‘Problematic is an understatement’: Mueller blasts Trump over Wikileaks praise

by | Jul 24, 2019 | Politics

On Wednesday, after a tense morning meeting with House Judiciary Committee, Robert Mueller continued to answer questions from Congress in a separate hearing with members of the House Intelligence Committee.

Brought into to testify about his findings on Russian interference and Donald Trump’s alleged obstruction of justice, Mueller steered clear from questions concerning Trump’s impeachment and other politically charged matters.

The first round of questioning during the second hearing came from Democratic chair Rep. Adam Schiff and ranking Republican member Devin Nunes, who both took turns framing the Mueller report. Schiff said the report told “a story about lies. Lots of lies” from the president, while Nunes said evidence of collusion was “like the Loch Ness Monster.”

Rep. Joaquin Castro of Texas questioned Mueller about the Trump Tower meeting, a meeting in 2016 with Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya where the Trump campaign was offered dirt on Hillary Clinton. 

“The [Republican] party line in this case, was that the deal ended in January 2016, in other words, they were saying the deal ended in January 2016 before the Republican primaries. In truth though, the deal extended to June 2016 when Donald Trump was already the presumptive Republican nominee,” Castro said, asking Mueller to confirm.

 “That’s correct,” Mueller replied.

While Mueller kept his answers brief throughout the hearing, one moment that created buzz was when the special prosecutor was asked about Trump’s comments over Wikileaks.

Would any of these quotes disturb you, Mr. Director?” Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL) asked Mueller. “How do you react to them?”

“Problematic is an understatement in terms of what it displays, giving some hope or some boost to what is and should be illegal activity,” Mueller responded.

Ultimately, it’s difficult to say whether Mueller’s answers revealed anything that wasn’t already included in the 448-page report released in April. Even so, having Mueller himself highlight the most damaging aspects of the report were enough to get Trump tweeting and may provide Democrats with the necessary firepower in a heated election cycle.

fernando@texassignal.com | + posts

Fernando covers Texas politics and government at the Texas Signal. Before joining the Signal, Fernando spent two years at the Houston Chronicle and previously interned at Houston’s NPR station News 88.7. He is a graduate of the University of Houston, Jack J. Valenti School of Communication, and enjoys reading, highlighting things, and arguing on social media. You can follow him on Twitter at @fernramirez93 or email at fernando@texassignal.com

Are you tired of Texas Republicans pushing big lies and trying to steal your vote? So are we, that’s why we’re fighting back against the right-wing lie machine. Our commitment to ethical, fact-based journalism is vital to our democracy, and we can’t do it without you. Consider donating today to help us stay in this fight.

Continue Reading

O’Rourke vs. Abbott debate REcap

O’Rourke vs. Abbott debate REcap

The two candidates running for governor of Texas, incumbent Gov. Greg Abbott and Democratic nominee Beto O’ Rourke, faced off in a one-hour debate at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley in Edinburg on Friday.  The debate covered various topics, from gun...

A Tale Of Two Campaigns

A Tale Of Two Campaigns

With the campaign for governor heading into the final weeks, Greg Abbott and Beto O’Rourke are making their final pitches to the voters of Texas. And their campaign styles couldn’t be any more different, with O’Rourke taking a more grassroots approach talking to...