Former special counsel Robert Mueller testified this morning for the first time in front of the House Judiciary Committee regarding his report on Russian interference in the 2016 election.
While Americans know that no collusion occurred between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, many questions remain regarding the false allegations against the President that started this probe in the first place.
Here are some key quotes to take away from Mueller’s hearing as Republican congressional leaders and reporters react.
1) “It is ridiculous for Democrats and the Mueller team to continue claiming Trump isn’t exonerated because Mueller didn’t exonerate him. Mueller is a prosecutor. Prosecutors DO NOT exonerate people. That is NOT his job.” Rep. Mark Meadows
Republican member of the House Judiciary Committee Rep. John Ratcliffe asked Mueller “Which DOJ policy or principle sets forth a legal standard that an investigated person is not exonerated if their innocence from criminal conduct is not conclusively determined?”
Mueller didn’t respond.
Ratcliffe then asked the former special counsel to “give 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.”
“I cannot.” Mueller said.
“Let’s just leave it at you can’t find it because — I’ll tell you why — it doesn’t exist,” said Ratcliffe.
“Respectfully, director, it was not the special counsel’s job to conclusively determine Donald Trump’s innocence or to exonerate him because the bedrock principle of our justice system is a presumption of innocence,” Ratcliffe said. “It exists for everyone. Everyone is entitled to it — including sitting presidents.”
2) “I found Mr. Mueller rather intellectually disheveled. He seemed to not have a strong command of the facts and he seemed unwilling to answer basic questions.” Rep. Matt Gaetz
Special Counsel Robert Mueller was criticized after the hearing by many for his “bumbling congressional testimony” and “slow draw to questioning”.
Fox Business host Stuart Varney remarked, “Robert Mueller seems frail. He does not seem really sharp and in line with answering the questions.”
According to NBC News, Mueller “deflected or declined to answer questions” during the hearing at least 198 times.
“Mueller was slow to react to questions,” commented The Washington Examiner’s Byron York. “He frequently asked for questions to be repeated. He sometimes appeared confused. He did not appear to be conversant with some issues in the investigation. He did not, or could not, put together detailed answers even to those questions he agreed to address.”
"I think it does raise questions about the degree to which he actually was in charge and in control of this report,” said Fox News’ Chris Wallace.
3) “Six of your lawyers donated $12,000 directly to Hillary Clinton ... the opponent who was the target of your investigation.” Rep. Kelly Armstrong
Congressman Kelly Armstrong on the House Judiciary Committee raised serious concerns regarding the seemingly obvious bias of the Democrat staff on Mueller’s team.
“It's not enough for Mr. Mueller to be able to vouch for his team. Federal recusal law exists for a reason. The interest of justice demands that no perceived biases exist.”
Rep. Armstrong further emphasized the inappropriateness of such a biased team…
“I can't imagine a judge I've appeared in front of who would be comfortable with these circumstances where over half of the prosecutorial team had a direct relationship with the opponent of the person being investigated.”
While Democrats continue their horse and pony show desperately trying to condemn the President, it’s important to note that President Trump was found innocent of collusion.
In closing, Rep. Ratcliffe said it best regarding the Democrats' unjust treatment of our President.
“I agree with Chairman Nadler this morning when he said Donald Trump is not above the law. But he damn sure should not be below the law, which is where Volume II of this report puts him.”