Mueller Testimony


Sriya Bandi, Reporter

     The long-awaited report by special counsel Robert Mueller, which documented the investigation of coordination between the Trump campaign and Russian officials during the 2016 presidential election, was released to the public on April 18 by the Department of Justice. The redacted report concluded that there is insufficient evidence of a conspiracy between Trump aides and the Russians meddlers in the election. However, the investigation did not exonerate the president or remove suspicion, and the report details several of the president’s attempts to subvert the investigation, leading to accusations by lawmakers that he obstructed justice.
    Over the course of the two months following his report’s release, Mueller was subpoenaed and agreed to testify for a limited period on July 24 in front of the House Judiciary Committee.  During his testimony, Mueller stuck closely to the report. In few rare breaks from his attempted neutrality, Mueller defended himself against an accusation that the investigation was “a witch hunt” and criticized Trump’s praise for WikiLinks.

Selection of pages from Volume 1, Section 3 of the redacted Mueller Report
     However, for the most part, Mueller remained silent through repeated attacks on the credibility of the investigation and even through personal attacks on his understanding of the law. The hearings dragged on for several hours, and Mueller was later criticized for both refusing to answer any questions not already outlined in the report and being unaware of some of the content of the report itself.
     Tina Chen (‘20), expressed frustrations about the hearing. “Basically,” she said, “the whole situation was drawn out into a convoluted partisan debate that deviated from the main point.  From what I remember of the hearings, a lot of it wasn’t even focused on the actual content of the report.” Unfortunately, even weeks later, the hearings remain frustratingly inconclusive to many.
     Most recently, new legal battles concerning the investigation have come to light. Both FBI Agent Peter Strzok and FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe are suing the government on the grounds that their recent dismissals were due to their political opinions against Trump. McCabe, who was planning to retire after 21 years, claimed that his firing was a politically motivated retaliation by the president due to McCabe’s part in the Mueller investigation.
     Additionally, federal judge Reggie Walton recently conveyed interest in removing the redactions from the Mueller report: “That’s what an open government’s all about,” he said, ensuring that debate over whether or not an unredacted copy would be released will stretch into the months ahead.