1. SOUNDBITE (English) Claire Finkelstein, Professor of Law, Penn Law, senior fellow, Foreign Policy Research Institute
"Robert Mueller did not go outside the four corners of the report and he stuck very, very closely to his answer that if he wasn't comfortable discussing something that was outside the purview of his investigation or he would refer the questioner to the report. The few surprises, the unusual moments were, number one, the fact that he was willing to say explicitly that he was not able to exonerate the president of obstruction. That, of course, we knew from his report. But the fact that he was willing to say so boldly and not just refer back to the report at that moment was something I think the Democrats were not certain that he was going to do. He also said that the president could be prosecuted for crimes after he leaves office, though he declined to say what he thought about the possibility of the statute of limitations running. He was very clear that Russia sought to assist the Trump campaign in its interference and wanted Trump to win. And he also admitted that the Trump campaign welcomed that interference. So amidst all of the moments in which he said that he could not answer the question or referred the questioner back to the report, he did make those striking straight up comments which ought not to be lost."
2. SOUNDBITE (English) Claire Finkelstein, Professor of Law, Penn Law, senior fellow, Foreign Policy Research Institute
"(Congressman Mike) Quiggley asked him whether or not the fact that he was not indicting a sitting president because he was a sitting president meant that the statute of limitations would be told. And I think that's a question that's going to come up again. The argument would be that if the president is immune to prosecution because he's president, something that not everyone agrees with. But if you do think that and if you understand Robert Mueller is suggesting that then should that not suspend the running of the statute of limitations to preserve the claims against the president?"
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Claire Finkelstein, Professor of Law, Penn Law, senior fellow, Foreign Policy Research Institute
"Well it's a very significant moment. The Democrats are, of course, hoping that it will catapult us into impeachment proceedings. Obviously, Nancy Pelosi has been unwilling to go in that direction. And I think what they are hoping is that there may be some Republicans who were swayed in the direction of supporting impeachment, both in the House and Senate, and there's more public support for it. And we know from Watergate history that that can happen. And that when the American public really understands the depth of presidential misdeeds that there can be a very sudden switch of opinion and you can suddenly find the politics going the other way. I doubt that will happen at this moment because I don't think that the admissions or the moments in which Mueller was willing to say that there were misdeeds on the part of Donald Trump or of his close associates would have resonated enough with viewers, is my guess."
Robert Mueller paused. He refused to speculate. He made constant references to his report — but wasn't sure of a number of things in it.
The former special counsel's long-awaited, heavily-negotiated testimony Wednesday was just what he'd promised: Relentlessly focused on his report issued in April on President Donald Trump, obstruction and Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
As members of the House Judiciary Committee strained to hear what he had to say, it became clear that the famously apolitical Mueller was not going to play their made-for-TV games.
"Robert Mueller did not go outside the four corners of the report and he stuck very, very closely to his answer that he wasn't comfortable discussing something that was outside the purview of his investigation or he would refer the questioner to the report," said Claire Finkelstein, a professor of law at Penn Law and a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute.
Finkelstein said, however, there were a few moments that Democrats may have found useful in their hopes the hearing might be a platform to begin impeachment proceedings.
"Number one, the fact that he was willing to say explicitly that he was not able to exonerate the president of obstruction," Finkelstein said.
She says going forward, Mueller's assertion that Trump could be open to prosecution for such crimes after he leaves office will be a subject of much discussion.