Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller testified in front of the House Judiciary Committee today, giving several dozen members of Congress the chance to cherry pick from Mueller’s extensive investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and receive answers like “yes,” “no,” and “I’ll refer you to the report.”
Part of the questioning he faced was Democratic representatives attempting to nail down whether or not the president committed obstruction of justice, and when he could be indicted for it, leading to this significant exchange suggesting the president could be charged with a crime, and the only reason he wasn’t was because of the the Office of Legal Counsel’s rules on presidential immunity.
Earlier in his testimony, Mueller danced around this point, saying that he could charge the president with a crime after he left office, but not directly saying that the OLC’s protection is what stopped him from doing it as part of his investigation.
According to the pundit class, this means Donald Trump is defeated once and for all. Will that hold up? It’s unclear. What we do know is that the show is very much not over—especially as there’s a whole other hearing today where we get to do all of this over again!
Update 2:00 p.m. ET: Sure enough, in his opening statement to the House Intelligence Committee, where Mueller is delivering his second testimony of the day, the former Special Counsel directly walked back his earlier testimony. Mueller now says that his response to Rep. Ted Lieu’s question was “not the correct way to say it,” instead saying that his office “did not reach a determination as to whether the president committed a crime.” Great. Super clear stuff all round.