weather icon Partly Cloudy

LIVESTREAM: Ex-special counsel Mueller faces congressional grilling

Updated July 24, 2019 - 5:39 am

WASHINGTON — In a long-anticipated appearance on Capitol Hill, former special counsel Robert Mueller will testify in back-to-back House hearings Wednesday about the findings of his yearslong investigation into the Trump campaign and Russian meddling in the presidential election.

Democrats have demanded that Mueller, a former FBI director, appear before the House judiciary and intelligence panels ever since his 448-page report was released April 18.

The Justice Department and Democrats have negotiated the parameters of the former special counsel’s testimony in the weeks since he was subpoenaed June 25.

Mueller’s testimony could lead to an impeachment inquiry even though he said he had found no evidence to support a prosecution of President Donald Trump on charges of criminally conspiring with Russia.

But Mueller emphatically said in the report that he could not exonerate the president on charges of obstruction of justice, and he documented instances in which Trump had tried to stop or impede the probe.

And he pointedly left it to Congress whether to pursue further inquiry and formal charges.

Democrats want Mueller to recite those details for the American public, vast numbers of which are expected to watch his testimony.

Expect the White House also to be watching.

“They have no collusion,” Trump said Tuesday at an event with conservative young people. “They did a report, and there was no obstruction.”

Trump is opposed to Mueller’s testimony and the hearings, which he calls “another bite” at the apple following two years of investigation that has cost more than $30 million.

Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said the goal of the hearing is to tell the Mueller story to the American people.

Democrats want to pin Mueller down on the 10 instances in which Trump sought to halt or influence the investigation, fearing that the probe would doom his nascent presidency. They have held mock sessions to target key testimony.

The dense, two-volume report issued after the investigation was written in legal language and appeared to have little political impact outside the Washington Beltway.

It is doubtful that the hearings will produce much news that could heavily sway public opinion, as Mueller has stated that he will not venture beyond what is in the report.

For that reason, many experts say they do not expect the House to initiate impeachment proceedings.

“Almost everyone already knows exactly where they stand on Donald Trump, and they hold these views fiercely,” said Larry Sabato with the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics.

“Nothing will make his haters like Trump, and nothing will make his lovers dislike Trump. And there won’t be enough revelations left for this hearing to make a conviction at all likely,” Sabato said. “The voters will decide Trump’s fate in November 2020. Period.”

Republicans have criticized Democrats for creating a distraction with the hearing, and plan to chip away at the Mueller team’s motives and methods during the two hearings, which will begin with the Judiciary Committee in the morning and pick up before the Intelligence Committee in the afternoon.

Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., a Judiciary Committee member and head of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, professed astonishment that House Democrats have held mock hearings, practiced five-minute clips and have set up a social media war room.

“This is your House Democrat majority, spending their time as if they’re putting on a school play,” Meadows said.

The Justice Department has warned Mueller that testimony that drifts outside of what has been publicly released in the report could be protected under “presidential privilege,” which Trump has not waived.

Attorney General William Barr told reporters after the investigation concluded that he had no qualms if the special counsel testified before congressional committees. Barr also said recently that he would also support Mueller if he skipped the hearing entirely.

Mueller agreed to reschedule the hearings from last week to give House lawmakers from both sides of the aisle more time to ask questions.

Appearing with Mueller will be his longtime aide, Aaron Zebley, who helped with the 22-month Russia meddling investigation and the probe into obstruction by the Trump administration.

Zebley will not be sworn in. His role will be to assist Mueller during the long day of questioning.

But Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, said late Tuesday that the last-minute addition of Zebley could throw a wrench in the hearing.

Collins threatened to challenge the arrangement to make sure it complies with House rules.

Contact Gary Martin at gmartin@reviewjournal.com or202-662-7390. Follow @garymartindc on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Politics Videos
Media's Double Standard On Incitement And Trump - Video
Over the weekend, an Elizabeth Warren-supporting socialist who opposed gun violence used a rifle to commit a mass murder in Dayton, Ohio. The media has downplayed that aspect of the tragedy.
Project Our Care Tour Kicks Off In Las Vegas
U.S. Rep. Dina Titus joined health care advocates and local residents as part of Protect Our Care’s nationwide bus tour kick off in Las Vegas on Monday, August 5, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Bernie Sanders talks about guns, response to El Paso shooting
Sen. Bernie Sanders spoke about his response and continued policy ideas about guns and gun control to the Review-Journal after a panel of other topics. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pete Buttigieg On Gun Control And Climate Change - Video
Pete Buttigieg talks about his campaign for the 2020 election and how Nevada is a vision of what the future can be.
Beto O'Rourke speaks in Las Vegas
Presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke spoke to supporters at the East Las Vegas Community Center in Las Vegas, Thursday, Aug. 2, 2019. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Nevada Senate leader Kelvin Atkinson sentenced to prison
Former Nevada Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson, who pleaded guilty to misusing campaign funds, was sentenced to 27 months in prison on Thursday, July 18, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Trumps Strength is also a Weakness - Video
One of Donald Trump’s greatest strengths — his ability to shape national narratives — is also a great weakness.
Tax the Rich Bus Tour makes a stop in Las Vegas - Video
The Tax the Rich Bus has stopped in Las Vegas as part of its summer tour. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Assemblywoman Daniele Monroe-Moreno hosts BBQ - Video
Assembly Woman Daniele Monroe-Moreno hosts BBQ to bring the community together to hear about the candidates up for election and for people to gather and have fun.
Democrat Virtual Caucus - Video
Elizabeth Warren visits Las Vegas
Senator Elizabeth Warren made a campaign stop at the East Las Vegas Community Center on Tuesday July 2, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Aaron Ford Speaks About Bill AB431
AB431 is a bill sponsored by Nevada Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson to restore the right to vote for formerly incarcerated individuals. Attorney General Aaron Ford spoke at the AM&E Church in North Las Vegas about the bill, on Monday, July 1, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Right Take: Biden's Racially Questionable Comments
Joe Biden has uttered racially charged statements for years. Now that he’s the frontrunner for the Democrat presidential nomination, he may finally face prolonged scrutiny for them.
Christopher Rufo Discusses Homelessness In The USA - VIDEO
Christopher Rufo discusses homelessness in the United States and how politicians can work to improve conditions for those with drug addictions.
Clark County 2019 Election Results - Video
The 2019 Elections wrap up in Clark County including an upset in the Boulder City Mayor race.
Olivia Diaz talks about her win in Ward 3 - VIDEO
Las Vegas City Councilwoman-elect Olivia Diaz talks about her election win in Ward 3 and what lies ahead for her.
Greene discusses Read by 3 and Opportunity Scholarships - VIDEO
The Nevada Legislative Session is over and the results are mixed for Nevada students, according to Tom Greene, Senior regional legislative director, Excel in Ed in Action.
Bernie Sanders visits Las Vegas
Sen. Bernie Sanders made a stop at Roy W. Martin middle school on Thursday, during his campaign trail.
Trump likens buying Greenland to a large real estate deal

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow, appearing on “Fox News Sunday,” said Greenland is “a strategic place” with “a lot of valuable minerals.”

Court says US can reject asylum along parts of Mexico border

A federal appeals court’s ruling will allow the White House to begin rejecting asylum at some parts of the U.S.-Mexico border for migrants who arrived after transiting through a third country.

Greenland advises Trump it’s not for sale

“We see it as an expression of greater interest in investing in our country and the possibilities we offer,” the government said. “Of course, Greenland is not for sale.”

Trump ties US economic success to winning 2nd term

President Donald Trump sought to reassure his supporters about the state of the U.S. economy in New Hampshire, a state that he hopes to capture in 2020, that their financial security depends on his reelection.