Mueller says his probe was not a 'witch hunt' in first-ever public refute of Trump claim

Former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerAn unquestioning press promotes Rep. Adam Schiff's book based on Russia fiction Senate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG MORE on Wednesday testified that his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election was "not a witch hunt," the first time he has publicly pushed back on President TrumpDonald TrumpGOP grapples with chaotic Senate primary in Pennsylvania ​​Trump social media startup receives commitment of billion from unidentified 'diverse group' of investors Iran thinks it has the upper hand in Vienna — here's why it doesn't MORE's derisive nickname for the probe. 

House Intelligence Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffJan. 6 panel faces new test as first witness pleads the Fifth Jan. 6 panel releases contempt report on Trump DOJ official ahead of censure vote The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden to update Americans on omicron; Congress back MORE (D-Calif.) sought Mueller's confirmation of a number of damaging facts laid out in the special counsel's 448-page report, including that a number of former Trump associates were indicted on charges of lying to the FBI.

"And when Donald Trump called your investigation a witch hunt, that was also false was it not?” Schiff asked.

"Like to think so, yes," Mueller replied.

"Well your investigation is not a witch hunt is it?" Schiff asked. 

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"It is not a witch hunt," Mueller said.

"When the president said the Russian interference was a hoax, that was false wasn’t it?” Schiff continued.

"True," Mueller concluded.

 

Trump railed against Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election repeatedly over the course of the roughly two-year probe. He consistently described it as a "witch hunt" and a "hoax."

The 448-page report did not establish a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russian government, and neither implicated nor exonerated the president on obstruction of justice charges.

Mueller never made public statements during the investigation, and has only made one public statement since it concluded. Wednesday marked his first time answering questions about his findings.