In a highly contentious moment during former Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s testimony in front of the House Judiciary Committee, he was caught in his first attempt to mislead the American public.
Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA), the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, reminded Robert Mueller of a statement he made during his press conference where he said he “chose his words carefully” in his report. Collins asked Mueller if he stood by his statement? Mueller responded, “Yes.”
Collins continued, “Although your report states, ‘collusion is not a specific offense,’ and you said that this morning, ‘or a term of art in federal criminal law, conspiracy is.’ In the colloquial context, are collusion, and conspiracy essentially synonymous terms?”
A confused Mueller asked Rep. Collins to repeat himself.
Collins repeated his question, “‘Collusion is not a specific offense, conspiracy is.'” In the colloquial context, known public context, collusion, and conspiracy are essentially synonymous terms—correct?
“No,” Mueller responded.
Rep. Collins proceeded, as he dropped the hammer on what appeared to be a stunned Mueller, “If no, on page 180 in volume I of your report, you wrote, ‘As defined in collusion is largely synonymous with conspiracy as that crime is set forth in a general federal conspiracy statute.'”
“You said in your May 21st press conference that you chose your words carefully. Are you sitting here today stating something different than your report states?” Rep. Collins asked.
Mueller appeared to backpedal, asking Collins to give him the citation.
Rep. Collins wasn’t falling for it, as he read the report back to him, saying, “Now, you said you chose your words carefully. Are you contradicting your report?”
Mueller answered, “Not when I read it.”
Rep. Collins asked, “So you change your answer to ‘yes’ then?”
A bumbling Mueller responded, “Page 180?”
Collins answered, “Yes.”
Again, a stuttering Mueller who realized he was caught contradicting his own report, conceded, saying, “Then I will leave it with the report.”
Collins, satisfied that he nailed the partisan hack prosecutor, said, “So the report says ‘yes.’ They are synonymous. Hopefully, and finally, we can put to bed the collusion and conspiracy.”
Watch the stunning exchange here: