This is one of the best I have seen. In the search for criminality, we’ve lost site of the real problem. Below is the Adam Schiff / Mueller interaction documented in the SLATE article:
Schiff: Director Mueller, I want to close out my questions, turn to some of the exchanges you had with Mr. Welch a bit earlier. I’d like to see if we can broaden the aperture at the end of the hearing. Receiving assistance during a presidential campaign is an unethical thing to do.
Mueller: And a crime.
Schiff: And a crime. And to the degree that it undermines our democracy and institutions, we can agree it’s also unpatriotic?
Schiff: And wrong.
Schiff: The standard of behavior for a presidential candidate or any candidate shouldn’t be whether something is criminal, it should be held to a higher standard, you would agree?
Mueller: I will not get into that, because it goes to the standards to be applied by other institutions besides ours.
Schiff: I’m just referring to ethical standards. We should hold our elected officials to a standard higher than mere avoidance of criminality, correct?
Schiff: You have served this country for decades, you’ve taken an oath to defend the Constitution, you hold yourself to a standard of doing what’s right.
Mueller: I would hope.
Schiff: You have. I think we can all see that. There are times where your reward will be unending criticism, but we are grateful. The need to act in an ethical manner is not just a moral one, but when people act unethically, it exposes them to compromise. Particularly in dealing with foreign powers, is that true?
Schiff: Because when someone acts unethically in connection with a foreign partner, that foreign partner can later expose their wrongdoing and extort them?
Schiff: And that conduct, that unethical conduct can be of a financial nature, if you have a financial motive or illicit business dealing, am I right?
Schiff: If you are lying about something that can be exposed, then you can be blackmailed?
Mueller: Also true.
Schiff: In the case of Michael Flynn, he was secretly doing business with Turkey, correct?
Schiff: That could open him up to compromise that financial relationship.
Mueller: I presume.
Schiff: He also lied about his discussions with the Russian ambassador and since the Russians were on the other side of the conversation, they could have exposed that, could they not?
Schiff: If a presidential candidate was doing business in Russia and saying he wasn’t, Russians could expose that too, could they not?
Mueller: I leave that to you.
Schiff: Well, let’s look at Dmitry Peskov, the spokesperson for the Kremlin, someone the Trump Organization was in contact with to make that deal happen. Your report indicates that Michael Cohen had a long conversation on the phone with someone from his office. Presumably the Russians could record that conversation, could they not. ****
Schiff: And so, if candidate Trump was saying, I have no dealing with the Russians but the Russians had a tape recording, they could reveal that, correct?
Then Schiff, still sadly and soberly, concludes:
Schiff: When this was revealed, that there were these communications, notwithstanding the president’s denials, the president was confronted about this, and he said two things. First of all, that’s not a crime. I think you and I have already agreed that shouldn’t be the standard, right?
Schiff: The second thing he said was, why should I miss out on all those opportunities? I mean, why indeed, merely running a presidential campaign, why should you miss out on making all that money was the import of his statement. Were you ever able to ascertain whether Donald Trump still intends to build that tower when he leaves office?
Mueller: Is that a question, sir?
Schiff: Yes. Were you able to ascertain, because he wouldn’t answer your questions completely, whether or if he ever ended that will desire to build that tower?
Mueller: I’m not going to speculate on that.
Schiff: If the president was concerned that if he lost his election, he didn’t want to miss out on that money. Might he have the same concern about losing his reelection?
Mueller: Again, speculation.
Schiff: The difficulty with this, of course, is we are all left to wonder whether the president is representing us or his financial interests.