One of the reasons House Democrats asked former special counsel Robert Mueller to testify before Congress on Wednesday was to present his finding to the American people in a format other than a dense, 448-page report. No member of Congress was able to accomplish this more effectively than House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.).
Though the Mueller report contains plenty of damning information regarding the Trump campaign’s relationship to Russia, most of that information has been revealed through piecemeal reports over a three-year period. Since the investigation began, Schiff has been a fixture on cable news programs, warning Americans of the severity of what these reports — and, ultimately, what Mueller’s report — indicated about the campaign’s complicity in one of the greatest subversions of the democratic process in the nation’s history. Schiff did so again on Wednesday. This time, however, he has Mueller at his disposal.
As the first member of the committee to question Mueller, Schiff simply asked the former special counsel to confirm several aspects of his findings. Taken as a whole, it was the most damning five minutes of Mueller’s time before Congress.
Here’s a list of statements Mueller affirmed as accurate:
- Russia engaged in a sweeping and systematic effort to influence the 2016 election.
- Russia reached out to the Trump campaign as they were trying to accomplish this.
- The Trump campaign welcomed help from Russia.
- Donald Trump Jr. said the campaign would “love” dirt on Hillary Clinton provided by Russia.
- Trump called on Russia to hack Clinton’s emails.
- Trump praised Russia’s release of the Democratic emails hacked by WikiLeaks.
- Trump’s campaign based a messaging strategy around the hacked materials.
- Members of the Trump campaign were trying to enrich themselves personally during the campaign and transition.
- Paul Manafort was trying to achieve debt forgiveness from a Russia oligarch.
- Michael Flynn was trying to make money from Turkey.
- Trump was trying to make money from a Trump Tower in Moscow.
- Numerous Trump associates lied about this, including Flynn, Manafort, Rick Gates, Michael Cohen, and George Papadopolous.
- Manafort encouraged others to lie.
- Mueller’s investigation was not a “witch hunt,” as Trump has claimed.
- Russian interference was not a “hoax,” as Trump has claimed.
- Russia wanted Trump to win the election.
- Russia informed Trump campaign officials of this intention.
- Russia committed federal crimes in order to help Trump win.
- The Trump campaign lied to cover up their dealings with Russia during the campaign.
Here’s what Mueller said:
➡️ Russia interfered in our election to help Trump.
➡️ Russians made numerous contacts with the campaign.
➡️ Campaign welcomed their help.
➡️ No one reported these contacts or interference to FBI.
➡️ They lied to cover it up. pic.twitter.com/ePAjUkfMlo
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) July 24, 2019
Mueller did not give Democrats the conclusion they’ve wanted most — that Trump or his campaign worked with Russia in a criminal conspiracy — but when you collect everything Mueller did find and put it together in one place, it really, really doesn’t look good.