When given the chance to question Robert Mueller at Wednesday’s House Judiciary hearing, Rep. Ben Cline (R-VA) started off by calling out Mueller for continually avoiding questions by saying he was unwilling to talk about whatever was being asked of him.
“Mr. Mueller, we’ve heard a lot about what you’re not going to talk about today, so let’s talk about something that you should be able to talk about: the law itself, the underlying statute in your creative legal analysis of the statutes in Volume Two [of your report],” Cline said, referring to the piece of Mueller’s report that discusses obstruction of justice.
Cline then said he was interested in Mueller’s interpretation of current obstruction of justice statutes since his investigation provides nothing that meets the current standard for definitive obstruction of justice.
Cline later brought up the fact that many in the Justice Department do not agree with Mueller’s wording on whether or not Donald Trump is guilty of obstruction of justice.
“You’d agree that not everyone in the Justice Department agreed with your legal theory of the obstruction of justice statutes, correct?” Cline asked.
“I’m not going to be involved in a discussion on that at this juncture,” Mueller said, dodging yet another question during the hearing.
Asked then whether Attorney General William Barr disagreed with his opinions on obstruction of justice, Mueller said he’d leave that to the attorney general.
Asked whether prosecutors can sometimes misinterpret the law, Mueller agreed.
Cline then went into a specific prosector who worked under Mueller.
“One of your top prosecutors, Andrew Weissmann, obtained a conviction against auditing firm Arthur Andersen, lower court, which was subsequently overturned in a unanimous Supreme Court decision that rejected the legal theory advanced by Weissman, correct?” Cline asked.
Source: Fox News
After stumbling a bit in what quickly became expected form during the hearing, Mueller finally managed to say, “I’m not going to be involved in a discussion on that.”
Cline continued by reading from the Supreme Court’s decision on Weissman’s case. He said their decision stated that prosecutors’ instructions “diluted the meaning of corruptly, such that it covered innocent conduct.”
The Virginia lawmaker went on to say he is concerned about Mueller’s “over-criminalization of innocent conduct” in regards to accusations of obstruction of justice against President Donald Trump.
Cline added that Mueller’s theory of liability is dangerously “broad.”
To emphasize the point of just how broad Mueller’s definition of obstruction of justice is, Cline brought up quotes from Barack Obama made during an FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while serving as secretary of state.
“I don’t think it posed a national security problem,” the former president said at one point about the matter.
After reading another quote from Obama downplaying Clinton’s use of a private server, Cline asked, “Assuming for a moment that his comments did influence the investigation, couldn’t President Obama be charged under your interpretation of obstruction of justice?”
“Well, again, I refer you to the report,” Mueller weakly replied.
He went to continue avoiding the question by defending Andrew Weissman, calling him “one of the more talented attorneys that we have onboard.”
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