REPRESENTATIVE JERRY NADLER: Now if you would please rise, I will begin by swearing you in.
SPECIAL COUNSEL ROBERT MUELLER: I believe that it was of paramount interest to the nation to determine whether a foreign adversary had interfered in the presidential election.
[A MASHUP OF MOMENTS FROM MUELLER’S TESTIMONY IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES]
SPECIAL COUNSEL MUELLER: During the course of our investigation, we charged more than 30 defendants with committing federal crimes. First, our investigation found that the Russian government interfered in our election in a sweeping and systematic fashion. Second, the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired with the Russian government in its election interference activities. [PAUSE] We decided we would not make a determination as to whether the President committed a crime.
REPRESENTATIVE NADLER: And what about total exoneration? Did you actually totally exonerate the president?
SPECIAL COUNSEL MUELLER: No.
REPRESENTATIVE NADLER: The president could be prosecuted for obstruction of justice crimes after he leaves office. Is this correct?
SPECIAL COUNSEL MUELLER: True.
REPRESENTATIVE JOHN RATCLIFFE: The bedrock principle of our justice system is a presumption of innocence. Everyone is entitled to it, including sitting presidents.
REPRESENTATIVE PRAMILA JAYAPAL: Anyone else who did these things would be prosecuted for them.
REPRESENTATIVE CEDRIC RICHMOND: Because no one is above the law.
SPECIAL COUNSEL MUELLER: Uh, could you repeat that, please?
REPRESENTATIVE STEVE COHEN: In America, nobody is above the law.
REPRESENTATIVE NADLER: No one is above the law.
REPRESENTATIVE DEBBIE MUCARSEL-POWELL: So, to reiterate, simply trying to obstruct justice can be a crime, correct?
SPECIAL COUNSEL MUELLER: Yes.
REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SCHIFF: And you would consider a million-dollar deal to build a tower in Moscow to be business dealings, wouldn’t you, Director Mueller?
SPECIAL COUNSEL MUELLER: Absolutely.
REPRESENTATIVE JIM SENSENBRENNER: Why did we have all of this investigation when you knew that you weren’t going to prosecute him?
SPECIAL COUNSEL MUELLER: I’m not gonna speak to that. I can’t get into internal deliberations. I leave that to the Attorney General to identify. That’s what it says in the report. Outside our purview.
REPRESENTATIVE STEVE CHABOT: Fusion GPS.
SPECIAL COUNSEL MUELLER: I’m not gonna speak to that.
UNIDENTIFIED HOUSE REPRESENTATIVE 1: Peter Strzok.
SPECIAL COUNSEL MUELLER: I’m not gonna speak to that. I’m not gonna comment.
REPRESENTATIVE MIKE JOHNSON: The Hillary Clinton campaign.
UNIDENTIFIED HOUSE REPRESENTATIVE 2: Trump Tower in Moscow.
SPECIAL COUNSEL MUELLER: Say that again if you could. [CUT] You’re gonna have to repeat that for me. [CUT] Can you repeat the last part of that question? [CUT] Can you repeat the question, sir? [CUT] I’d have to look more closely at the statute.
REPRESENTATIVE SENSENBRENNER: [INCREDULOUS] I just read it to you.
ANDREA BERNSTEIN: Hello, and welcome to Trump, Inc., a podcast from WNYC and ProPublica that looks at the business of Trump.
I’m Andrea Bernstein, here with Jesse Eisinger and Heather Vogell of ProPublica. Hi!
JESSE EISINGER: Hello!
HEATHER VOGELL: Hi, Andrea!
[PLUNKY GUITAR MUSIC]
BERNSTEIN: We watched all seven hours of special counsel Robert Mueller’s testimony. The Democrats tried to show how Trump was serially unethical and obstructive. Republicans tried to paint him as a victim. Mueller just wanted to go home.
We are going to talk about the few revealing moments in the testimony, particularly having to do with Trump’s business and the way that his business interests came into conflict with the country’s interests, going back to the campaign. We’re also gonna look at the ways the President obstructed Mueller’s inquiry and how that, too, to a pattern of deception that goes back decades with the Trumps.
BERNSTEIN: So before we start, just for people who didn’t listen to the whole testimony, can you give a quick summary of sort of the atmospherics?
VOGELL: Well, I — you know, I started watching it and my first thought was that Mueller was trying to be basically as boring as possible. Uh, you know, that he did not want to be a tool to further somebody’s political agenda.
And so, you know, he wasn’t really leaning into the mic. He was giving one-word answers. He was asking to have the question repeated a lot. He was being very careful, and anything that was at all outside the report, he was saying he wasn’t going to comment on.
EISINGER: And sometimes he didn’t even answer questions that actually were answered in the report.
But still fundamentally, this thing happened, which is all of these people were speaking aloud — including the author of this document — about a document that has really only existed on paper. There was — even though it didn’t feel dramatic — there was something dramatic about that.
VOGELL: He became more engaged as time went on also. And you could tell there were certain points that he felt very passionately about, including concerns about the interference.
BERNSTEIN: So, what we’re going to do now is sort of talk about these points that sort of came alive from the testimony. And some of the things that the Democratic Congress members wanted to say, and some of the things that the Republican Congress members wanted to say. And we’re going to start off with Adam Schiff, who is the Chair of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and his opening statement at the top of the afternoon testimony.
REPRESENTATIVE SCHIFF: Apart from the Russians wanting to help Trump win, several individuals associated with the Trump campaign were also trying to make money during the campaign and transition. Is that correct?
SPECIAL COUNSEL MUELLER: That is true.
REPRESENTATIVE SCHIFF: Paul Manafort was trying to make money or achieve debt forgiveness from a Russian oligarch?
SPECIAL COUNSEL MUELLER: Generally, that is accurate.
REPRESENTATIVE SCHIFF: Michael Flynn was trying to make money from Turkey?
SPECIAL COUNSEL MUELLER: True.
REPRESENTATIVE SCHIFF: Donald Trump was trying to make millions from a real estate deal in Moscow?
SPECIAL COUNSEL MUELLER: To the extent you’re talking about the, uh, the — uh, hotel in Moscow?
REPRESENTATIVE SCHIFF: Yes.
SPECIAL COUNSEL MUELLER: Yes.
REPRESENTATIVE SCHIFF: When your investigation looked into these matters, numerous Trump associates lied to your team, the grand jury, and to Congress?
SPECIAL COUNSEL MUELLER: A number of persons that we interviewed and, uh, our investigation, it turns out, did lie.
REPRESENTATIVE SCHIFF: Mike Flynn lied?
SPECIAL COUNSEL MUELLER: Uh, he was convicted of lying. Yes.
REPRESENTATIVE SCHIFF: George Papadopoulos was convicted of lying?
SPECIAL COUNSEL MUELLER: True.
REPRESENTATIVE SCHIFF: Paul Manafort was convicted of lying?
SPECIAL COUNSEL MUELLER: True.
REPRESENTATIVE SCHIFF: Paul Manafort was — in fact, went so far as to encourage other people to lie?
SPECIAL COUNSEL MUELLER: That is accurate.
REPRESENTATIVE SCHIFF: Manafort’s Deputy, Rick Gates, lied?
SPECIAL COUNSEL MUELLER: That is accurate.
REPRESENTATIVE SCHIFF: Michael Cohen, the President’s lawyer, was indicted for lying?
SPECIAL COUNSEL MUELLER: True.
REPRESENTATIVE SCHIFF: He lied to stay on message with the President?
SPECIAL COUNSEL MUELLER: Allegedly by him.
REPRESENTATIVE SCHIFF: And when Donald Trump called your investigation a witch hunt, that was also false, was it not?
SPECIAL COUNSEL MUELLER: I’d like to think so, yes.
REPRESENTATIVE SCHIFF: Well, your investigation is not a witch hunt, is it?
SPECIAL COUNSEL MUELLER: It is not a witch hunt.
BERNSTEIN: Let’s talk about this. Let’s unpack this. Heather, what did this interchange tell you?
VOGELL: Well, I think what was important about this was that, when you looked at Mueller’s Report, he really did not explicitly spell out in that Report how Trump’s business dealings in Russia could have opened him up to compromise and why that was significant. And I could really hear the Democrats trying to draw those points out of Mueller a bit, to sort of force him to connect some dots that weren’t connected.
BERNSTEIN: Because all of these people were trying to make money.
VOGELL: Right. There could be different sources of that compromise. You have Trump, potentially being owed money by people with all kinds of political baggage. You have Trump seeking favors, potentially, from, uh, someone is high up as Putin. And then you have the situation where he perceived that these business dealings might be unpopular publicly, and so he lied in order to cover up the extent of what he was doing. And those are all things that could be used against him, potentially, by a foreign adversary to gain leverage.
BERNSTEIN: Jesse, even though there was probably 10 seconds of Mueller’s actual words in the clip that we just heard, it is kind of dramatic hearing about this quick list of all of these people who made money or tried to make money and then lied about it, which is not something that is in the report in that way, per se.
EISINGER: Well, I think that what we have always focused on here at Trump, Inc. — to pat ourselves on the back — is the central conflict of interest at the heart of the Trump administration, which began with the Trump campaign, which is that he is a businessman and he refused to divest and that’s a conflict of interest. And what Mueller demonstrated was that everybody was trying to get over — not just Trump, but all of his minions: Michael Cohen and Manafort and Gates and Papadopoulos. And, you know, there was an enormous amount of focus on the salaciousness of the allegations about the connections to Russia. And, really, this was always about money.
It’s about money on the Trump side. And it was about money, as the Democrats pointed out, on the Russian side — that they wanted sanctions lifted, which is really something that can alleviate the financial pressure on Putin and the oligarchs.
BERNSTEIN: I mean, one of the things as I’m listening to you talk right now is — I think about this … When we started Trump, Inc., we’ve been framing this podcast as an investigation of the way that the President’s family business intersects with the presidency, because he hasn’t divested.
And even though we’ve been following this case closely, and we have read the Mueller Report, there was this moment of really understanding how the conflict between Trump’s business interests and the country were really rooted in the campaign, and in this frenzied effort to make money by — in Paul Manafort’s case, selling access to Russian oligarchs; in Michael Cohen’s case, by setting up this Trump Tower deal; in Trump’s case, by having the Trump Tower deal; in Michael Flynn’s case, by selling access — how they all saw this as a opportunity, which sort of invited in this foreign influence. So even though it’s not a conspiracy per se, according to Mueller — a criminal conspiracy — there’s the sense in which their actions and seeking money created the conditions for Russia to sort of rush into this vacuum.
EISINGER: And compromise the President. That’s the central issue, is even if there wasn’t a criminally provable conspiracy, what Mueller demonstrated was that Trump was compromised, or could easily be compromised by his financial interests. So I think that we have always thought that the conflict of interest at the heart of the presidency was the most important thing to focus on.
I think now we saw today a reiteration of that, because the conflict of interest is at the heart of the biggest scandal of the Trump administration and the Trump presidency, which was Russian interference.
BERNSTEIN: One of the things that I noticed today was that the Democrats specifically pointed out it wasn’t just Trump and the people around him trying to make money. The Russians were trying to make money too. This is Representative Denny Heck of Washington state:
REPRESENTATIVE DENNY HECK: But it wasn’t just Trump and his associates who were trying to make money off this deal, nor hide it, nor lie about it. Russia was, too. That was the whole point, to gain relief from sanctions, which would hugely benefit their incredibly wealthy oligarchs. For example, sanctions relief was discussed at that June 9th meeting in the Trump Tower, was it not, sir?
SPECIAL COUNSEL MUELLER: Yes. But it was not a main subject for discussion.
BERNSTEIN: So, Heather, what do we learn from the fact that the Russians were also — I mean, this sort of slight reframing of the Mueller report, which is that the Russians were also trying to monetize this relationship?
VOGELL: Well, I think it just also underscores that it was money that was potentially ruling policy decisions that were maybe being made by the Trump campaign or policy positions — uh, that that’s the danger here. Because what we’re talking about, you know, is, we’re focusing on the money and the Russians are worried about their financial interests. And Trump is worried about his financial interests.
And people aren’t talking about the geopolitical context. They’re not talking about the larger balance of power in the region and NATO and — and all of those things that we think are long-term in the interest of the United States are not part of this conversation. It’s — it’s become a dollars and cents conversation.
BERNSTEIN: So Jesse, the Republicans don’t ever respond to this directly, right? They just kind of leave it there and make their own points.
EISINGER: Yeah. I think the Republicans had sort of two aims. One was to say that the investigation had corrupt origins, that this is a “deep state” and Democrat conspiracy. You know, they, uh, discovered their inner criminal justice reform advocacy and, you know, awoke to prosecutorial abuse. I mean, the second aim, which I think was underlying their points, was that Trump is the real victim. Trump is innocent. As we heard from Representative Louie Gohmert:
REPRESENTATIVE LOUIE GOHMERT: And he knows he’s innocent! He’s not corruptly acting in order to see that justice is done. What he’s doing is not obstructing justice. He is pursuing justice. [A GAVEL HITS] And the fact that you ran it out [INTERRUPTED FOR EXCEEDING TIME] two years means you perpetuated injustice. [INTERRUPTED FOR EXCEEDING TIME]
SPECIAL COUNSEL MUELLER: I take your question. I take your question.
MODERATOR: The gentleman’s time has expired. The witness may answer the question.
SPECIAL COUNSEL MUELLER: I take your question.
BERNSTEIN: So let’s talk a little bit about this obstruction, because the whole Judiciary Committee testimony was Democrat after Democrat and a fairly disciplined — and especially sort of disciplined for Democrats way — sort of, each of them taking different instances of the obstruction case that Mueller lays out in part two of his report, and those specific ways that the President tried to keep the country from, uh, learning about all of the dealings that we were just talking about. So, for example, this is Hank Johnson of Georgia talking about the President trying to get Don McGahn to call Rod Rosenstein to fire Robert Mueller.
SPECIAL COUNSEL MUELLER: I’m sorry about that.
REPRESENTATIVE HANK JOHNSON: On page 85 of your report, you wrote, quote, “On the first call, McGahn recalled that the President said something like, ‘You got to do this. You got to call Rod.’” Correct?
SPECIAL COUNSEL MUELLER: Correct.
REPRESENTATIVE HANK JOHNSON: And your investigation and report found that Don McGahn was “perturbed,” uh, to use your words by the President’s request to call Rod Rosenstein to fire him, isn’t that correct?
SPECIAL COUNSEL MUELLER: Well, there — there was a continuous, uh — uh, [INDISTINCT] it was a continuous involvement of Don McGahn.
REPRESENTATIVE HANK JOHNSON: And he —
SPECIAL COUNSEL MUELLER: — uh, responding to the president’s entreaties.
REPRESENTATIVE HANK JOHNSON: And he did not want to, uh, put himself in the middle of that. He did not want to have a role in asking the Attorney General to fire the Special Counsel, correct?
SPECIAL COUNSEL MUELLER: Well, I would, again, refer you to the Report, and the way it is characterized in the report.
REPRESENTATIVE HANK JOHNSON: Thank you.
BERNSTEIN: Jesse, what are we hearing in this clip?
EISINGER: We’re hearing the Democrats make the case that there was obstruction of justice.
[SLOW, THOUGHTFUL MUSIC PLAYS]
EISINGER: But the larger point here is that obstruction is inextricably linked to the way Trump did business. He always lied. He always deflected and threatened and delayed and conveniently forgot things. That is a pattern going back decades in the way he ran his business. And I think the other thing is that what we were shown today — and we have been shown steadily — is that obstruction works. Obstruction helped Trump make money. Obstruction helped him win the election. Obstruction helped get him to where he is today.
BERNSTEIN: Jesse — so, wait, what do you mean by that?
EISINGER: Well, I think we’re conditioned to think from Watergate, especially, that the coverup is worse than the crime, and that coverups get revealed. And, in fact, I don’t think that’s true at all. I think that, much of the time you can squelch a prosecutorial inquiry with obstructive tactics. And this is a model that is used by corporations every single day to cover up their misdeeds, and Donald Trump used it in business, and he’s using it in the presidency. And in this case, it seems like it’s working.
VOGELL: Yeah. You know, the thought that comes to mind is this pattern that we wrote about last fall. What we saw was a pattern of lying and false statements that were made to investors, potentially, in deals around the world. So many of them fell through, went bankrupt, or never got built. A lot of people lost their money. And, you know, the response of the Trump Organization, you know, you could have picked it up from one place and transported it to another, because it was basically just to sort of absolve themselves of responsibility, walk away from it, and say, “We weren’t that involved.”
And what our reporting actually bore out was that they were a lot more involved in a lot of decisions early on in these developments. So that was sort of a parallel that that came to mind.
BERNSTEIN: Well, also, they were able to go from deal to deal by — each time a bad deal happened, changing the narrative of what happened and not letting anybody find out what happened. So they would go and do a similar thing again.
VOGELL: Exactly. They would basically put it on sort of, you know, bad actors that were not them, maybe some business partners or somebody else. And, uh, pretty much kind of brush their hands off and walk away and say, “It wasn’t my fault.”
BERNSTEIN: So one of the other things that came up today, I thought, in vivid detail — and this is a question that a lot of people wanted to hear Mueller answer — was about the President, and the President’s testifying or not testifying. So this is Representative Val Demings of Florida, asking Mueller about the President’s response to the questions that Mueller gave him.
REPRESENTATIVE VAL DEMINGS: Could you say, Director Mueller, that the President was credible?
SPECIAL COUNSEL MUELLER: I can’t answer that question.
REPRESENTATIVE DEMINGS: Director Mueller, isn’t it fair to say that the President’s written answers were not only inadequate and incomplete because he didn’t answer many of your questions, but where he did his answers showed that he wasn’t always being truthful?
SPECIAL COUNSEL MUELLER: Uh, there — uh, I would say, uh, generally.
REPRESENTATIVE DEMINGS: [DRYLY] Generally. Director Mueller, it’s one thing for the President to lie to the American people about your investigation, falsely claiming that you found no collusion and no obstruction, but it’s something else altogether for him to get away with not answering your questions and lying about them. And as a former law enforcement officer of almost 30 years, I find that a disgrace to our criminal justice system. Thank you so much. I yield back to the chairman.
VOGELL: She’s the former Police Chief of Orlando. So her perspective on this is interesting, because she’s seen a lot of investigations and she’s seen a lot of witnesses and she has a perspective, I think, that most people don’t.
EISINGER: I think this really underscores Mueller’s mistakes — his investigative mistakes, and the way he conducted himself. And he was regarded as a hero, and he was lauded, especially by Democrats, as such a great, you know, patriot, that his mistakes have gotten lost. I think that he compounded them today.
One, with his demeanor — that he was so cautious, so careful to be above board that, he wouldn’t really even say what he meant. And he wouldn’t answer questions about things that were actually in the Report.
[XYLOPHONE MUSIC PLAYS]
EISINGER: So Mueller says, I didn’t make a finding because I couldn’t indict the President because of DOJ policy. And because I couldn’t indict the President, I can’t even raise the question of whether we think he committed a crime or not. And a prosecutor that I was talking to recently said, “This is not right.” That there’s nothing in OLC policy that says that Mueller was prevented from coming to an investigative conclusion.
That happens all the time. Prosecutors write prosecutorial memos, making an argument for a case — that they have an investigative finding. So there was nothing to prevent Robert Mueller from saying Donald Trump obstructed justice. We are not indicting because of OLC policy. And leave it at that.
VOGELL: One of the things that came up was that Mueller never subpoenaed the President. And I think that, by the time he got to a point where he realized that a subpoena may be necessary to elicit the answers that he needed, that he felt that it was too late, because if they fought the subpoena, it would stretch things out, he would not be able to deliver his findings for much longer. And you could really tell from a few things that he said during his testimony that delivering this report expeditiously was really one of his top goals.
BERNSTEIN: So we’re left with a situation where the president gave written answers, many of which were brief, like, “I don’t recall.” And there were even some instances where the President’s testimony — Mueller acknowledged — did not comport with other witnesses.
We’ll be right back.
[TWANGY GUITAR MUSIC]
BERNSTEIN: One of the things in the Report is that Mueller comes to the conclusion that the Russian offer of dirt to the Trump campaign on Hillary Clinton did not constitute a thing of value under campaign finance laws. And that is something that is very much debated. What Mueller says in the report is, “No court of law has ever assigned a monetary value to opposition research. Therefore, we cannot say how it could fit into these felony statutes.”
But, people on campaign understand that opposition research can be of great value. And here in that meeting was not just the President’s son and his son-in-law — it was Paul Manafort, who has worked on national campaigns since the ‘70s, and is one of the people in the country best positioned to understand just how valuable that is.
EISINGER: In addition to that, many campaign finance experts say that they misinterpreted campaign finance law because they required there to be an agreement between both parties. And, in fact, that campaign finance law does not explicitly require an agreement — that there can just be help on both sides without an explicit agreement.
[GUITAR MUSIC RAMPS UP AGAIN]
BERNSTEIN: But having made that criticism about campaign finance law — I mean, I was thinking today, it was three years ago that Jim Comey was talking about not prosecuting Hillary Clinton over her emails. And … I just think, three years ago, it would have been unimaginable for us to have the kind of conversation that we’re having today, which is that the President had secret business deals in Moscow and the President’s campaign manager was offering to get whole with an Russian oligarch debtor by giving information, exchanging campaign polling data.
All of that is because Mueller did this Report. So Mueller’s argument is, I’m putting all of this stuff in the public realm, and I’m getting all of this information while memories are still fresh. And he did do that. I mean, the alternative would have been, we wouldn’t have known any of this.
[MUSIC PLAYS FOR A LONG MOMENT, THEN OUT]
BERNSTEIN: So we get to the end of the hearing. And Mueller finally opens up. He starts talking in complete sentences.
VOGELL: Yeah, this is — this is a part where he starts talking a bit about the threat of foreign influence, ongoing to American elections, and the concerns that — his concerns that this is a finding of his that is not being focused on enough out of the report.
REPRESENTATIVE PETER WELCH: And my concern is, have we established a new normal from this past campaign that is going to apply to future campaigns, so that if any one of us, running for the U.S. House, any candidate for the U.S. Senate, and any candidate for the presidency of the United States aware that, if a hostile foreign power is trying to influence an election, has no duty to report that to the FBI or other authorities?
SPECIAL COUNSEL MUELLER: I hope —
REPRESENTATIVE WELCH: Go ahead.
SPECIAL COUNSEL MUELLER: I hope this is not the normal — the new normal, but I fear it is. [FADES UNDER]
BERNSTEIN: And then he says, “It’s going on right now.”
VOGELL: Yeah. It’s chilling, right? I mean, I get the sense that he’s sort of like, “I’m — I’m, you know — I’m ringing these bells as loud as — these alarm bells — as loud as I can, and nobody’s listening to them. They’re — instead, they’re listening to some other music, somewhere else.” And that — I mean, that seems to be his perspective, potentially, on — on the report.
BERNSTEIN: He’s saying, “It’s my job to lay out all these facts, and it’s the country’s job to rise to the occasion, and prevent this from happening.”
EISINGER: Trump just recently said that he was asked, “Would you accept foreign help from — in the campaign?,” and he said, “Yes.” So we have our answer.
[HEAVY PIANO FLOURISH]
BERNSTEIN: Even though there was a lot discussed today — even though there was all of these hours of testimony, we didn’t learn a lot of new facts. And there’s still a lot of questions. So, I’m going to say my question. I’d like to know what your questions are.
My big question was about something that didn’t come up at all today, which was about Russian money in Trump’s business in an ongoing way — not just in Trump Tower Moscow, but Trump’s relationships with Russian nationals, with various Russian actors, with people who are buying his condos. And if that, in any way, laid the basis for the Trump Tower Moscow and for what happened during the campaign. We just don’t know.
For example, we still don’t know about Trump’s relationship with Deutsche Bank and why Trump was able to get these big loans from Deutsche Bank at a time when Deutsche Bank was separately having a very big problem with money laundering. So there’s a whole area of inquiry that the Mueller Report didn’t get into that I still feel we need to know more about. Heather?
VOGELL: Yeah. You know, I — I felt I still had a lot of questions really about the nexus between Trump’s Moscow business deal, the intelligence operation being run by the Russians to sort — sort of cozy up to Trump and gain some influence there, and, you know, eventually, the efforts to influence the election by Russia, through social media. I felt there were still, you know, key questions there about how much the Trump campaign knew about these sorts of connections and these other agendas that the people that they were dealing with, um, might’ve had. I don’t — I’m not sure exactly what level of awareness they had and I don’t know, really, what level of interest standing they had, that their business entanglements, um, could be used against them in order to promote Russian interests.
BERNSTEIN: Right. I mean, there’s this big, open question, which is, there’s the Trump Organization beseeching the Kremlin for help during the campaign. And it’s just — remains a mystery, to what extent that was linked to the other parts of the Russian interference campaign: the social media campaign and the hacking. How about you, Jesse?
EISINGER: Um, you know, there are two things that Mueller decided to wear out of his remit. One was what you just alluded to, which is the kind of previous Trump Organization-Donald Trump business history, which had a lot to do with potential money laundering, Russians — and we just don’t know the history there. It has not been fully excavated. The other thing is compromise from other countries. You know, Schiff alluded to Gulf nations, uh, potentially compromising President — the president, or presidential officials, or administration officials with inducements, so we just don’t know anything about that. And —
BERNSTEIN: That Gulf nation thing actually is alluded to in the report. It has sort of a cameo role.
EISINGER: Right. But he decided, uh, “I’m gonna — I’m going to leave that to others.” And, by leaving to others, I think the answer is that we’re getting to a point where we may never know about these things.
BERNSTEIN: Again and again, throughout his testimony, Robert Mueller directed Congress to refer directly to his report.
[REMIX MUSIC PLAYS, WITH MUELLER REPEATEDLY TALKING ABOUT THE REPORT]
SPECIAL COUNSEL ROBERT MUELLER: The report. [CUT] I refer you to the report. [CUT] Again, I refer you to, uh — uh, the report. [CUT] That’s what it says in the report. [CUT] Yes. And I go — I stand by the report. [CUT] I refer to the report on that. [CUT] Uh, I refer to the writeup of this in the report. [CUT] Uh, I would have to refer you to the report on that. [CUT] I refer to you to the write-up of it in the report. [CUT] Well, I refer you to the, uh — uh, the report. [CUT] I direct you to the report for how that is characterized. [CUT] I re— I rely on the language of the report. [CUT] I’m just going to believe it, uh, as it appears in the report. [CUT] Well, I would, again, refer you to the report, and the way it is characterized in the report.
[REMIX MUSIC FADES UNDER]
BERNSTEIN: If you haven’t read the Mueller report already, we’ll be sending out an extra edition of our newsletter this week with a whole host of different ways to read, listen to, and generally absorb Mueller’s. Lengthy dissertation. He called it that. Sign up at TrumpIncPodcast.org.
Coming up on Trump, Inc., we are continuing to look at Trump’s business deals.
UNIDENTIFIED VOICE: Is this it?
ILYA MARRITZ: Yeah, this is it.
UNIDENTIFIED VOICE: Wow. Yeah, you look up and you can see it’s taller than a lot of things nearby.
BERNSTEIN: Send us your tips. If there’s something you think we should know about, send it to tips@TrumpIncPodcast.org. To find out how to send us documents securely, go to our website, TrumpIncPodcast.org. While you’re there, sign up for the newsletter.
One note: we’re on a summer break, working on new reporting for you. When we come back in September, we’ll be fortnightly — that is, every other week. And do keep an eye on your podcast feeds. If something big happens, we’ll have a special episode for you.
Meg Cramer is the executive producer of Trump, Inc. So it was also produced by Alice Wilder. It was edited by Eric Umansky. The Technical Director is Bill Moss. Special thanks to Isabel Angel. Emily Botein is the Vice President for Original Programming at WNYC. Stephen Engelberg is the Editor-in-Chief of ProPublica. The original music is by Hannis Brown.
MODERATOR: This hearing is adjourned.
New York Public Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline, often by contractors. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of New York Public Radio’s programming is the audio record.