Robert Mueller really doesn’t want to be on Capitol Hill tomorrow, and it shows.
The former special counsel in charge of the RussiaGate investigation told us quite publicly that he wasn’t interested in this sort of congressional testimony. Mueller even indicated that, if forced to appear before the House Judiciary Committee, that he would speak only in terms already laid out in his massive, 440+ page report, preferring to let the work stand for itself rather than be lead into some semantic gymnastics by overzealous legislators.
Earlier today it was revealed that the DOJ provided guidelines to Mueller regarding this very situation, again limiting his testimony to only the language and conclusions of his report.
Now we know that this was all Mueller’s idea.
Attorney General Bill Barr told Fox News on Tuesday that it was former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team who asked the Justice Department to send Mueller a letter telling him to keep his upcoming testimony to House lawmakers “within the boundaries” of the public version of his Russia probe report.
The letter provoked criticism from Democrats ahead of Wednesday’s highly anticipated hearing, with House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler calling it “incredibly arrogant.” Asked by Fox News why the Monday letter was sent, Barr said Mueller’s staff asked the department for guidance ahead of the hearing.
“At his press conference, Bob had said that he intended to stick with the public report and not go beyond that,” Barr said in an interview. “And in conversations with the department, his staff was reiterating that that was their position and they asked us for guidance in writing to explain or to tell them [what] our position was. So we responded in writing. The department sent the guidance that they requested.”
And, as if to clear up any confusion…
Asked directly if it was Mueller who asked for the letter, Barr replied, “Yes.”
Tomorrow’s testimony is likely to be a contentious affair, as republicans and democrats both attempted to glean partisan talking points from the tightlipped Mueller.
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