Mueller tells House panel Trump asked staff to falsify records

Former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerMueller report fades from political conversation Trump calls for probe of Obama book deal Democrats express private disappointment with Mueller testimony MORE confirmed in testimony before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpFacebook releases audit on conservative bias claims Harry Reid: 'Decriminalizing border crossings is not something that should be at the top of the list' Recessions happen when presidents overlook key problems MORE directed staffers to falsify records connected to Mueller’s investigation.

Asked by Rep. Cedric RichmondCedric Levon RichmondHouse Democrat calls for gun control: Cities can ban plastic straws but 'we can't ban assault weapons?' Embattled Juul seeks allies in Washington Democratic lawmakers support Bustos after DCCC resignations MORE (D-La.) whether it was “fair to say” Trump “tried to protect himself by asking staff to falsify records relevant to an ongoing investigation,” Mueller responded, “I would say that's generally a summary.”

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Richmond then asked if, in giving the order, Trump intended to “hamper the investigation.” In response, Mueller referred Richmond back to his office’s report.

The Louisiana congressman went on to specifically ask Mueller about Trump’s attempts to get then-White House counsel Don McGahn to create a written record falsely asserting Trump had not directed him to fire Mueller, which McGahn refused.

Richmond asked if the attempts “were related to President Trump's concerns about your obstruction of justice inquiry,” to which Mueller responded, “I believe that to be true.”

"So it's accurate to say the president knew that he was asking [Don McGahn] to deny facts that McGahn 'had repeatedly said were accurate.' Isn't that right?" Richmond asked Mueller, with the special counsel responding in the affirmative.

The exchange between Trump and McGahn was one of 10 episodes Mueller’s team investigated as possible obstruction of justice, a frequent topic during the marathon hearing.

Mueller, who wrote in the report that the probe could not exonerate Trump on obstruction, repeatedly demurred on whether the behavior described in the report met the legal definition during the hearing.