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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9:27 a.m. ET, July 24, 2019

Mueller: The "Russian government interfered in our election in sweeping and systematic fashion"

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

Robert Mueller opened his testimony by going over his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

He said his investigation found that the "Russian government interfered in our election in sweeping and systematic fashion."

Mueller continued:

"Second, the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired with the Russian government in its election interference activities. We did not address 'collusion,' which is not a legal term. Rather, we focused on whether the evidence was sufficient to charge any member of the campaign with taking part in a criminal conspiracy. It was not.
Third, our investigation of efforts to obstruct the investigation and lie to investigators was of critical importance. Obstruction of justice strikes at the core of the government’s effort to find the truth and to hold wrongdoers accountable."

Listen to Mueller's full opening statement:

8:52 a.m. ET, July 24, 2019

Mueller was just sworn in

Andrew Harnik/AP
Andrew Harnik/AP

Former special counsel Robert Mueller was just sworn into the House Judiciary Committee.

Lawmakers are expected to grill Mueller for three hours. Each members gets about five minutes to question Mueller.

He'll testify publicly again at noon ET before the House Intelligence Committee.

8:49 a.m. ET, July 24, 2019

GOP congressman: "The President knew he was innocent"

Alex Brandon/AP
Alex Brandon/AP

Republican Rep. Doug Collins, the ranking member on the House Judiciary Committee, defended Trump's attitude toward Robert Mueller's investigation, saying "the President knew he was innocent."

"The President’s attitude towards the investigation was understandably negative, yet the President did not use his authority to close the investigation. He asked his lawyer if Mr. Mueller had conflicts that disqualified Mr. Mueller from the job, but he did not shut down the investigation. The President knew he was innocent," he said.

Collins added: "This hearing is long overdue. We’ve had the truth for months — no American conspired to throw our elections. What we need today is to let that truth bring us confidence and closure."

Watch Collins' opening statement:

8:41 a.m. ET, July 24, 2019

Here's who's sitting behind Robert Mueller

Robert Mueller, who is facing lawmakers right now, is surrounded by people who worked with him on his investigation.

They are...

  • James Quarles: Top deputy on special counsel
  • Andrew Goldstein: Prosecutor on special counsel
  • Jonathan Yarowsky: Wilmer Hale attorney who helped as an intermediary re Mueller appearance with the committees
9:08 a.m. ET, July 24, 2019

Jerry Nadler: "In this nation, not even the President is above the law"

Alex Brandon/AP
Alex Brandon/AP

House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler said in his opening statement that "any other person" who acted as President Trump has would have been criminally charged.

"The President’s behavior included, and I quote from your report, 'public attacks on the investigation, non-public efforts to control it, and efforts in both public and private to encourage witnesses not to cooperate,'" Nadler said.

"Among the most shocking of these incidents, President Trump ordered his White House counsel to have you fired and then to lie and deny that it ever happened; he ordered his former campaign manager to convince the recused attorney general to step in and limit your work; and he attempted to prevent witnesses from cooperating with your investigation."

He continued:

"Although Department policy barred you from indicting the President for this conduct, you made clear that he is not exonerated. Any other person who acted this way would have been charged with a crime. And in this nation, not even the President is above the law. 

Some background: Mueller's 448-page report, which was released in April, detailed numerous cases in which Trump asked his aides to take actions that would have obstructed the investigation, but stated they were unsuccessful because the aides refused his orders. Mueller's investigation pointedly states it was unable to conclude "no criminal conduct occurred."

Watch Nadler's opening statement:

9:09 a.m. ET, July 24, 2019

Mueller takes his seat

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Former special counsel Robert Mueller just took his seat before lawmakers on the House Judiciary Committee.

The hearing is opening with remarks from the committee's chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler.

8:26 a.m. ET, July 24, 2019

Mueller is surrounded by members of the FBI director's security detail

From CNN analyst John Campbell

ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images
ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images

Robert Mueller is surrounded by members of FBI Director Chris Wray’s security detail. 

As with past high-profile events, the security team has scripted every moment of what we’re about to see, from his arrival to departure. 

The room will be controlled by Capitol Police and Mueller’s immediate close-in security is in the hands of the FBI.

8:31 a.m. ET, July 24, 2019

Here's what you need to know about the Mueller report

Special counsel Robert Mueller's long-awaited report was released in April and detailed his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US election.

The report only included "limited" redactions, according to Attorney General William Barr.

Here are the key takeaways from the report:

  • Trump campaign "expected" help from Russians but did not conspire: Mueller's report concludes that it "did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in the election interference activities."
  • Trump asked campaign aides to find Hillary Clinton's emails: Mueller learned that after publicly saying he hoped Russia would find Hillary Clinton's deleted emails from her private server, President Trump asked people associated with his campaign to find them, including a future member of his White House staff.
  • Mueller "does not exonerate" Trump on obstruction: Mueller offers no definitive conclusion on whether Trump obstructed justice during the course of his investigation.
  • Aides refused to help efforts to obstruct: Mueller reports that because aides and advisers to Trump refused to "carry out orders," the President was prevented from influencing the special counsel's investigation.
  • Mueller says Congress can pursue investigation of Trump obstruction: Members of Congress will zero in on one critical section in Mueller's report. The former special counsel provides a constitutional justification for its own investigation, but also points out that Congress can also apply obstruction laws in investigating and impeaching a sitting president.
  • Trump's written answers to Mueller's questions were "inadequate": The former special counsel viewed an interview with Trump "vital to our investigation" and even considered a subpoena but decided not to because the process could "delay" finishing the investigation. Instead, Mueller provided Trump with written questions to answer but was not satisfied with the President's responses.
  • Could not prove Trump Jr. "willfully" broke law with Trump Tower meeting: Mueller did not prosecute Trump's eldest son, Donald Jr., over his actions in accepting a meeting in June 2016 at Trump Tower with a Russian national who promised damaging information about Hillary Clinton. Investigators could not prove Trump Jr. or the other campaign officials at the meeting "willfully" violated the law.
  • Ivanka and Hope Hicks knew Don Jr. was seeking dirt on Clinton: Days before he held the 2016 meeting at Trump Tower, Donald Trump Jr. announced at a meeting of Trump campaign officials that he was pursuing a lead on getting negative information about the Clinton foundation, according to Mueller's interview with deputy campaign chairman Rick Gates.
  • Trump misled the public on the Trump Tower meeting, but it wasn't criminal: Mueller describes finding three occasions in the summer of 2017 when Trump told people around him to mislead the press about the Trump Tower meeting.
  • Trump dropped F-bomb after Mueller got the job: According to the report, the President said in May 2017 that the appointment of the special counsel was the "end" of his presidency. When he learned deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein had appointed Mueller to investigate Russian interference, Trump apparently "slumped back in his chair and said, 'Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my Presidency. I'm f***ed.'"
8:28 a.m. ET, July 24, 2019

What the leaders from each committee have said about the Mueller hearings so far

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) speaks to members of the media at Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill on June 26, 2019 in Washington, DC.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) speaks to members of the media at Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill on June 26, 2019 in Washington, DC. Alex Wong/Getty Images

Members of the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees are preparing to grill former special counsel Robert Mueller about his report and investigation.

Here's what they've said about the hearings so far:

House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler: On Sunday, he said Mueller's report presents "very substantial evidence" that President Trump is "guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors" — an impeachable offense. Nadler told CNN that by having Mueller testify before the committee, the panel's "goal is to break the lies of the President and the attorney general in saying that the report found no collusion, found that there was no collusion, that there was no obstruction and exonerated the President."

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff: He said Sunday that most Americans haven't read the dense 448-page Mueller report. Schiff said on CBS "Face The Nation" that the report contains "a pretty damning set of facts," and said, "Who better to bring them to life than the man who did the investigation himself."

Georgia Rep. Doug Collins: Collins, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, said his members are prepared to address the topics they want to cover, but he argued the pressure was on the Democrats to deliver this week. "At this point I think the expectations are entirely on the Democrats. The hype is on the Democrats to find out something new out of a well-read report that again, at the end of the day, Mr. Mueller has done all he's going to do," he said.

California Rep. Devin Nunes: Nunes, the top Republican on the Intelligence Committee, has not commented to CNN and others about the Mueller report. But he told Fox News' Sean Hannity this week that he would try to prevent Mueller from trying to "embellish."