Politics: Hostile witness or Democrats’ hero? Mueller’s past turns before Congress offer important clues - PressFrom - US
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PoliticsHostile witness or Democrats’ hero? Mueller’s past turns before Congress offer important clues

06:40  22 july  2019
06:40  22 july  2019 Source:   washingtonpost.com

Pelosi may face new impeachment pressure with Mueller testimony

Pelosi may face new impeachment pressure with Mueller testimony Democrats are hoping former special counsel Robert Mueller’s July 24 testimony before Congress next week will provide the impetus needed to launch an impeachment inquiry into President Trump. Congress last week voted to table articles of impeachment against Trump. It’s the third time Democrats have brought an impeachment measure to the House floor. But 95 Democrats (40% of the caucus) voted in favor of it this time, a significant increase over the past two attempts, which earned 58 votes and 66 votes respectively.

Mueller ’ s past turns before Congress offer important clues . [ Democrats hope Mueller gives credence to their claim of an unlawful Trump]. Mueller is set to appear before the House Judiciary Committee for three hours — a hearing that aims to focus on the question of whether the president

Mueller ’ s past turns before Congress offer important clues . [ Democrats hope Mueller gives credence to their claim of an unlawful Trump]. Mueller is set to appear before the House Judiciary Committee for three hours — a hearing that aims to focus on the question of whether the president

Hostile witness or Democrats’ hero? Mueller’s past turns before Congress offer important clues© J. Scott Applewhite/AP Current and former law enforcement officials worry that Robert S. Mueller III, seen here on Capitol Hill in 2013, will encounter a hyperpartisan environment when he testifies this week, one that is far more confrontational than any hearing he participated in during his time at the FBI.

Behind the square jaw, deadeye stare and Marine Corps growl, former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III does have a soft spot when it comes to answering tough questions in congressional hearings.

On Wednesday, when he delivers long-awaited testimony about his investigation into President Trump and Russian interference in the 2016 election, Democrats are hoping to coax from him the kind of dramatic moments that could galvanize public opinion against the president. Republicans, meanwhile, are eager to elicit testimony that shows the investigation was biased from its inception.

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Mueller ’ s past turns before Congress offer important clues . Mueller ’ s past , particularly his congressional appearances during his 12 years as FBI director, offer a number of clues about how Does Mueller like appearing before Congress ? “Oh no, no, no, no, no,” answered Pistole, now the

WASHINGTON — Robert S . Mueller III, the former special counsel, has agreed to testify in public before Congress next month about his investigation into Russia’ s election interference and possible obstruction of justice by President Trump, House Democrats announced on Tuesday night.

Those who know him best are skeptical he will meet either side’s expectations.

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“For anybody hoping he’s going to provide new information or evidence against the president, I think many people will be very disappointed,” said John Pistole, who served as Mueller’s deputy for years when he was FBI director. “And then on the other side of the aisle, some may be disappointed to find out that he’s not a demagogue of the left.”

Mueller is set to appear before the House Judiciary Committee for three hours — a hearing that aims to focus on the question of whether the president obstructed justice. Mueller will also spend two hours before the House Intelligence Committee answering questions about Russia’s election interference.

Robert Mueller's testimony is too little, too late

Robert Mueller's testimony is too little, too late Mueller is expected to testify before two House committees on Wednesday. But given his resistance to making this appearance — and his sphinx-like demeanor during his only other public comments on the Russia investigation — it seems likely he'll do his level-best to avoid offering straight answers. "For anybody hoping he's going to provide new information or evidence against the president, I think many people will be very disappointed," a former aide to Mueller told The Washington Post.

The topic when Mueller appears before Congress next month will be an even more explosive one. Mueller has answered questions on a range of hot-button topics, in front of both friendly and hostile audiences. Beginning his tenure at the FBI just days before the 9/11 attacks, Mueller was called to

If Democrats press Mueller to recite the Trump team’ s 2016 indiscretions and obstructive behavior since, they may find themselves facing a reluctant, even hostile witness —perhaps one who literally reads aloud from the same dry prose of his written report that’ s already public.

The back-to-back hearings will probably be the last public word from the special prosecutor, whose two-year tenure was marked by long silences and fevered speculation about his work. Mueller’s past, particularly his congressional appearances during his 12 years as FBI director, offer a number of clues about how he will approach Wednesday’s task.

Does Mueller like appearing before Congress?

“Oh no, no, no, no, no,” answered Pistole, now the president of Anderson University, who said he often appeared in Mueller’s place at hearings. In May, Mueller gave a brief public statement in which he said he did not want to appear before Congress. “The report is my testimony,” Mueller insisted then. The House Judiciary Committee subpoenaed him anyway.

Pistole said he expects Mueller to be “as unresponsive as possible, while telling the truth. I think his first approach will be, ‘Read the report and form your own conclusions.’ He’s no longer a government employee, and he can tell them to pound sand, not that he would use those words.”

Mueller Asks for Aide to Appear as Witness During Hearings

Mueller Asks for Aide to Appear as Witness During Hearings Robert S. Mueller III has asked that his longtime right-hand aide be sworn in as a witness during Wednesday’s hearing with the House Judiciary Committee about the special counsel’s investigation, according to congressional officials familiar with the request. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.getMedianetNativeAds(true); }); Democrats have yet to agree to the request, and Mr. Mueller is the only witness listed for the hearing, according to a committee spokesman. It was unclear if Mr.

Democrats blast Barr press conference on Mueller report, request special counsel testimony. WASHINGTON – Senior Democrats requested Thursday that special counsel Robert Mueller appear before Congress to testify on his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Barr quoted directly from Mueller ’ s report which states, with regards to obstruction: “While this report does not conclude that the president committed a Some Democrats have signaled they will use subpoena powers to obtain the full document, and may also call Mueller to testify before Congress .

A central question for Mueller will be whether he, as a prosecutor, would have filed charges against Trump were he not the president. Under long-standing Justice Department policy, a sitting president cannot be indicted, and Mueller’s team interpreted that to mean they could not even consider whether Trump had committed a crime. To date, he has been steadfast in refusing to offer clarity on this point — arguably the most opaque and hotly debated portion of his 448-page report.

Mueller also probably will face questions about his interactions with Attorney General William P. Barr. Democrats have accused Barr of mischaracterizing Mueller’s findings in the weeks before the report’s public release — a political move, they say, that blunted its impact.

At one point, Mueller wrote to Barr complaining that the attorney general’s statements had created confusion among the public about the investigation’s results, but Barr has tried to play down the disagreement, calling Mueller’s letter “a bit snippy.”

Mueller is a veteran of congressional testimony, but past hearings were marked by his polite reticence and lawmakers’ deference to his judgment. He often would try to say as little as possible. But some lawmakers realized that, when pressed, he would sometimes give in.

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The Democratic Party is fighting for a country where everyone, from every walk of life, has a shot at the American dream. Democrats have a mission and a message. We’re fighting on behalf of the notion that anyone, from any walk of life, should have a fair shot at the American Dream.

Exchanges during a 2007 House Judiciary Committee hearing are telling. At the time, lawmakers were demanding more detail about a confrontation years earlier inside the Bush administration between senior White House officials and then-Deputy Attorney General James B. Comey, who years later succeeded Mueller atop the FBI. The fight, over a controversial warrantless wiretapping program run by the National Security Agency, nearly led to the resignations of Comey and Mueller.

At the time, Mueller had served as FBI director for nearly six years. He had led the FBI through its investigation of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and transformed the law enforcement agency into one focused primarily on counterterrorism. Yet many of the lawmakers who had oversight of the FBI still mispronounced his name.

One lawmaker, Rep. Stephen I. Cohen (D-Tenn.), asked Mueller to explain a conversation he had had with former attorney general John Ashcroft about the wiretapping program, at a time when Justice Department officials were raising concerns about its legality.

As he had up until that point in the hearing, Mueller declined, saying, “I resist getting into the specifics of conversations I have because I do think the attorney general then, the attorney general now, and others are entitled to keep those conversations between themselves,” Mueller said.

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Why does the Mueller team have 13 hardened Democrats , some big Crooked Hillary supporters, and Zero Republicans? Below is the complete list of the special counsel team members, their donations and the party affiliation noted in their past or present voter registration records.

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Cohen persisted.

“I’m asking you to tell us what the conversation was,” the lawmaker said. “I don’t think there’s a privilege.”

Mueller relented.

“The discussion was that there had been a prior discussion about an NSA program and that the attorney general deferred to Mr. Comey as the person to make whatever decision was to be made,” he said. Mueller went on to describe the FBI’s concerns about how to proceed with a program that senior Justice Department officials considered legally problematic.

But when lawmakers sought a direct admission from Mueller that he had threatened to resign over the issue, the director retreated.

“I don’t believe it’s appropriate for me to get into conversations I’ve had with principals on that issue,” Mueller said.

“I don’t want a conversation,” Cohen said, insisting he wanted to know Mueller’s “state of mind.”

Hostile witness or Democrats’ hero? Mueller’s past turns before Congress offer important clues© Jim Bourg/Reuters Robert S. Mueller III delivers a statement on his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election at the Justice Department in Washington on May 29.

Mueller replied: “To the extent that I follow through on the state of mind, then it is a conversation.”

By seeming to contradict prior testimony from then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales that the warrantless wiretapping program had been the subject of the discussion, Mueller had said a great deal. Weeks after Mueller’s testimony, Gonzales announced his resignation.

Some close to Mueller said that this long-ago incident encapsulates his approach to congressional hearings — a desire to say as little as possible, but also a begrudging willingness, when pressed, to try to give lawmakers enough of an answer to make informed decisions.

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Barr notably said that Mueller declined an opportunity to review the four-page letter he sent to Congress revealing the investigation’s “bottom line” conclusions, although he conceded that Mueller ’ s team might have preferred for the attorney general to have “This report is too important to all of us.”

The F.B.I. Director, James Comey, will testify before Congress on Thursday before the House Oversight Committee. He is expected to be questioned about his recommendation on Tuesday that Hillary Clinton face no criminal charges for her handling of email while secretary of state.

Privately, though, current and former law enforcement officials have expressed frustration that lawmakers are making Mueller testify at all. They contend Mueller’s work should have ended when he submitted his report. If members of Congress want to further explore the president’s conduct, those current and former officials argue, they should call the witnesses to that conduct, not the prosecutor.

And they also worry that Mueller is stepping into a hyperpartisan horror show, one that is far more toxic and confrontational than any hearing he participated in during his time at the FBI.

During the hearing in 2007, the toughest questions came from a Texas Republican, Rep. Louie Gohmert, who questioned Mueller’s management decisions but also told him, “I know you care every bit as deeply about the safety and future of our country as I do,” and thanked him for helping them have “a better relationship.”

Six years later, at a different hearing, Gohmert was far more critical, declaring the FBI had not done enough to question members of a Boston mosque before the 2013 marathon bombing.

“According to the Russians, there’s a great deal more that could have been done,” Gohmert angrily told Mueller. “You didn’t even bother to check about the mosques.”

Mueller denied that was true, but Gohmert cut him off.

“May I finish?” Mueller snapped, before saying that FBI agents had, in fact, talked to people at the mosque in question before the attack.

Current and former law enforcement officials are wary of what they expect will be attacks on Mueller from Republicans eager to defend Trump.

Republicans have said they plan to challenge the fairness of the Mueller investigation and grill the special counsel about anti-Trump text messages exchanged between two senior FBI officials who once worked on Mueller’s team.

“This may be the first time he’s ever gone into a hearing where he’s not treated by both sides of the aisle as a credible, nonpartisan figure,” said Matthew Miller, a former Justice Department spokesman during the Obama administration. “I assume he will handle it the same way, but there is some evidence that if the Republicans treat him the way they have treated other figures from the Justice Department the last couple years, that he won’t stand for it.”

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