Former special counsel Robert Mueller declined to answer a question nearly 200 times during his testimony Wednesday before the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees, according to data compiled by The Washington Times.
Mr. Mueller deferred, declined to answer a question or referred to his report 198 times spanning the two hearings. He dodged lawmakers’ questions 120 times during the first session before the Judiciary Committee and 78 times with the Intelligence Committee, the Times’ analysis found.
With answers ranging from, “I can’t get into that” to “I don’t want to wade into those waters,” Mr. Mueller frustrated lawmakers. Several times, Mr. Mueller said a question was “outside my purview.” And more than 40 times he referred lawmakers to his report.
A reluctant witness, Mr. Mueller in May warned Congress that if he was subpoenaed, he would not go beyond his 448-page report.
Mr. Mueller’s silence frustrated lawmakers on both sides. When he dodged a question posed by Rep. Mike Johnson, Louisiana Republican, the lawmaker commented on the frequency of that happening.
Another Republican, Rep. Greg Steube of Florida, became exasperated when Mr. Mueller said it was outside his purview to investigate whether Russian election meddling changed American votes. Mr. Mueller was charged with probing Russian election interference.
But Republicans weren’t the only ones exasperated with Mr. Mueller’s recalcitrance. Rep. Zoe Lofgren, California Democrat, appeared frustrated when she asked him to confirm the number of contacts between Russian agents and members of the Trump campaign.
“I can’t say. I understand the statistic,” he said.
During the Intelligence Committee hearing, Mr. Mueller refused to answer a question that is addressed in his report. Rep. Eric Swalwell, California Democrat, asked if Donald Trump Jr. refused a voluntary interview with the special counsel’s Office.
“Did you want to interview Donald Trump Jr.?” Mr. Swalwell asked.
“I’m not going to discuss that,” Mr. Mueller replied.
The Mueller report specifically states that the special counsel’s team wanted to interview the president’s son, but he refused.