In questioning Robert Mueller on Wednesday, Rep. Greg Steube, R-Fla., ran into the same stonewalling seen all day from Mueller.
The Republican began by asking Mueller whether he had applied for the FBI director job one day before he was named special council.
Mueller acknowledged that he interviewed with President Trump, but characterized the meeting as more of him giving his input on what it would take to do the job.
After getting Mueller on the record denying that he was applying for the job, Steube asked him if he recalled telling Vice President Mike Pence the bureau director job was the one role he would come back for, Mueller said he doesn’t remember saying that.
Changing gears, Steube asked about any impact Russia may have had on voters.
“Given your 22 months of investigation, tens of millions of dollars spent and millions of documents reviewed, did you obtain any evidence at all of any American voter changing their vote as a result of Russia’s election interference?” he asked.
“I’m not going to speak to that,” Mueller replied, this being a familiar refrain of the day.
The congressman was perturbed when Mueller said that while investigating Russian meddling was within his purview, the impact of that meddling was not.
The former special council said that was taken up by other agencies.
After noting his own report said the Russian dossier from ex-British spy Christopher Steele was unverified, Steube asked Mueller how long it took him to determine that it was unverified.
Again, Mueller refused to answer the question.
He also refused to speak to when he learned the dossier, which was paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign, was used to apply for the FISA warrants against ex-Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
Mueller wouldn’t even say whether his team interviewed Steele, which would further flabbergast Steube. Mueller reminded him that he said at the outset of his testimony that he would not answer questions on the Steele dossier.
He also told the lawmaker he had “nothing to add.”
“I can guarantee that the American people want to know,” Steube told Mueller. “And I’m very hopeful and glad that [Attorney General William] Barr and the inspector general are looking into this because you’re unwilling to answer the questions of the American people as it relates to the very basis of this investigation into the president.”
“And the very basis of the individual, who you did interview, you just refuse to answer those questions.”
After getting Mueller to acknowledge that the president has the constitutional right to fire the director of the FBI “at any time without reason,” Steube asked the same about Mueller as special counsel.
“I believe that to be the case,” Mueller replied, before backtracking to say he’s unsure about the extent for whatever reason.
When noting that Mueller testified that he wasn’t fired and was able to complete his investigation in full, Mueller again demurred, saying, “I’m not going to add to what I stated before.”
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