Here are 5 flat-out lies Republican House members told during Mueller’s testimony
When former special counsel Robert Mueller testified before two Democrat-led committees of the House of Representatives on Wednesday — the House Judiciary Committee in the morning, followed by the House Intelligence Committee in the afternoon — many House Republicans jumped through hoops to defend President Donald Trump and belittle the Russia investigation. But one thing Trump’s GOP carnival barkers didn’t have on their side when Mueller was testifying were facts, and the New Yorker’s Eric Levitz describes five of their most blatant distortions in a listicle published after the two hearings.
The first Republican claim that Levitz fact-checks is Rep. Doug Collins’ assertion that Trump, according to the Mueller Report, never “colluded” or “collaborated” with members of the Russian government in 2016. As Levitz notes, Mueller never said that the Trump campaign’s interactions with Russians three years ago were totally innocent — only that he didn’t find sufficient evidence to warrant charges of criminal conspiracy.
Second, Levitz notes, House Republicans “repeatedly insinuated” on Wednesday that the FBI’s investigation of Trump’s campaign in 2016 originated with British intelligence official Christopher Steele’s dossier. Republicans have made this claim in the hope of discrediting Mueller’s investigation, but Levitz writes, “One of the House GOP’s own infamously partisan investigations confirmed that Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos triggered the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation.”
Third, Levitz addresses a claim by Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas that because Trump knew he was innocent of any wrongdoing, he was “pursuing justice” instead of “obstructing justice” during Mueller’s probe in 2017 and 2018. Levitz finds that claim ridiculous, stressing that one “doesn’t need to be legally threatened by an investigation in order to corruptly obstruct it.”
Fourth, Levitz explains, Rep. Mike Johnson of Louisiana insisted that Trump “fully cooperated” with Mueller’s investigation — a claim Levitz denounces as “blatantly false,” noting that Trump “refused to sit down for an interview with the special counsel or answer any questions related to obstruction of justice.” Further, Levitz adds, Trump urged witnesses not to “flip” for Mueller.
Finally, Levitz addresses Texas Rep. John Ratcliffe’s assertion that it was unethical for the Mueller Report to lay out a possible case for obstruction of justice because doing so undermines the “presumption of innocence.” Ratcliffe emphasizes, “The main problem with Ratcliffe’s complaint is that Mueller’s decision to detail the evidence for charges he did not ultimately bring — and to clarify that his office could not say that this evidence was insufficient to support an indictment — was compliant with the regulations governing his inquiry.”