Dem lawmaker asks Mueller if Trump administration was vulnerable to blackmail

Dem lawmaker asks Mueller if Trump administration was vulnerable to blackmail
© Greg Nash

A Democratic lawmaker questioned former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE on Wednesday over whether members of the Trump administration were considered by the Justice Department to be vulnerable to blackmail.

Rep. Raja KrishnamoorthiSubramanian (Raja) Raja KrishnamoorthiHillicon Valley: Barr threatens tech's prized legal shield | House panel seeks information from Amazon's Ring | Trump DOJ backs Oracle in Supreme Court fight against Google | TikTok unveils new safety controls House subcommittee requests information from Ring about cooperation with police, local governments Lawmakers with first-hand experience using food stamps call on Trump not to cut program MORE (D-Ill.) asked Mueller during a hearing of the House Intelligence Committee about his report's decision to not reach "counterintelligence conclusions" about whether there are “any Trump administration officials who may be vulnerable to compromise or blackmail by Russia.”

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“Those decisions were probably made in the FBI,” the former special counsel responded, adding: “We referred to the counterintelligence goals of our investigation which were secondary to any criminal wrongdoing we could find.” 

Krishnamoorthi also questioned whether the report had examined whether former national security adviser Michael Flynn presented a risk to U.S. security by making false statements about his contacts with members of the Russian government, which he argued gave the Russians leverage over Flynn.

“Since it was outside the purview of your investigation, your report did not address how Flynn’s false statements could pose a national security risk, because the Russians knew the falsity of those statements, right?” the congressman asked.

“I cannot get into that, mainly because there are many elements that the FBI are looking into different aspects of that issue,” Mueller replied, adding that such questions were "currently" being looked into when further questioned by Krinshamoorthi.

Flynn resigned as White House national security adviser early into the president's term in 2017 after it was revealed he had made false statements to Vice President Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceTrump trails Democratic challengers among Catholic voters: poll Sunday shows preview: 2020 candidates look to South Carolina The Democratic nominee won't be democratically chosen MORE about his contacts with Russian officials.

He was since convicted of making false statements to investigators, and is awaiting sentencing.