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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2:58 p.m. ET, July 24, 2019

Mueller on Trump's "love" of WikiLeaks: "Problematic is an understatement"

Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg/Getty Images
Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Democratic Rep. Mike Quigley just read off several quotes that President Trump has said about WikiLeaks, including "This WikiLeaks is like a treasure trove" and "Boy, I love reading those WikiLeaks."

Some context: The quotes were all Trump's reaction to leaked information on Hillary Clinton's campaign.

Quigley asked former special counsel Robert Mueller to react to those lines.

"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.

Watch more:

2:58 p.m. ET, July 24, 2019

Mueller on Russian hacking: "It was not a hoax"

Andrew Harnik/AP
Andrew Harnik/AP

Former special counsel Robert Mueller said Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election was "not a hoax."

His remarks on Russian interference came during a line of questioning by Rep. Jackie Speier, who described it as "an invasion" as well as "sinister and scheming."

Asked if he would agree that it was not a hoax and that the Russians were engaged in trying to impact the US election, Mueller said, "Absolutely, it was not a hoax."

"The indictments we returned against the Russians — two different ones — were substantial in their scope, using the scope word again. And I think we have underplayed to a certain extent that aspect of our investigation that has and would have long term damage to the United States that we need to move quickly to address.”

2:22 p.m. ET, July 24, 2019

Mueller says Russian hacking was intended to help Trump, but Clinton "was subject to much the same behavior"

From CNN's Fadel Allassan

Andrew Harnik/AP
Andrew Harnik/AP

Asked by Democratic Rep. Jim Himes which candidate Russian hacking was designed to benefit, Mueller answered Trump — but he added “there were instances where Hillary Clinton was subject to much the same behavior.”

Here's the full exchange: 

Himes: "Director, who did the Russian social media campaign ultimately intend to benefit, Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump?"

Mueller: "Donald Trump."

Himes: "The second operation —"

Mueller: "Let me say Donald Trump. There were instances where Hillary Clinton was subject to much the same behavior."

1:40 p.m. ET, July 24, 2019

What Mueller says 2020 campaigns should do if they're offered "dirt"

Rep. Jim Himes, a Democrat from Connecticut, asked Mueller, "We have an election coming up in 2020, director. If a campaign receives an offer of dirt from a foreign individual or government, generally speaking, should that campaign report those contacts?

"Should be. Can be, depending on the circumstances, a crime," Mueller responded.

1:36 p.m. ET, July 24, 2019

We're hearing a lot about Joseph Mifsud today. Here's what you should know about him.

From CNN's Marshall Cohen

There’s been a lot of talk today about Joseph Mifsud, a Malta-born professor who was in contact with Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos throughout 2016 before the election.

Mueller’s team, in court filings and their final report, describe Mifsud as someone who has vast connections to the Russian government and tried to bring Papadopoulos closer to the Russians.

How he's linked to the Mueller probe: The Mueller investigation determined that Mifsud told Papadopoulos that Russia “could assist the Campaign through the anonymous release of information damaging to candidate Clinton.” That conversation happened months before it was publicly known that Russia hacked the Democrats.

But after leaving prison, Papadopoulos has rallied Republican lawmakers and right-wing conspiracy theorists on the belief that Mifsud did not have serious connections to Russia and was actually a Western intelligence agent. There is little evidence to support these theories, and the Mueller report laid out Mifsud’s vast Russian ties. He has vanished since his name came up in the probe.

1:28 p.m. ET, July 24, 2019

Mueller says his investigation is not a witch hunt

Alex Wong/Getty Images
Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump has often referred to Robert Mueller's investigation as a "witch hunt."

The President even used those words this morning ahead of the hearings, describing Mueller's investigation as "the Greatest Witch Hunt in U.S. history, by far!"

This afternoon, Mueller was asked if his investigation is a "witch hunt."

Here's what Mueller said:

Rep. Adam Schiff: When Donald Trump called your investigation a witch hunt, that is also false, is it not?

Mueller: I like to think so, yes.

Schiff: Your investigation is not a witch hunt, is it?

Mueller: It is not a witch hunt.

1:30 p.m. ET, July 24, 2019

Mueller corrects an exchange from the first hearing

Andrew Harnik/AP
Andrew Harnik/AP

In his opening statement to the House intelligence committee, Special Counsel Robert Mueller clarified an answer he gave to Rep. Ted Lieu. 

His original answer was seen as Mueller saying the only reason the President was not indicted was because, as president, he cannot be indicted. 

However, Mueller clarified the correct view is that they made no assessment as to whether there was a crime or not because of the OLC guidance.

 "Now before we go to questions, I want to add on correction to my testimony this morning. I want to go back to one thing that was said this morning by Mr. Lieu who said, and I quote, you didn't charge the President because of the OLC opinion. That is not the correct way to say it," Mueller said.

Mueller then corrected Lieu's wording: "As we say in the report, and as I said at the opening, we did not reach a determination as to whether the President committed a crime. With that, Mr. Chairman, I'm ready to answer questions."

What you need to know about the OLC opinion: Internal Justice Department policies say that a sitting president cannot be indicted. The policy comes from the OLC — the Office of Legal Counsel — and it dates back to the Nixon administration. It is binding on all Justice Department employees, including Mueller and his team of prosecutors.

In his report, Mueller directly explained how this had a major impact on his internal deliberations.

In effect, Mueller framed his entire obstruction investigation around the notion that he couldn't bring any charges against Trump, even if he found ironclad evidence against him, because of the OLC opinion.

1:38 p.m. ET, July 24, 2019

GOP congressman says evidence of collusion is "like the Loch Ness Monster"

Andrew Harnik/AP
Andrew Harnik/AP

Republican Rep. Devin Nunes, the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee, compared evidence of collision to the Loch Ness Monster.

"Democrats have argued for nearly three years that evidence of collusion is hidden just around the corner. Like the Loch Ness Monster, they insist it's there, even if no one can find it," he said.

Nunes continued to slam Democrats, calling former special counsel Robert Mueller's testimony today a "Hail Mary attempt" for the party.

"They said they want to, quote, bring the Mueller report to life and create a television moment through ploys, like having Mr. Mueller recite passages from his own report. In other words, this is political theater, it’s a Hail Mary attempt to convince the American people that collusion is real and that it's concealed in the report," he said.

Listen to Nunes' full statement:

1:11 p.m. ET, July 24, 2019

Trump thanks Democrats for holding Mueller hearing

President Trump just tweeted again about Robert Mueller's testimony.

This time, the tweet came as the House Intelligence Committee was underway.

Trump thanked Democrats for holding the morning hearing, saying, "Now, after 3 hours, Robert Mueller has to subject himself to #ShiftySchiff - an Embarrassment to our Country!"

Read his tweet: