Robert Mueller testifies

By Veronica Rocha, Meg Wagner and Amanda Wills, CNN

Updated 11:29 a.m. ET, July 25, 2019
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10:46 a.m. ET, July 24, 2019

Why Mueller is keeping it dry

From CNN's Evan Perez and Jeremy Herb

J. Scott Applewhite/AP
J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Robert Mueller is trying to be careful and keeping his answers as close to the report as possible, according to two sources who are close to him.

Some of the questioners are using rapid-fire or long-winded questions to try to have him depart from the report’s language.

Republicans in particular have used their time to try to impeach the witness.

The Mueller style to try to keep it dry and not provide fodder for the ongoing political fights doesn’t do well in this kind of hearing.

A congressional source involved in negotiations surrounding Mueller’s appearance says that Mueller’s team told the committees that he would decline to read from his report during the hearing.

10:45 a.m. ET, July 24, 2019

Mueller says Rep. Jeffries' analysis of obstruction is "not out of the ballpark"

Andrew Harnik/AP
Andrew Harnik/AP

During his questioning of Robert Mueller, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, a Democrat from New York, outlined why he believed the President had committed obstruction of justice:

"The investigation found substantial evidence that when the President ordered Don McGahn to fire the special counsel and then lie about it, Donald Trump, one, committed an obstructive act. Two, connected to the initial proceeding. Three, did so with corrupt intent. Those are the elements of obstruction of justice," he said.

Jeffries added: "This is the United States of America. No one is above the law. No one. The President must be held accountable one way or the other."

Mueller responded that he was "not supportive" of Jeffries' analysis, but said it's not "out of the ballpark."

"Let me just say, if I might, I don't subscribe necessarily to your -- to the way you analyze that. I’m not saying it’s out of the ballpark, but I'm not supportive of that analytical charge."

10:32 a.m. ET, July 24, 2019

So far, Mueller has told Congress to refer to his report 28 times

From CNN's Sam Fossum and Tara Subramaniam

Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Before he began taking questions, former Special Counsel Robert Mueller said that his testimony would "be limited" and he promised to stick to the text of his report.

He seems to be sticking to that promise.

Mueller so far has told members of Congress to refer to the report in answering questions at least 28 times.

He has also deflected or declined to answer at least three additional times, saying he would have to check on that or look more closely at the statute.

10:22 a.m. ET, July 24, 2019

Mueller has 1.5 hours left and then another committee will question him

Andrew Harnik/AP
Andrew Harnik/AP

We just returned from a five-minute break. But Robert Mueller's testimony before the House Judiciary Committee is not over just yet.

He has about another hour and a half left.

After Mueller wraps up his testimony, the House Intelligence Committee will question him at noon.

10:22 a.m. ET, July 24, 2019

Rep. Louie Gohmert tells Mueller: "You perpetuated injustice"

From CNN's Jeremy Herb

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Robert Mueller declined to engage with the Republican lawmaker who launched one of the most personal attacks at the special counsel at the hearing so far:

"And if somebody knows they did not conspire with anybody from Russia to affect the election and they see the big justice department with people that hate that person coming after him and then a special counsel appointed who hires a dozen or more people that hate that person and he knows he's innocent, he's not corruptly acting in order to see that justice is done. What he's doing is not obstructing justice. He is pursuing justice. And the fact that you ran it out (GAVEL) ... two years means you perpetuated injustice."

After Rep. Louie Gohmert, a Texas Republican accusing Mueller of having “perpetuated injustice” by running his investigation for two years, Chairman Jerry Nadler gave Mueller a chance to respond.

But Mueller deferred.

“I take your question,” he said, instead just moving onto the next lawmaker.

10:01 a.m. ET, July 24, 2019

For first time, Mueller refutes the President's claim about FBI interview

From CNN's Evan Perez and Jason Seher 

Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller said that when he talked to the President on the FBI Director decision, he was not himself a candidate.

Rep. Louie Gohmert asked Mueller this today: "When you talked to President Trump the day before you were appointed as special counsel, you were talking to him about the FBI Director position, again, did he mention James Comey?"

"Not as a candidate," Mueller said.

Some context: Republicans and Trump have spent months claiming it’s a conflict for Mueller to have interviewed for the FBI job and then become special counsel. Trump has said that he rejected Mueller for the job. 

Trump even tweeted this this morning:

CNN has been told that Mueller came in to provide advice on choosing an FBI director. 

10:04 a.m. ET, July 24, 2019

Democratic congressman asks Mueller why Trump wanted him fired

From CNN's David Shortell

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Democratic Rep. Ted Deutch asked former special counsel Robert Mueller about President Trump's desire to fire him.

“Why did the President of the United States want you fired?” Deutch asked. 

“I can’t answer that question,” Mueller responded.

Deutch went on to say that Mueller found evidence that the President wanted to fire him because he was investigating Trump for obstruction of justice.

"Isn't that correct?" the Florida lawmaker asked.

"That's what it says in the report. And yes I standby the report," Mueller said.

9:54 a.m. ET, July 24, 2019

Mueller downplays his relationship with James Comey

From CNN's David Shortell

Robert Mueller downplayed his relationship with former FBI director James Comey, denying they were “good friends,” as Rep. Louie Gohmert questioned him.

Mueller admitting only that they were “friends” and “business associates.”

“We both started off at the Justice Department about the same time,” Mueller said.

Mueller said he had not spoken with Comey in the six months before he was appointed special counsel in 2017.

9:47 a.m. ET, July 24, 2019

There are screens in the room showing quotes from the report

Manu Raju/CNN
Manu Raju/CNN

There are multiple screens in the room today.

One is in front of special counsel Robert Mueller, and it is showing quotes from his report.

There is also a larger screen behind Mueller, which is also displaying lines from the Mueller report.

Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images