

“Any testimony from this office would not go beyond our report,” he said in May, as he announced the closure of the special counsel investigation.

“The work speaks for itself. And the report is my testimony.”

© AFP 2019  

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