Politics: Justice Dept. Tells Mueller Deputies Not to Testify, Scrambling an Agreement - - PressFrom - US

PoliticsJustice Dept. Tells Mueller Deputies Not to Testify, Scrambling an Agreement

05:20  10 july  2019
05:20  10 july  2019 Source:   nytimes.com

House Democrats seeking testimony from two Mueller deputies: report

House Democrats seeking testimony from two Mueller deputies: report House Democrats reportedly want to hear from two of former special counsel Robert Mueller's deputies in closed-door testimony next week as Mueller himself prepares to testify before two House committees.The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that Democratic lawmakers on the Judiciary and Intelligence panels are hoping to secure testimony from James Quarles and Aaron Zebley, two prosecutors with the Justice Department who previously worked on Mueller's team. Their requests come as Attorney General William Barr has threatened to block any of Mueller's aides from testifying.

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department , after weeks of tense negotiations, has agreed to “We have agreed to allow the department time to demonstrate compliance with this agreement ,” Mr Democrats have vowed to hold Mr. Trump accountable for the misdeeds uncovered by Mr. Mueller

conspiracy to obstruct justice (witness tampering). On March 13, 2019, Manafort was sentenced to serve 73 months in prison, with 30 months to run concurrent with his sentence in the Eastern District of Virginia. Kilimnik is charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice and obstruction of justice .

Justice Dept. Tells Mueller Deputies Not to Testify, Scrambling an Agreement© Tom Brenner for The New York Times James L. Quarles III, left, and Aaron Zebley, former members of Robert S. Mueller III’s team, in March in Washington.

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department is seeking to discourage Robert S. Mueller III’s deputies from testifying before Congress, potentially jeopardizing an agreement for two of the former prosecutors to answer lawmakers’ questions in private next week, according to two government officials familiar with the matter.

The department told the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees last week that it was opposed to the testimony and had communicated its view to the two former members of Mr. Mueller’s team, Aaron Zebley and James L. Quarles III, according to a senior congressional official familiar with the discussions. A Justice Department official confirmed that account and said that the department had instructed both men not to appear.

Confusion hangs over Mueller testimony, as Dems plan marathon hearings

Confusion hangs over Mueller testimony, as Dems plan marathon hearings House Democrats are planning to turn former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s highly anticipated congressional testimony next week into a marathon string of hearings, setting the stage for what could be hours of back-to-back questioning by dozens of lawmakers in public and closed-door settings. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.getMedianetNativeAds(true); }); A number of details, though, are still being ironed out, with the scheduled hearing just a week away.

Justice Department officials have had numerous conversations with White House lawyers about the conclusions made by Mr. Mueller , the special counsel Mr. Barr and his deputy , Rod J. Rosenstein, determined that Mr. Trump did not illegally obstruct justice and said the special counsel found no

Barr told a Senate subcommittee last week that he's planning to color-code four types of redactions: grand jury information, classified information, material about ongoing information and material affecting peripheral third parties. But Barr's comments to the Senate panel that the Trump campaign was spied

It is unclear what effect the Justice Department’s intervention will have on the men’s eventual appearances, but it raises the prospect that a deal lawmakers thought they had struck last month for testimony from Mr. Mueller, the former special counsel, and the two prosecutors could still unravel.

Both Mr. Zebley and Mr. Quarles have left the Justice Department and are now private citizens, meaning that the department most likely cannot actually block their testimony. But the department’s view — depending on how strongly it is expressed — could have a chilling effect on two longtime employees and give them cover to avoid testifying.

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Spokesmen for both the House judiciary and intelligence panels declined to comment on Tuesday.

Trump to hold 2020 rally on day of Mueller's testimony

Trump to hold 2020 rally on day of Mueller's testimony President Donald Trump will be holding a campaign rally in North Carolina on July 17 — the day that former special counsel Robert Mueller is expected to testify before Congress. Trump's reelection campaign has announced he will host a "Keep America Great" rally at Williams Arena in Greenville that evening. Mueller is scheduled to publicly testify before the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees. Democrats are hoping to draw more attention to the report that Mueller gave to the Justice Department in March. It detailed Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and reviewed several episodes in which Trump tried to influence Mueller's probe.

Some of Mr. Mueller ’s investigators have told associates that Mr. Barr played Mr. Barr has also said he will make himself available to testify on Capitol Hill after the report is released. “It is Special Counsel Mueller who is best positioned to testify regarding the underlying facts and material in which

Since Watergate, the Justice Department has largely operated independently of political influence on On Tuesday, Mr. Sessions is scheduled to testify before the House Judiciary Committee, where he is “These senior prosecutors will report directly to the attorney general and the deputy attorney

The Wall Street Journal first reported that Mr. Zebley and Mr. Quarles were in talks to appear in private before the committees and that the Justice Department had objections.

Democrats on the two House panels reached a deal late last month, after weeks of negotiations, for testimony from the prosecutors. Under the terms outlined by lawmakers and officials familiar with the discussions, Mr. Mueller agreed to testify publicly under subpoena on July 17 in back-to-back, time-limited hearings before the Judiciary and Intelligence Committees.

But Mr. Zebley and Mr. Quarles tentatively agreed to make limited appearances as well to answer questions from lawmakers from the two committees behind closed doors. Those private appearances are still in flux, the congressional official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to talk about discussions that were intended to be private.

Barr: Mueller's Hill testimony will be 'public spectacle'

Barr: Mueller's Hill testimony will be 'public spectacle' Attorney General William Barr says Democrats are trying to create a "public spectacle" by subpoenaing Special Counsel Robert Mueller to testify before Congress about the Russia investigation. 

We will bring Bob Mueller in to testify before Congress. We will take it to court if necessary," Schiff told ABC's George Stephanopoulos. Schiff dismissed the department 's use of the policy Sunday, saying that he had told Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein that the Department of Justice

WASHINGTON — Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein adamantly defended the character and impartiality of Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, as he came head-to-head on Wednesday with an increasingly aggressive campaign by Republicans to discredit the inquiry.

Lawmakers are eager to hear from both men, who were among Mr. Mueller’s top deputies on the team he built for his investigation into Russia’s 2016 election interference and President Trump’s attempts to impede the inquiry.

Mr. Zebley is considered Mr. Mueller’s closest associate. He served as his chief of staff when Mr. Mueller was F.B.I. director, and he functioned in a similar role in the special counsel’s office, coordinating the team working for Mr. Mueller and as a go-between with the Justice Department. He is intimately familiar with most aspects of the investigation, and in a private session could probably add details and context that Mr. Mueller would not in public.

Mr. Quarles, a seasoned Washington legal hand, worked as a Watergate prosecutor and at Mr. Mueller’s former firm, WilmerHale, before he joined the special counsel’s team. Mr. Quarles was heavily involved in the team’s investigation into whether Mr. Trump’s attempts to impede investigators constituted obstruction of justice, and he was the lead intermediary with the White House.

Sheriff says the loss of deputies is putting the public at risk

Sheriff says the loss of deputies is putting the public at risk ST. LOUIS - The St. Louis Sheriff tells the You Paid For It team that the public is in danger when coming to the City of St. Louis courthouses because there aren't enough deputies guarding the building or transporting the prisoners. Sheriff Vernon Betts tells Elliott Davis that his staff has been cut down to 165 deputies and it should be 185. He's tried to get city budget officials to fund more deputies but pleas fell on deaf ears. During the last aldermanic budget hearings, he asked for $150,000 to provide training for his deputies but was turned down.

He told Mueller ’s team that “he chose not to communicate with Kislyak about the sanctions until he had heard from the team at Mar-a-Lago,” though he informed the transition team Kislyak had been trying to contact him. The week before, Flynn had been less successful in similar efforts to get Russia

Barr told reporters that he has no objection to Mueller testifying before Congress, paving the way for Democratic demands. The letter also said Mueller had not made a decision on whether Trump obstructed justice , but that Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein decided not to pursue

The Justice Department’s private communications appear to be consistent with public comments made in recent days by Attorney General William P. Barr, who on Monday accused Democrats of trying to create some kind of public spectacle” rather than find new facts.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Mr. Barr said that the Justice Department would support Mr. Mueller if he wanted to back out. And he said that the department would seek to block any attempt by House Democrats to subpoena members of Mr. Mueller’s prosecutorial team.

Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California and the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, said he was not surprised that Mr. Barr and his team would try to intervene, as they have with other congressional witnesses.

“Earlier when he said it is completely up to Bob Mueller whether he testifies, he was counting on Bob Mueller not wanting to testify and not be compelled to,” Mr. Schiff told reporters. “But now I think his real motivation is exposed. He is nothing if not transparent and transparently the president’s agent.”

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Trump says he doesn't plan to watch Mueller testify.
"At some point they have to stop playing games," Trump said.

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