WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — As Democrats walked former special counsel Robert Mueller through his report on Russian election meddling, working to point out where President Donald Trump tried to obstruct justice, Republicans defended the president.
Both sides had a tough time pinning Mueller down on much of anything.
“The president was falsely accused of conspiracy,” Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, asserted.
He called the Mueller report a hoax cooked up by Democrats and accused Mueller of turning a blind eye to the political motives of the Steele Dossier, a document put together under the Democratic National Party about Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and the Trump campaign.
“You can charge all types of people who are around the president with false statements but the guy who launches everything, the guy who puts this whole story in motion, you can’t charge him,” Jordan said. “I think that’s amazing.”
Jordan was among the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committee members who spent hours Wednesday tearing into Mueller about his 22-month investigation that yielded a 400-page report released in April.
“The president has repeatedly claimed that your report found there was no obstruction and that it completely and totally exonerated him, but that is not what your report said, is it?” Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., asked.
“Correct, it is not what the report said,” Mueller replied.
Nadler and other Democrats tried to highlight moments where they say the president attempted to obstruct justice during Mueller’s investigation.
“An unsuccessful attempt to obstruct justice is still a crime, is that correct?” Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., said.
“That is correct,” Mueller said.
But he remained tightlipped, sticking to the findings in the report.
“We decided we would not make a determination as to whether the president committed a crime. That was our decision then and it remains our decision today,” Mueller said.
The lack of new information as Mueller declined comment on a number of questions left even some Republicans frustrated.
“A lot of things you can’t get into,” a miffed Jordan said.
Mueller rejected any idea of bias in his investigation.
“This is not a witch hunt,” he said, referencing a phrase repeatedly used by the president to describe the probe.
Attorney General William Barr, who opted not to charge the president after Mueller filed his report, has vowed to investigate the origins of the investigation.
Until then, Republicans say it’s time to move on. Democrats say it’s far from over.