Republican Georgia Rep. Doug Collins appeared to trip up former Special Counsel Robert Mueller during Wednesday’s House Judiciary Committee hearing over a question regarding conspiracy.
Collins began by asking Mueller to clarify whether or not there was a difference between the colloquial term “collusion” and the actual crime of “conspiracy.”
“Although your report states collusion is not the specific offense, and you said that this morning, or a term of art in federal law, conspiracy is. In the colloquial context, are collusion and conspiracy synonymous terms?” Collins asked.
“You are going to have to repeat that for me,” Mueller responded.
“Collusion is not a specific offense,” Collins repeated. “Or a term of art in the federal criminal law. Conspiracy is. In the colloquial context, known public context, collusion and conspiracy are essentially synonymous terms, correct?”
“No,” Mueller replied.
Collins then cited vol. 1, page 180 of Mueller’s own report, saying that it confirmed that the former special counsel had said that collusion and conspiracy were largely synonymous terms. Mueller asked for Collins to repeat the citation, saying that he needed to look at it in order to determine whether or not they actually were. (RELATED: Mueller Makes Last-Minute Request Ahead Of Testimony, And Republicans Aren’t Happy About It)
“Let me clarify,” Collins continued. “You stated that you would stay within the report. I just stated your report back to you. You said collusion and conspiracy were not synonymous terms. That was … your answer was no.”
“That’s correct,” Mueller confirmed.
“In page 180 of volume one of your report, it says, ‘as defined in legal dictionaries, collusion is largely synonymous with conspiracy as the crime is set forth in general conspiracy statute 18 USC 371.’ Now, you said you chose your words carefully, are you contradicting your report right now?” Collins asked.
“Not when I read it.”
“So you would change your answer to yes then.”
“No. If you look at the language …”
“I’m reading the report sir. It’s a yes or no answer. Page 180, volume one. This is from your report,” Collins concluded. “Hopefully we can put to bed the collusion and conspiracy.”