WASHINGTON — In his highly anticipated testimony, former Special Counsel Robert Mueller cleared up confusion over his report and whether it exonerated President Donald Trump on Wednesday.
“So the report did not conclude that he did not commit obstruction of justice. Is that correct?” said Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY).
“That is correct” said Mueller.
“What about total exoneration? Did you actually totally exonerate the president?” asked Nadler.
Mueller responded “No”.
Mueller confirmed Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, but said investigators found insufficient evidence of a broader conspiracy involving the trump campaign.
During Wednesday’s hearing, Republicans defended the president.
“The president did not conspire with Russia and nothing we hear today will change those facts” said Rep. Doug Collins, (R-GA).
Democrats honed in on evidence that Trump attempted to obstruct justice by directing people to give false statements and trying to have the special counsel fired.
“It is clear that any other person who engaged in such conduct would be charged with a crime. We will continue our investigation and hold the president accountable” said Rep. Cedric Richmond, (D-LA)
But the president’s supporters criticized the origins of the investigation and accused Democrats, as well as Mueller’s investigators, of bias.
“Here’s what I’m noticing Director Mueller, when people associated with Trump lied, you threw the book at them. When Christopher Steele lied – nothing” said Rep. Matt Gaetz, (R-FL)
Some lawmakers believe Mueller’s testimony will bring closure to the American people, while others, including Democrats considering impeachment, hope the hearing helps their case.