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Robert Mueller's Highly Anticipated Testimony on Capitol Hill. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired July 24, 2019 - 11:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[11:30:00]

SCANLON: Sure. OK, sure. So we're looking at Appendix C.

MUELLER: Right.

SCANLON: And Appendix C, page 5 you asked the president about a dozen questions about whether he had knowledge that WikiLeaks possessed the stolen emails that might be released in a way helpful to his campaign or harmful to the Clinton campaign. Is that correct, you asked those questions?

MUELLER: Yes.

SCANLON: OK. In February of this year, Mr. Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen testified to Congress under oath that, quote, "Mr. Trump knew from Roger Stone in advance about the WikiLeaks dump." End quote. That's a matter of public record, isn't it?

MUELLER: Well, are you referring to the report or some other record?

SCANLON: This was testimony before Congress by Mr. Cohen. Do you know if he told you...

MUELLER: Ma'am, I am not familiar with -- specifically familiar with what he testified to before Congress.

SCANLON: OK. Let's look at an event described on page 18 of Volume 2 of your report. Now according -- and we're going to put it up in a slide, I think. According to Deputy Campaign Manager Rick Gates, in the summer of 2016, he and Candidate Trump were on the way to the airport shortly after WikiLeaks released its first set of stolen e- mails. And Gates told your investigators that Candidate Trump was on a phone call, and when the call ended, Trump told Gates that "more releases of damaging information would be coming, end quote. Do you recall that from the report?

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

SCANLON: OK, and that's on page 18 of Volume 2. Now, on page 77 of Volume 2, your report also stated, quote, "In addition some witnesses said that Trump privately sought information about future WikiLeaks releases," end quote. Is that correct?

MUELLER: Correct.

SCANLON: Now, in Appendix C, where the president did answer some written questions, he said, quote, "I do not recall discussing WikiLeaks with him, nor do I recall being aware of Mr. Stone having discussed WikiLeaks with individuals associated with my campaign," end quote. Is that correct?

MUELLER: If it's from the report, it is correct.

SCANLON: OK. So is it fair to say the president denied ever discussing WikiLeaks with Mr. Stone and denied being aware that anyone associated with this campaign discussed WikiLeaks with Stone?

MUELLER: I'm sorry, could you repeat that one?

SCANLON: Is it fair then that the president denied knowledge of himself or anyone else discussing WikiLeaks dumps with Mr. Stone?

MUELLER: Yes, yes.

SCANLON: OK. And with that, I would yield back.

MUELLER: Thank you, ma'am.

NADLER: (OFF MIKE)

STEUBE: Thank you, Mr. Chair. Mr. Mueller, over here. Mr. Mueller did you indeed interview for the FBI director job one day before you were appointed as Special Counsel?

MUELLER: My understanding I was not applying for that job, I was asked to give my input on what it would take to do the job, which triggered the interview you're talking about.

STEUBE: So you don't recall on May 16th, 2017 that you interviewed with the president regarding the FBI director job?

MUELLER: I interviewed with the president and it was about...

STEUBE: Regarding the FBI director job?

MUELLER: ...it was about the job and not about me applying for the job.

STEUBE: So your statement here today is that you didn't interview to apply for the FBI director job?

MUELLER: That's correct.

STEUBE: So it - did you tell the vice president that the FBI director position would be the one job that you would come back to - for?

MUELLER: I don't recall that one.

STEUBE: You don't recall that? MUELLER: No.

STEUBE: OK. Given your 22 months of investigation, tens of million dollars spent and millions of documents reviewed, did you obtain any evidence at all that any American voter changed their vote as a result of Russia's election interference?

MUELLER: I'm not going to speak to that.

STEUBE: You can't speak to that after 22 months of investigation, there's not any evidence in that document before us that any voter changed their vote because of their interference and I'm asking you based on all of the documents that you reviewed...

MUELLER: That was - that was outside our purview.

STEUBE: Russian meddling was outside your purview?

MUELLER: But the impact of that meddling was undertaken by other agencies.

STEUBE: OK, you stated in your opening statement that you would not get into the details of the Steele Dossier. However multiple times in Volume 2 on page 23, 27 and 28 you mentioned the unverified allegations.

How long did it take you to reach the conclusion that it was unverified?

MUELLER: I'm not going to speak to that.

STEUBE: It's in - it's actually in your report multiple times that its unverified and you're telling me that you're not willing to tell us how you came to conclusion that it was unverified?

MUELLER: True.

STEUBE: When did you become aware that the unverified Steele Dossier was included in the FISA application to spy on Carter Page?

MUELLER: I'm sorry, what was the - what was the question?

STEUBE: When did you become aware that the unverified Steele Dossier was intended - was included in the FISA application to spy on Carter Page?

MUELLER: I'm not going to speak to that.

STEUBE: Your team interviewed Christopher Steele, is that correct?

MUELLER: Not going to get into that. I said it - I...

[11:35:00] STEUBE: You can't - you can't - you can't tell this committee as to whether or not you interviewed Christopher Steele in a 22 month investigation with 18 lawyers? MUELLER: As I said at the outset, that is one of those - one of the investigations that is being handled by others in the Department of Justice.

STEUBE: Yes but you're here testifying about this investigation today and I am asking you directly did any members of your team or did you interview Christopher Steele in the course of your investigation.

MUELLER: And I am not going to answer that question, sir.

STEUBE: You had two years to investigate, not once did you consider it worthy to investigate how an unverified document that was paid for by a political opponent was used to obtain a warrant to spy on the opposition political campaign. Did you do any investigation in that way (ph)?

MUELLER: I do not accept your characterization of what occurred.

STEUBE: What would you - what would be your characterization?

MUELLER: I'm not going to speak any more to it.

STEUBE: So you can't speak any more to it but you're not going to agree with my characterization? Is that correct?

MUELLER: Yes.

STEUBE: The FISA application makes reference to Source 1, who is Christopher Steele, the author of the Steele Dossier. The FISA application says nothing Sources 1's reason for conducting the research into Canada 1' (ph) ties to Russia. Based on Source's 1 previous reporting history with FBI, whereby Source One provided reliable information to the FBI. The FBI believes Source One's reporting herein to be credible. Do you believe the FBI's representation that Source 1's reporting was credible to be accurate?

MUELLER: I'm not going to answer that.

STEUBE: So you're not going to respond to any of the questions regarding Christopher Steele or your interviews with him?

MUELLER: Well as I said at the outset this morning, that was one of the investigations that I could not speak to.

STEUBE: Well I don't understand how if you interviewed an individual on the purview of this investigation that you're testifying to us today that you've closed that investigation, how that's not within your purview to tell us about that investigation and who you interviewed.

MUELLER: I have nothing to add.

STEUBE: OK well the - I can guarantee that the American people want to know and I'm - and I'm very hopeful and glad that A.G. Barr is looking into this and the inspector general is looking into this because you're unwilling to answer the questions of the American people as it relates to the very basis of this investigation into the president and the very basis of this individual who you did interview, you're just refusing to answer those questions.

Can - can't the president fire the FBI director at any time without reason under the Article I of the Constitution?

MUELLER: Yes.

STEUBE: Article II.

MUELLER: Yes.

STEUBE: That's correct. Can't he also fire U.S. Special Counsel at any time without any reason?

MUELLER: I believe that to be the case.

STEUBE: Under Article II.

MUELLER: Well hold on just a second, you said without any reason, I know the Special Counsel can be fired, but I'm not certain it extends to for whatever reasons is given.

STEUBE: Well then you've testified that you weren't fired, you were able to complete your investigation in full. Is that correct?

MUELLER: I'm not going to add to what I've stated before.

STEUBE: My time has expired.

NADLER: Gentleman's time has expired. The gentlelady from Pennsylvania - from Texas.

GARCIA: Thank you, Mr. Chairman and thank you Mr. Mueller for being with us this afternoon - close to the afternoon now. Director Mueller, now I would like to ask you about the president's answers relating to Roger Stone.

Roger Stone was indicted for multiple federal crimes and indictment alleges that Mr. Stone discussed future WikiLeaks e-mail releases with the Trump campaign. Understanding there's a gag order on the Stone case, I will keep my questions restricted to publicly available information.

Mr. Stone's indictment...

MUELLER: Let me just at the outset, I don't mean to disrupt you, but I'm not - I would like some demarcation of that which is applicable to this, but also in such a way that it does not hinder the other prosecution that is taking place in D.C.

GARCIA: I understand that, I'm only going to be talking about the questions that you asked in writing to the president...

MUELLER: Thank you, ma'am. GARCIA: ...that relate to Mr. Stone. Mr. Stone's indictment states among other things the following, quote, "Stone was contacted by senior Trump officials to inquire about future releases of organization 1", organization 1 being WikiLeaks.

The indictment continues, quote, "Stone thereafter told the Trump campaign about potential future releases of damaging material by WikiLeaks". So in short, the indictment alleges that Stone was asked by the Trump campaign to get information about more WikiLeaks releases, and that Stone in fact did tell the Trump campaign about potential future releases. Correct?

MUELLER: Yes, ma'am, but I see you're quoting from the indictment and even though the indictment is a public document, I feel uncomfortable discussing anything having to do with the Stone prosecution.

GARCIA: Right, the indictment is of record and I pulled - and we pulled it off of the - (inaudible) straight from it.

MUELLER: I understand that.

GARCIA: Well turning back to the president's answers to your questions then on this very subject, the president denied ever discussing future WikiLeaks releases with Stone and denied knowing whether anyone else in his campaign had those discussions with Stone.

[11:40:00] If you had learned that other witnesses - putting aside the president, if other witnesses had lied to your investigators in response to specific questions whether he - whether in writing or in interview, could they be charged with false statement crimes?

MUELLER: Well, I'm not going to speculate because I think you're asking for me to speculate given a set of circumstances.

GARCIA: Well, let's put it more specific. What if I had made a false statement to an investigator on your team. Could I go to jail for up to five years?

MUELLER: Yes.

GARCIA: Yes.

MUELLER: Although there's - it's Congress, so...

(LAUGHTER)

GARICA: Well, that's the point, though, isn't it that no one is above the law.

MUELLER: That's right.

GARICA: Not you, not the Congress, and certainly not the president, and I think it's just troubling to have to hear some of these things, and that's why the American people deserve to learn the full facts of the misconduct described in your report for which any other person would have been charged with crimes. So thank you for being here. And again, this - the point has been underscored many times, but I'll repeat it. No one is above the law. Thank you.

MUELLER: Thank you, ma'am.

NADLER: The time - the gentle - the gentleman from North Dakota is recognized.

ARMSTRONG: Mr. Mueller, how many people did you fire - how many people on your staff did you fire during the course of the investigation?

MUELLER: How many people...

ARMSTRONG: Did you fire?

MUELLER: I'm not going to discuss that.

ARMSTRONG: You fired - according to inspector general's report, attorney number two was let go and we know Peter Strzok was let go, correct?

MUELLER: Yes, and there may have been other persons on other issues that have been either transferred or fired.

ARMSTRONG: Peter Strzok testified before this Committee on July 12, 2018 that he was fired because you were concerned about preserving the appearance of independence. Do you agree with this testimony?

MUELLER: Say that again if you could?

ARMSTRONG: He said he was fired at least partially because you were worried about - concerned about preserving the appearance of independence with the special counsel's investigation. Do you agree with that statement?

MUELLER: And the statement was by whom?

ARMSTRONG: Peter Strzok at this hearing.

MUELLER: I am not familiar with that.

ARMSTRONG: Did you fire him because you were worried about the appearance of independence of the investigation?

MUELLER: No. He was transferred as a result of instances involving texts.

ARMSTRONG: Do you agree that - do you agree that your office did not only have an obligation to operate with independence but to operate with the appearance of independence as well?

MUELLER: Absolutely. We strove to do that over the two years.

ARMSTRONG: Andrew...

MUELLER: Part of that was making certain that...

ARMSTRONG: Andrew Weissmann's one of your top attorneys? MUELLER: Yes.

ARMSTRONG: Did Weissmann have a role is selecting other members of your team?

MUELLER: He had some role but not a major role.

ARMSTRONG. Andrew Weissmann attended Hillary Clinton's election night party. Did you know that before or after he came onto the team?

MUELLER: I don't know when I found that out.

ARMSTRONG: On January 30, 2017, Weissmann wrote an email to Deputy Attorney General Yates stating, "I am so proud and in awe regarding her disobeying a direct order from the president." Did Weissmann disclose that email to you before he joined the team?

MUELLER: I'm not going to talk about that.

ARMSTRONG: Is that not a conflict of interest?

MUELLER: Not going to talk about that.

ARMSTRONG: Are you aware that Ms. Jeannie Rhee represented Hillary Clinton in litigation regarding personal emails originating from Clinton's time as Secretary of State?

MUELLER: Yes.

ARMSTRONG: Did you know that before she came on the...

MUELLER: No.

ARMSTRONG: Aaron Zelbley, the guy sitting next to you, represented Justin Cooper, a Clinton aide who destroyed one of Clinton's mobile devices, and you must be aware by now that six of your lawyers donated $12,000 directly to Hillary Clinton. I'm not even talking about the $49,000 they donated to other democrats, just the donations to the opponent who was the target of your investigation.

MUELLER: Can I speak for a second to the hiring practices?

ARMSTRONG: Sure.

MUELLER: We strove to hire those individuals that could do that job.

ARMSTRONG: OK.

MUELLER: I have been in this business for almost 25 years, and in those 25 years I have not had occasion once to ask somebody about their political affiliation. It is not done. What I care about is the capability of the individual to do the job and do the job quickly and seriously and with integrity.

ARMSTRONG: But that's what I'm saying, Mr. Mueller. This isn't just about you being able to vouch for your team. This is about knowing that the day you accepted this role you had to be aware no matter what this report concluded half of the country was going to be scheduled - skeptical of your team's findings, and that's why we have recusal laws that define bias and perceive bias for this very reason.

28 United States code 5218 (ph) specifically lists not just political conflict of interest but the appearance of political conflicts of interest. It's just simply not enough that you vouch for your team.

The interest (inaudible) demand that no perceived bias exists. I can't imagine a single prosecutor or judge that I have every appeared in front of would be comfortable with these circumstances where over half of the prosecutorial team had a direct relationship to the opponent of the person being investigated.

[11:45:00] MUELLER: Let me one other fact that I put on the table, and that is we hired 19 lawyers over the period of time. Of those 19 lawyers, 14 of them were transferred from elsewhere in the Department of Justice. Only five came from outside, so we did not have...

ARMSTRONG: And half of them had a direct relationship, political or personal, with the opponent of the person you were investigating, and that's my point. I wonder if not a single word in this entire report was change but rather the only difference was we switched Hillary Clinton and President Trump.

If Peter Strzok has texted those terrible things about Hillary Clinton instead of President Trump, if a team of lawyers worked for, donated thousands of dollars to, and went to Trump's parties instead of Clinton's, I don't think we'd be here trying to prop up an obstruction allegation.

My colleagues would have spent the last four months accusing your team of being bought and paid for by the Trump campaign and we couldn't trust a single word of this report. They would still be accusing the president of conspiracy with Russia and they would be accusing your team of aiding and embedding with that conspiracy, and with that I yield back.

NADLER: Gentleman yields back. The gentleman from Colorado.

NEGUSE: Director Mueller, thank you for your service to our country. I'd like to talk to you about one of the other incidents of obstruction, and that's the evidence in your report showing the president directing his son and his communications director to issue a false public statement in June of 2017 about a meeting between his campaign and Russian individuals at Trump Tower in June of 2016.

According to your report, Mr. Trump Jr. was the only Trump associate who participated in that meeting and who declined to be voluntarily interviewed by your office. Is that correct?

MUELLER: Yes.

NEGUSE: Did Mr. Trump Jr. or his counsel ever communicate to your office any intent to invoke his fifth amendment right against self incrimination? MUELLER: I'm not going to answer that.

NEGUSE: You did pose written questions to the president about his knowledge of the Trump Tower meeting. You included also asked him about whether or not he had directed a false press statement. The president did not answer at all that question, correct?

MUELLER: I don't have it in front of me. I take you word.

NEGUSE: I can represent to you that Appendix C, specifically C13 states as much. According to page 100 of Volume 2 of your report, your investigation found that Hope Hicks, the president's communications director, in June of 2017 was shown emails that set up the Trump Tower meeting, and she told your office that she was, quote, "shocked by the emails," because they looked, quote, "really bad." True?

MUELLER: Do you have a citation?

NEGUSE: Sure. It's page 100 of Volume 2.

MUELLER: While you're flipping to that page, Director Mueller, I will also tell you that according to page 99 of Volume 2 that those emails in question stated according to reporting that the crown prosecutor of Russia had offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia as part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump.

Trump Jr. responded, "if it's what you say, I love it. And he, Kushner, and Manafort met with the Russian attorneys and several other Russian individuals at Trump Tower on June 9, 2016," end quote. Correct?

MUELLER: Generally accurate.

NEGUSE: Isn't it true that Ms. Hicks told your office that she went multiple times to the president to, quote, "Urge him that they should be fully transparent about the June 9th meeting," end quote, but the president, each time, said no, correct?

MUELLER: Accurate.

NEGUSE: And the reason was because of those emails, which the president, quote, believed "would not leak." Correct?

MUELLER: Well, I'm not certain how it's characterized, but generally correct.

NEGUSE: Did the president direct Ms. Hicks to say, quote, "Only that Trump Jr. took a brief meeting and was about Russian adoption," end quote, because Trump Jr.'s statement to The New York Times, quote, "said too much," according to page 102, of Volume 2?

MUELLER: OK.

NEGUSE: Correct? MUELLER: Let me -- one -- let me just check one thing. Yes, correct.

NEGUSE: And according to Ms. Hicks, the president still directed her to say the meeting was only about Russian adoption. Correct?

MUELLER: Yes.

NEGUSE: Despite knowing that to be untrue. Thank you, Director Mueller.

I yield back the balance of my own time.

NADLER: (OFF-MIKE).

M. JOHNSON: Mr. Mueller, you've been asked -- over here on the -- on the far right, sir -- you've been asked a lot of questions here today. And to be frank, you performed as most of us expected. You've stuck closely to your report and you have declined to answer many of our questions on both sides.

As the closer for the Republican side, I know you're glad to get to the close, I want to summarize the highlights of what we have heard and what we know.

You spent two years, and nearly $30 million taxpayer dollars and unlimited resources to prepare a nearly 450-page report which you describe today as very thorough. Millions of Americans today maintain genuine concerns about your work, in large part, because of the infamous and widely publicized bias of your investigating team members, which we now know included 14 Democrats and 0 Republicans.

Campaign finance reports later showed that team...

(CROSSTALK)

MUELLER: Can I...

[11:50:00] M. JOHNSON: ... Excuse me, it's my time. That team of Democrat investigators you hired donated more than $60,000 to the Hillary Clinton campaign and other Democratic candidates. Your team also included Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, which have been discussed today, and they had the lurid text messages that confirm they openly mocked and hated Donald Trump and his supporters, and they vowed to take him out.

Mr. Ratcliffe asked you earlier this morning, quote, "Can you give me an example, other than Donald Trump, where the Justice Department determined that an investigated person was not exonerated because their innocence was not conclusively determined?" unquote. You answered, "I cannot." Sir, that is unprecedented.

The president believed from the very beginning that you and your special counsel team had serious conflicts this is stated in the report and acknowledged by everybody. And yet, President Trump cooperated fully with the investigation. He knew he had done nothing wrong, and he encouraged all witnesses to cooperate with the investigation and produce more than 1.4 million pages of information, and allowed over 40 witnesses who are directly affiliated with the White House or his campaign.

Your report acknowledges on page 61, Volume 2 that a volume of evidence exists of the president telling many people privately, quote, "The president was concerned about the impact of the Russian investigation on his ability to govern, and to address important foreign relations issues and even matters of national security."

And on page 174, Volume 2 your report also acknowledges that the Supreme Court has held, quote, "The president's removal powers are at their zenith with respect to principal officers -- that is, officers who must be appointed by the president and who report to him directly. The president's 'exclusive and illimitable power of removal' of those principal officers furthers 'the president's ability to ensure that the laws are faithfully executed,'" unquote. And that would even include the attorney general. Look, in spite of all of that, nothing ever happened to stop or impede your special counsel's investigation. Nobody was fired by the president, nothing was curtailed and the investigation continued unencumbered for 22 long months.

As you finally concluded in Volume 1, the evidence, quote, "Did not establish that the president was involved in an underlying crime related to Russian election interference," unquote. And the evidence, quote, "did not establish that the president or those close to him were involved in any Russian conspiracies or had an unlawful relationship with any Russian official," unquote. Over those 22 long months that your investigation dragged along, the president became increasingly frustrated as many of the American people did with its effects on our country and - and his ability to govern.

He vented about this to his lawyer and his close associates and he even shared his frustrations, as we all know, on twitter. But while the president's social media accounts might have influenced some in the media or the opinion of some the American people, none of those audiences were targets or witnesses in your investigation.

The president never affected anybody's testimony. He never demanded to end the investigation or demanded that you be terminated and he never misled Congress, the DOJ or the special counsel. Those, sir, are her undisputed facts. There will be a lot of discussion I predict today and great frustration throughout the country about the fact that you wouldn't answer any questions here about the origins of this whole charade, which was the infamous Christopher Steele dossier, now proven to be totally bogus, even though it is listed and specifically referenced in your report.

But as our hearing is concluding, we apparently will get no comment on that from you. Mr. Mueller there's one primary reason why you were called here today by the democrat majority of our committee. Our colleagues on the other side of the aisle just want political cover. They desperately wanted you today to tell them they should impeach the president but the one thing you have said very clearly today is that your report is complete and thorough and you completely agree with and stand by its recommendations and all of its content. Is that right?

MUELLER: True.

M. JOHNSON: Mr. Mueller, one last important question. Your report does not recommend impeachment, does it?

MUELLER: I'm not going to talk about recommendations.

M. JOHNSON: It does not conclude that impeachment would be appropriate here, right?

MUELLER: I'm not going to talk - I'm not going to talk about that - about that issue.

M. JOHNSON: That's one of the many things you wouldn't talk about today but I think we can all draw our own conclusions. I do thank you for your service to the country and I'm glad this charade will come to an end soon and we can get back to the important business of this committee with its broad jurisdiction of so many important issues for the country. With that, I yield back.

NADLER: The gentleman yields back. I want to announce that our intent was to conclude this hearing at around 11:45. All of the republican members have now asked their questions but we have a few remaining democratic members. They will be limiting their questions so with Director Mueller's indulgence we expect to finish within 15 minutes. The gentlelady from Georgia is recognized.

MCBATH: Thank you Mr. Chairman and thank you Director Mueller. Your investigations of the Russian attack on our democracy and of obstruction of justice were extraordinarily productive and in under two years you charged at least 37 people or entities with crimes. You convicted seven individuals, five of whom are top Trump campaign or White House aides. Charges remain pending against more than two dozen Russian persons or entities and against others.

[11:55:00] Now let me start with those five Trump campaign or administration aides that you convicted. Would you agree with me that they are Paul Manafort, President Trump's campaign manager; Rick Gates, President Trump's deputy campaign manager; Michael Flynn, President Trump's former National Security Advisor; Michael Cohen, the president's personal attorney; George Papadopoulos, President Trump's former campaign foreign policy advisor? Correct?

MUELLER: Correct.

MCBATH: And the sixth Trump associate will face - will face trial later this year. Correct? And that person would be Roger Stone. Correct?

MUELLER: Correct.

MCBATH: Thank you.

MUELLER: Well I'm not certain about what you said about Stone but he is in another court system as I indicated before.

MCBATH: Exactly. He's still under - still under investigation. MUELLER: And I don't want to discuss.

MCBATH: Correct. Thank you. And there are many other charges as well, correct?

MUELLER: Correct.

MCBATH: So sir, I just want to thank you so much in my limited time today for your team - the work that you did and your dedication in less than two years your team was able to uncover an incredible amount of information related to Russia's attack on our elections and to obstruction of justice and there is still more that we have to learn. Despite facing unfair attacks by the president and even here today, your work has been substantive and fair. The work has laid the critical foundation for our investigation and for that I thank you. I thank you. And with that, I yield back the balance of my time.

NADLER: The young lady yields back. The gentleman from Arizona.

STANTON: Thank you. Director Mueller, I'm disappointed that some have questioned your motives throughout this process and I want to take a moment to remind the American people of who you are and your exemplary service to our country. You are a Marine. You served in Vietnam and earned a Bronze Star and Purple Heart. Correct?

MUELLER: Correct.

STANTON: Which president appointed you to become the United States Attorney for Massachusetts?

MUELLER: Which Senator?

STANTON: Which president?

MUELLER: Which president? I think that was President Bush.

STANTON: According to my notes it was President Ronald Reagan had the honor to do so.

MUELLER: My mistake.

(Laughter)

STANTON: Under whose administration did you serve as the assistant attorney general in charge of the DOJ's criminal division?

MUELLER: Under which president?

STANTON: Yes.

MUELLER: That would be George Bush, I.

STANTON: That is correct, President George H. W. Bush. After that you took a job at a prestigious law firm and after only a couple of years you did something extraordinary. You left that lucrative position to reenter public service, prosecuting homicides here in Washington, D.C. Is that correct?

MUELLER: Correct.

STANTON: When you were named director of the FBI, which president first appointed you?

MUELLER: Bush.

STANTON: And the Senate confirmed you with a vote of 98-0. Correct?

MUELLER: Surprising.

(LAUGHTER)

STANTON: And you were sworn in as director just one week before the September 11 attacks.

MUELLER: True.

STANTON: You helped to protect this nation against another attack. You did such an outstanding job that when your 10-year term expired, the Senate unanimously voted to extend your term for another 2 years, correct?

MUELLER: True.

STANTON: When you were asked in 2017 to take the job as special counsel, the president had just fired FBI Director James Comey. The Justice Department and the FBI were in turmoil. You must have known there would be an extraordinary challenge. Why did you accept?

MUELLER: I'm not going to get into - that's a little bit off track. It was a challenge. Period.

STANTON: Some people have attacked the political motivations of your team, even suggested your investigation was a witch hunt. When you consider people to join your team, did you ever even once ask about their political affiliation?

MUELLER: Never once.

STANTON: In your entire career as a law enforcement official, have you ever made a hiring decision based upon a person's political affiliation?

MUELLER: No.

STANTON: I'm not surprised...

MUELLER: If I might just interject. The capabilities that we have shown in the report that's been discussed here today was a result of - it came of agents and lawyers who are absolutely exemplary and were hired because of the value they could contribute to getting the job done and getting it done expeditiously.

STANTON: So you're a patriot. And clear to me in reading you report and listening to your testimony today, you acted fairly and with restraint. There were circumstances where you could have filed charges against other people mentioned in the report but you declined. Not ever prosecutor does that, certainly not one on a witch hunt. The attacks made against you and your team intensified because your report is damming and I believe you did uncover substantial evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors. Let me also say something else that you were right about. The only remedy for this situation is for Congress to take action. I yield back.

NADLER: The gentleman yields back. The gentlelady from Pennsylvania.

DEAN: Good morning Director Mueller, Madeleine Dean.

MUELLER: Oh, got you. Sorry.

DEAN: Thank you. I wanted to ask you about public confusion connected with Attorney General Barr's release of your report.

[12:00:00]