SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — Three Bay Area representatives focused on Russian connections with the Trump campaign during hearings with former Special Counsel Robert Mueller at the capitol Wednesday morning.
Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Jackie Speier (D-CA) and Eric Swalwell (D-CA) are on the two committees that heard testimony from Mueller.READ MORE: Gov. Newsom Signs Executive Order to Halt Pandemic Evictions Through June
Lofgren was the first to question Mueller in the House Judiciary Committee and emphasized the sharing of information between the President’s campaign team and Russian operatives.
“You’ve also described in your report that the then-Trump campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, shared with the Russian operative, Kilimnik, the campaign strategy for winning Democratic votes in Midwestern states and internal polling data of the campaign. Isn’t that correct?” she asked.
“Correct,” Mueller replied.
Lofgren asked if the Russian government thought a Trump victory would be beneficial (“Yes.”) and if the Trump campaign expected to benefit from Russian efforts (“That’s correct”).
She concluded, “While the Russians were buying ads and creating propaganda to influence the outcome of the election, they were armed with inside information that they had stolen through hacking from the DNC and that they had been given by the Trump campaign chairman, Mr. Manafort.”
In the House Intelligence Committee, Speier began her remarks by saying, “Mister Mueller, I think I can say without fear of contradiction that you are the greatest Patriot in this room today and I want to thank you for being here.”
Calling Russia’s actions “an invasion,” Speier went on to ask if the Russian government interference in the 2016 presidential election was a hoax.
“It was not a hoax,” Mueller replied. “The indictments that were returned against the Russians, two different ones, were substantial in their scope…and I think we have underplayed to a certain extent, that aspect of our investigation that has and would have long-term damage to the United States that we need to move quickly to address.”READ MORE: Armed Guards, Volunteers Join Police to Patrol Streets in Oakland's Chinatown
Swalwell, who is on both the House Judiciary Committee and the House Intelligence Committee, asked about the president’s refusal to meet with Mueller.
“On January 1, 2017 through March 2019, Donald Trump met with Vladimir Putin in person six times, called him ten times, and exchanged four letters with him. Between that time period, how many times did you meet with Donald Trump?”
Mueller said he would not “get into that.”
“He did not meet with you in person, is that correct?” Swalwell restated.
“He did not,” said Mueller.
While members of congress from the Bay Area focused on Russia and the President, others looked at obstruction. At another event Wednesday, California Senator Kamala Harris said, “I am very clear that there are outlined incidents of obstruction of justice. And no matter what this current Attorney General and the President of the United States try to say, the American people are smart enough to know what is and what is not truth.”
Later, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said she is still not ready to start impeachment proceedings.
“Whatever decision we made in that regard would have to be done with our strongest possible hand and we still have some outstanding matters in the courts,” she stated, referring to ongoing legal fights between House Democrats and the Trump Administration over subpoenas for certain people and documents.
She also implied that losses in court over the subpoenas would lead to impeachment proceedings.MORE NEWS: Royals Week: Rare Archival Footage Of Princess Margaret's 1965 SF Visit Unearthed
“If it comes to a point where the cone of silence and the obstruction of justice and the cover-up in the White House prevents us from getting that information, that will not prevent us from going forward. And in fact, it is even more grounds to go forward,” Pelosi said.