Robert Mueller testified Wednesday he had no conflicts of interest that would have justified his removal as special counsel.
When pressed by Rep. Hank Johnson, Georgia Democrat, Mr. Mueller said it was “correct” that there was nothing that would conflict with his role of investigating President Trump.
Mr. Trump had raised the prospect of conflicts of interest while pressuring former White House Counsel Don McGahn to fire Mr. Mueller in June 2017.
Mr. McGahn refused, saying he would rather resign, according to the 448-page report compiled by the special counsel’s team. He also disputed Mr. Trump’s claim that the special counsel was conflicted.
Mr. McGahn departed the White House a year later.
In a later round of questioning, Mr. Mueller said he didn’t know why the president wanted him fired. But then Mr. Mueller corrected himself, citing his report’s assertion that Mr. Trump wanted him out because of the Russia investigation.
“I stand by my report,” he said.
When asked if it would be a crime for Mr. Trump to fire him, Mr. Mueller declined to answer the question.
Despite the pressure Mr. Trump put on his staff to remove him, Mr. Mueller testified that he was able to complete his investigation free from interference.
While Mr. Mueller served as special counsel, three Republicans — Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Interim Attorney General Matthew Whitaker and Attorney William P. Barr — oversaw his investigation.
• Jeff Mordock can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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