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PoliticsMueller mystery: Will he ever testify to Congress?

15:50  18 may  2019
15:50  18 may  2019 Source:   thehill.com

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Democrats are trying to solve a mystery in Washington: Will Robert Mueller ever testify before Congress ?

Will He Ever ? Ryan Bort. Rolling Stone May 1, 2019. During a press conference prior to last month’s release of the redacted Mueller report, Attorney General William Barr was asked whether he would permit Special Counsel Robert Mueller to testify before Congress .

Mueller mystery: Will he ever testify to Congress?© The Hill There are several questions about special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia report.

Democrats are trying to solve a mystery in Washington: Will Robert Mueller ever testify before Congress?

Weeks ago, it seemed all but certain that the special counsel would head to Capitol Hill in May to answer questions about his eponymous 448-page report on Russian election interference and potential obstruction of justice by President Trump.

Now, some frustrated Democrats say his testimony could slip into June, while others are beginning to doubt he'll ever show, saying Mueller has no desire to become a political pawn in an ugly, partisan fight that's become a proxy battle for 2020 presidential race.

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After special counsel Robert Mueller spoke out about his investigation, some Democrats felt they had new motivation for impeachment. Judy Woodruff talks to

Robert S. Mueller III, the former special counsel, agreed to testify on July 17, two House In the end, though, the two committees issued subpoenas compelling Mr. Mueller to speak, and he accepted. The executive and legislative branches have been locked in an ever escalating dispute over access to

"He doesn't want to be trashed by the Republicans," said Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), who serves on the Intelligence Committee and is close to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a fellow California Democrat.

"Does anyone want their reputation dragged through the mud falsely? You've seen Jim Jordan [R-Ohio] in action. He can handle his own, but they'll ask questions like, 'Why didn't you look at this and why didn't you look at that?' I mean, talk about a thankless job."

Many Democrats on the Judiciary Committee have more questions than answers about whether Mueller and Trump's former White House counsel, Don McGahn, will testify. The White House has already instructed McGahn not to comply with a request for documents from the committee and Trump has signaled he is likely to assert executive privilege to block McGahn from testifying at a hearing scheduled for Tuesday.

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(CNN) Robert Mueller will testify before Congress on July 17 after House Democrats issued a subpoena for his appearance, a move that Since then, Democrats have continued to negotiate with Mueller , holding out hope he would agree to testify voluntarily. While Mueller stated he did not wish

Robert Mueller will decide if he wants to testify to Congress , Attorney General William Barr says. Published Thu, May 16 20198:12 AM EDTUpdated "It's Bob's call whether he wants to testify ," Barr tells The Wall Street Journal. Barr's remarks come after President Trump said it would be up to Barr

"It's a mystery about Mueller and it's a mystery about McGahn. I hope they both come," Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.), a senior Judiciary member, told The Hill. "But right now, I do not believe they have refused. I do not know if they are being told they can't come. So we maintain a hopeful position."

Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (N.Y.) and other Democrats want to hear from the special counsel rather than Attorney General William Barr, who they accuse of mishandling Mueller's findings in a way that was politically beneficial to Trump as he seeks a second term in the White House.

Democrats are particularly interested in questioning Mueller about a letter he sent to Barr in late March asserting that the attorney general's four-page memo to Congress did not "fully capture the context, nature and substance" of his investigation's conclusions and pressing him to quickly release more details from the report.

Channeling maybe-yes, maybe-no Mueller: Speak, Bob, Speak!

Channeling maybe-yes, maybe-no Mueller: Speak, Bob, Speak! For two years, the nation watched and waited as special counsel Robert Mueller investigated President Donald Trump and his campaign for potential collusion with Russia and obstruction of justice. The release of a redacted version of Mueller's 448-page report last month offered a long-awaited moment of closure for many — and an utterly unsatisfying cliffhanger for plenty of others. Three weeks of public parsing and analysis have left them wondering just what Mueller was trying to say and what he really thinks, particularly on the question of obstruction, where the document drew no conclusion.

A: He 's on Facebook and Twitter along with the rest of the Eyewitness News team. Q: How do I send you a photo or video of a news event? Mueller : Yes. Buck: You could charge the president of the United States with obstruction of justice after he left office?

Special Counsel Robert Mueller will testify before US Congress on the probe he conducted into claims that Donald Trump’s campaign colluded with Many Democrats have been calling for a grilling of Mueller ever since his report into Russiagate failed to meet their expectations and incriminate the

But Judiciary Republicans are likely to focus on a distinctly different line of questioning, one that focuses on the origins of the Russia probe, which they allege was started by FBI agents seeking to undermine Trump.

"I have no objections to Bob Mueller testifying," said Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas), who served as a federal prosecutor in Texas when Mueller was FBI director. "I have a lot of questions that I would love to get answers from Bob Mueller that would provide clarification to things that I think have been spun inappropriately in the media. I think he ought to have that opportunity."

Just three months into his second go-round as attorney general, Barr has repeatedly said he has no problem with Mueller testifying, telling The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday: "It's Bob's call whether he wants to testify."

And Trump has left it up to Barr to make the ultimate call. But while the president has at times expressed ambivalence over Mueller testifying, he engaged in biting public attacks against Mueller and his prosecutors throughout the investigation, characterizing the 22-month probe as one run by "angry Democrats."

6 Things That Calendars From the Special Counsel’s Office Tell Us

6 Things That Calendars From the Special Counsel’s Office Tell Us WASHINGTON — The office of the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, was shrouded in secrecy. But details are seeping out now that the investigation is over, and more were revealed on Tuesday in dozens of pages of calendars and a few text messages from one of Mr. Mueller’s top prosecutors, Andrew Weissmann. The conservative group Judicial Watch, which has sought to undermine the inquiry, obtained the calendars through the Freedom of Information Act and released them, claiming the calendars show how Mr. Weissmann was determined to build a team of Democrats to investigate Mr. Trump. There is no evidence of that.

On May 5, Trump publicly objected to the idea of Mueller answering lawmakers' questions, tweeting that the special counsel "should not testify."

Nadler and his tight-knit inner circle of counsel and staff have been directly negotiating with the Department of Justice (DOJ) for Mueller's testimony. But he has kept those talks extremely close to the vest, not even reading in senior members of his panel, including Vice Chair Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Pa.).

"I am the vice chair but I am not directly involved in those discussions," Scanlon said.

Nadler has accused DOJ of refusing to cooperate and deliberately dragging its feet, and he's threatened to subpoena Mueller if he encounters more resistance.

"We will subpoena whoever we have to subpoena," Nadler said. "We will hear from Mueller, we will hear from McGahn, we will hear from a lot of other witnesses."

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) is also trying to bring Mueller before his own panel, though it's believed Judiciary would get the first crack at the special counsel. Any testimony by Mueller before the Intelligence panel would likely take place in a closed-door session.

Barr could order Mueller not to testify or try to delay his testimony while the special counsel is still employed at DOJ. That would likely prompt a congressional subpoena.

Flynn contacted GOP Mueller critic while cooperating with special counsel

Flynn contacted GOP Mueller critic while cooperating with special counsel While he was cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn contacted at least one member of Congress who was publicly criticizing the special counsel probe, according to messages obtained by CNN. Flynn sent Twitter direct messages to Rep. Matt Gaetz, encouraging the Florida Republican to "keep the pressure on." It's not clear if Flynn sent additional messages to other lawmakers. "You stay on top of what you're doing. Your leadership is so vital for our country now. Keep the pressure on," Flynn wrote in an April 2018 message to Gaetz, which was obtained by CNN.

But Mueller is expected to leave his DOJ post in the near future, which would give the Trump administration little control over his testimony as a private citizen. Some Democrats, however, fear Barr and White House officials will take whatever steps are needed to delay his potential testimony.

"They will probably keep him in employment so he can't be a private citizen" until after the 2020 election, Speier said. "Talk about obstruction. There is obstruction everywhere we look."

Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller, declined to comment Friday on the negotiations surrounding potential testimony. He also provided no update on the timing of Mueller's eventual departure from the Justice Department.

Carr said in early May that Mueller "will be concluding his service within the coming days."

The Justice Department and Nadler's panel are already locked in a related battle over Mueller's unredacted report and underlying evidence. The Judiciary Committee voted along party lines last week to hold Barr in contempt for failing to comply with a subpoena for Mueller's full report and evidence.

Trump, on the recommendation of DOJ, asserted executive privilege over the subpoenaed materials as the committee moved forward with the contempt vote.

The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that questions of whether the privilege assertion could impact Mueller's testimony led, in part, to the current impasse.

The Justice Department did not respond to a request for comment.

Scanlon, the Judiciary panel's vice chair, called it "complete poppycock" if DOJ is trying to cite executive privilege as a way to stop Mueller's testimony.

Don McGahn’s Testimony Would Be the Main Event

Don McGahn’s Testimony Would Be the Main Event Forget Barr and Mueller. The former White House counsel would be a more interesting witness—and create something more closely resembling an impeachment hearing.

"The report is public. You can talk about a public report. The report talks about things that happened before the president was the president. So you cannot exert executive privilege over something that happened before you were the president," Scanlon told The Hill. "It's just completely off the charts in terms of being an excessive, overly broad attempt to exercise executive privilege."

But if Mueller is unwilling to testify, that would create a new and unexpected hurdle for Democrats who want to know why he didn't ultimately make a call on whether Trump committed a crime after examining 10 instances of possible obstruction.

Mueller remained quiet throughout his nearly two-year investigation, speaking only through court filings and his exhaustive report on Russian interference, a redacted version of which Barr released publicly in April. He was rarely seen in public during the course of the probe, and was notably absent at Barr's press conference announcing the report's release.

Barr issued a four-page memo to Congress on March 24 revealing that Mueller did not find evidence to charge members of the Trump campaign with conspiring with Russia; he also revealed that Mueller's report explicitly did not "exonerate" Trump on allegations of obstruction. The attorney general and his deputy deemed the evidence insufficient to accuse Trump of obstructing the probe.

"Mueller has to be heard from," said Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.).

"Tell us all about why you decided you could not indict the sitting president. Tell us all about why it looks like you essentially said the president committed obstruction of justice. Are we reading that right?" Connolly added. "Only under questioning can we get answers to those critical lines of inquiry."

Olivia Beavers contributed.

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