In an exchange with Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) during testimony in front of the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday, Mueller said it’s possible that future candidates who know about foreign powers influencing an election could decide to keep that information from authorities.
Asked Welch, “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, any candidate for the presidency of the United States ― aware that a hostile foreign power is trying to influence an election, has no duty to report that to the FBI or other authorities?”
“I hope this is not the new normal,” Mueller responded. “But I fear it is.”
Over the course of Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference and possible obstruction of justice by the president, investigators never concluded whether or not a crime was committed ― but there wasn’t any question that Trump and his family knew Russia was meddling in the election.
In 2016, Donald Trump Jr. heard from a “Russian government attorney” who claimed to have documents that would be damaging to then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, according to NBC News. Trump Jr. responded to the request for a meeting with a now-infamous email, saying, “If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.” The pair, along with several other people, met at Trump Tower in New York City six days later.
On Wednesday, while being questioned by Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) during testimony in front of the House Judiciary Committee, Mueller said authorities could feasibly charge the president with a crime after he leaves office. He reiterated that his investigation didn’t exonerate Trump.