CHICAGO (CBS) — Former special counsel Robert Mueller’s long awaited hearing on Capitol Hill has ended.
It comes after his nearly two-year investigation involving Russian interference, the Trump campaign and the president’s actions in the White House.
Questions surrounded everything from whether there was enough evidence to convict the president, or anyone else, of obstruction of justice, to Mueller’s thoughts on the president’s fondness for WikiLeaks.
Illinois Democratic Congressman Mike Quigley (D-5th) asked former special prosecutor Robert Mueller about President Donald Trump’s praise of WikiLeaks during the 2016 presidential campaign. Quigley asked about Mueller’s reaction.
“Problematic is an understatement, in terms of what it displays, in terms of giving some hope or some boost to what is and should be illegal activity,” Mueller said.
During the 2016 campaign, WikiLeaks released hacked emails from the Clinton campaign. U.S. intelligence agencies and Mueller’s investigation determined Russian government entities were responsible to support Trump’s bid for the presidency.
Many lawmakers also centered their questions on whether the president may have obstructed justice.
“Was there sufficient evidence to convict President Trump or anyone else with obstruction of justice?” asked Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colorado).
“We did not make that calculation,” answered Mueller. “Because the OLC opinion, the OLC opinion, Office of Legal Counsel, indicates that we cannot indict a sitting president.”
The Republicans’ take on the hearings?
“I think at the end of the day what we’ve found is exactly what we started with. There’s been no movement. In fact, if anything, it’s now time to move on,” said Rep. Doug Collins (R-Georgia).
Democrats said the hearings show evidence of possible crimes taking place in the Trump White House.
“This should have blown their minds because they saw for the first time Robert Mueller saying yes to multiple instances of obstruction of justice by Donald Trump. We’ve got a felon right now in the White House. The American people are seeing it,” said Rep. Ted Lieu (D-California).
Another Democrat, Illinois U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, also got to question Mueller during the proceedings. He asked Mueller whether the United States was doing enough to prevent electoral interference again.
“No. Much more needs to be done to protect against this intrusion. Not just by the Russians but by others as well,” Mueller said.
Trump said there was no defense to what he called “a hoax” and “a witch hunt.”
“It’s a disgrace, what happened, but I think today proved a lot to everybody. In fact some of my biggest opponents wrote things today that I wouldn’t have believed that they would have written, and I appreciate that they did that,” Trump said.
The president watched some of the hearing. He tweeted thanking the Democrats, in a sarcastic tone, for holding it.
Mueller said the president could be charged with obstruction once he leaves office.