Robert Mueller’s testimony: Main takeaways

Friday, July 26, 2019

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Directions:

Read the summary, watch the videos and answer the discussion questions below. You may want to turn on the “CC” (closed-captions) function and read along with the transcript here.

Robert Muller's Testimony Summary:

On Wednesday, former special counsel Robert Mueller testified on Capitol Hill answering questions regarding his report on Russian interference in the 2016 election and ties to the Trump campaign. Mueller reiterated his previous point that there was not an obstruction of justice charge brought against President Donald Trump during his investigation, as that was not a matter his team was charged with. In addition, Mueller’s report also did not exonerate the president, pointing to a memo by the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), barring the indictment of a sitting president. Former Justice Department officials John Carlin and Mary McCord, both of whom worked under Democratic and Republican administrations, talked to Judy Woodruff about the multiple agendas on display, how Mueller avoided being used by either party and his “memorable” characterization of the president’s credibility.

Robert Muller's Testimony Discussion questions:

1) Essential question: Will Robert Mueller’s testimony affect public opinion on whether or not further action is taken by Congress regarding the Trump campaign’s actions during the 2016 election?

2) Why have Congressional hearings on the Mueller report broken down across political party lines? Do you think such partisanship is a sign of American democracy working or stalling? Explain.

3) Take a few minutes to read Mueller’s opening statement before the House Judiciary Committee. What points stick out to you? How do you find the tone of the statement? Was there new information you learned that you didn’t know before?

4) Take a look at the two video below with full questioning by Rep. Ted Lieu, a Democrat, and Rep. Debbie Lesko, a Republican.

What does “obstruction of justice” mean? What points were both lawmakers trying to make? Do you think one side had a stronger argument than the other? How so?

 

 

 

5) Media literacy: If time allows, watch this second interview analyzing the hearing(see transcript here) with NewsHour’s Judy Woodruff and Garrett Graff, who has written extensively about Robert Mueller, and David Rivkin, who served at the Justice Department and in the White House counsel’s office under Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

a. Did you learn anything in this second interview that you did not learn from the first interview with former Justice Department officials John Carlin and Mary McCord?

b. Do you agree with the analysis that Mueller’s testimony did not “move the needle” for either party?

c. Do you think the president’s words on WikiLeaks are significant? Explain.

Extension activity:

Check out this daily news story from Extra’s new #SuperCivics2020 series: How to get along with our political opposites, which focuses on how Americans are struggling to approach opposing political opinions with civility instead of contempt and what can be done to fix the polarization problem. 

 

Visit PBS NewsHour Extra for more education resources designed to help teachers and students identify the who, what, where and why-it-matters of the major national and international news stories. You can read the original story here@NewsHourExtra

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