MUELLER TO REP LIEU: DOJ OPINION REASON FOR NO TRUMP INDICTMENT

July 24, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON - Today, Congressman Ted W. Lieu questioned former Special Counsel Robert Mueller during a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee. In the hearing, Mr. Lieu and Mr. Mueller said:

REP. LIEU:

Thank you. So to recap what we've heard. We have heard today that the President ordered former White House Counsel Don McGahn to fire you. The President ordered Don McGahn to then cover that up and create a false paper trail. Now we’ve heard the President ordered Corey Lewandowski to tell Jeff Sessions to limit your investigation so you [would] stop investigating the President. I believe a reasonable person looking at these facts could conclude that all three elements of the crime of obstruction of justice have been met. And I'd like to ask you the reason again that you did not indict Donald Trump is because of OLC opinion stating that you cannot indict a sitting president, correct?

MR. MUELLER:

That is correct.

WATCH THE VIDEO HERE

Full transcript of Mr. Lieu’s questioning:

REP. LIEU
Thank you, Director Mueller for your long history of service to our country including your service as a Marine where you earned a Bronze Star. I’d like to now turn to the elements of obstruction of justice as applied to the President’s attempts to curtail your investigation. The first element of obstruction of justice requires an obstructive act, correct?

MR. MUELLER
Correct.

REP. LIEU
I'd like to direct you to page 97 of volume 2 of your report. You wrote there on page 97, “Sessions was being instructed to tell the Special Counsel to end the existing investigation into the president and his campaign.” That's in the report, correct?

MR. MUELLER
Correct.

REP. LIEU
That would be evidence of an obstructive act because it would naturally obstruct the investigation, correct?

MR. MUELLER
Correct.

REP. LIEU
Okay. Let's turn now to the second element of the crime of obstruction of justice which includes a nexus to initial proceeding. The same page of Volume 2. You wrote, “By the time the president's initial one-on-one meeting with Lewandowski on June 19th, 2017, the existence of supervised by special counsel was public knowledge.” That’s in the report, correct?

MR. MUELLER
Correct.

REP. LIEU
That would constitute evidence of a nexus to official proceeding because a grand jury investigation is an official proceeding, correct?

MR. MUELLER
Yes.

REP. LIEU
Okay. I'd like to now turn to the final element of the obstruction of justice. On that same page, page 97, do you see where there's the intent section on that page?

MR. MUELLER
I do.

REP. LIEU
Would you be willing to read the first sentence?

MR. MUELLER
And that was starting with-?

REP. LIEU
Substantial evidence.

MR. MUELLER
Indicating set of precedence?

REP. LIEU
If you could read the sentence, would you do that?

MR. MUELLER
I’m happy to have you read it.

REP. LIEU
You wrote, “Substantial evidence indicates to have Sessions limit the scope of the Special Counsel's investigation to prevent further investigative scrutiny of the president's campaign and conduct.” That's in the report, correct?

MR. MUELLER
That's in the report. And I rely what's in the report to indicate what's happened in the paragraphs we've been discussing.

REP. LIEU
Thank you. So to recap what we've heard. We have heard today that the President ordered former White House Counsel Don McGahn to fire you. The President ordered Don McGahn to then cover that up and create a false paper trail. Now we’ve heard the President ordered Corey Lewandowski to tell Jeff Sessions to limit your investigation so you [would] stop investigating the President. I believe a reasonable person looking at these facts could conclude that all three elements of the crime of obstruction of justice have been met. And I'd like to ask you the reason again that you did not indict Donald Trump is because of OLC opinion stating that you cannot indict a sitting president, correct?

MR. MUELLER
That is correct.

REP. LIEU
The fact that the orders by the President were not carried out, that is not a defense to obstruction of justice because a statute itself is quite broad. It says that as long as you endeavor or attempt to obstruct justice, that would also to out a constitute a crime.

MR. MUELLER
I’m not going to get into that at this juncture.

REP. LIEU
Thank you. And based on the evidence we have heard today, I believe a reasonable person could conclude that at least three crimes of obstruction of justice by the President occurred. We're going to hear about two additional crimes that would be the witness tampering’s.

MR. MUELLER
The only thing I want to add is going through the elements with you does not mean I subscribe to the -- what you're trying to prove through those elements.

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