Mueller Says Trump Gave a “Boost” to WikiLeaks’ “Illegal Activity”

“Problematic is an understatement.”

A slide Democrats displayed during the hearing.

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Robert Mueller on Wednesday condemned President Donald Trump’s repeated praise of WikiLeaks during the 2016 presidential election. According to the former special counsel, Trump’s public embrace of the organization—even as it was regularly releasing Hillary Clinton campaign emails hacked by the Russian government—was tantamount to promoting “illegal activity.”

“Problematic is an understatement, in terms of what it displays, in terms of giving some hope or some boost to what is and should be illegal activity,” Mueller said after Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) read direct statements from Trump expressing admiration for WikiLeaks. Mueller also said he agreed with Mike Pompeo, who as CIA director in 2017 called Wikileaks a “hostile intelligence service.” Pompeo is now Trump’s secretary of State.

It was a striking moment from the former special counsel, who had spent the bulk of his back-to-back congressional hearings on Wednesday largely repeating the findings of his lengthy report. On this matter, however, Mueller appeared to offer a personal indictment of Trump’s conduct.

The exchange represented a clear win for Democrats, who have been seeking to effectively demonstrate how the Trump campaign had eagerly sought to benefit from Russia’s assistance. In his opening statement, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) directly hit Trump for this very issue.

“Your investigation determined that the Trump campaign—including Trump himself—knew that a foreign power was intervening in our election and welcomed it, built Russian meddling into their strategy, and used it,” Schiff said to Mueller.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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