Robert Mueller Hearings: 5 Breakout Moments (So Far)

The former special counsel is testifying on Capitol Hill Wednesday

Washington, D.C., ground to a standstill on Wednesday morning as former special counsel Robert Mueller testified before two congressional committees on Capitol Hill.

By 9:30 p.m. PT on Wednesday, words and phrases related to the hearings made up eight of the nine topics trending nationally on Twitter. Social media users and TV viewers reacted in real time to the biggest moments of the testimony — which was only the first of two.

Below, find some of the biggest moments:

1. Trump Wasn’t Exonerated

The first round of questioning the former special counsel faced came from House Judiciary Committee chair Rep. Jerry Nadler, who wanted to know whether his report on the 2016 election totally exonerated Trump on obstruction of justice, as the president has claimed.

“Correct,” Mueller responded. “It is not what the report said.”

2. Trump Could Be Charged With Obstruction After He Leaves Office

“You believe that he committed, you could charge the president of the United States with obstruction of justice after he leaves office?” Rep. Ken Buck, a Republican from Colorado, asked after Mueller said that Justice Department guidelines prevented him from indicting President Trump of any crime while he was in office.

“Yes,” Mueller replied.

5. “Collusion” vs. “Conspiracy”

Rep. Doug Collins, a Georgia Republican, got a trending moment early on when he asked about Mueller’s definitions of “collusion” and “conspiracy.”

And Mueller appeared to stumble on whether the two words are synonymous — which Mueller denied until Collins pointed out that his report noted that for regular people “collusion is largely synonymous with conspiracy as that crime is set forth in the general federal conspiracy statute.”

But when Collins asked him Wednesday if they were colloquially equivalent, Mueller said, “No” — prompting an accusation that Mueller was contradicting his own report.

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