Robert Mueller will testify to Congress on July 17

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Mark your calendars: House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff in a joint press release announced that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is to testify pursuant to subpoenas on Wednesday, July 17:

Washington, DC – Today, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) announced that Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III has agreed to testify pursuant to a subpoena before both the House Judiciary Committee and House Intelligence Committee in open session on Wednesday, July 17, 2019.

In announcing the testimony, Nadler and Schiff released the following joint statement:

“Pursuant to subpoenas issued by the House Judiciary and House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence tonight, Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III has agreed to testify before both Committees on July 17 in open session.

“Americans have demanded to hear directly from the Special Counsel so they can understand what he and his team examined, uncovered, and determined about Russia’s attack on our democracy, the Trump campaign’s acceptance and use of that help, and President Trump and his associates’ obstruction of the investigation into that attack.

“We look forward to hearing his testimony, as do all Americans.”

In a letter to Mueller accompanying each Committee’s subpoena, the Chairmen wrote:

June 25, 2019

The Hon. Robert S. Mueller III
Special Counsel
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530

Dear Special Counsel Mueller:

Attached please find subpoenas from the House Judiciary Committee and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence to compel your testimony on July 17, 2019.  Over the course of discussions about your appearance before Congress, we have consistently communicated our Committees’ intention to issue these subpoenas, if necessary, and we now understand it is necessary to do so.

We further understand that there are certain sensitivities associated with your open testimony.  In particular, the Special Counsel’s Office referred several criminal investigations to other offices at the Department of Justice, and certain matters are ongoing.  Your office, moreover, admirably limited public comment while the Special Counsel’s Office’s work was ongoing.  You have also explained that you prefer for the Special Counsel’s Office’s written work to speak for itself.

Nevertheless, the American public deserves to hear directly from you about your investigation and conclusions.  We will work with you to address legitimate concerns about preserving the integrity of your work, but we expect that you will appear before our Committees as scheduled.

                                                                        Sincerely,

Mueller has previously stated that he did not want to testify before Congress, and after wasting almost three months of time in fruitless negotiation, has only agreed to to testify in response to subpoenas issued by the two committees. These are not “friendly subpoenas” requested by Robert Mueller as CYA. Mueller resisted testifying before Congress.

Robert Mueller has also said previously that his report “speaks for itself,” and that he would not testify to anything beyond the four corners of his report.

Well, you don’t get to make that call, wallflower. Congress can ask you any question it wants, and remember, you are under oath. Unless you have a relevant objection to assert, you have to answer their questions truthfully. So suck it up, and be an American patriot.

The House Judiciary Committee subpoena scheduled testimony to begin at 9:00 a.m. (6:00 a.m. Arizona time). House Intelligence Committee Chairman Schiff said Tuesday that the committees would be questioning Mueller separately the same day — so the House Intelligence Committee will be later in the day — and his committee would also question Mueller’s staff in closed session following the public hearing so they can discuss the counterintelligence portions of the investigation.

It is expected that the House Judiciary Committee will focus on Part 2 of the Mueller Report, i.e., obstruction of justice, and the House Intelligence Committee will focus on Part 1 of the Mueller Report, i.e., conspiracy and collusion with Russian operatives.

The media villagers are all hyping that Mueller’s testimony is poised to be the most-anticipated congressional hearing in years. I think this is raising expectations that will only lead to disappointment.

First, members of Congress are not particularly good at asking questions that walk a witness through a compelling narrative — and Republicans on the committee will be pursuing Trump’s conspiracy theories against Mueller in an attempt to make a mockery of the hearings.

Secondly, I fully expect Mueller to attempt to stick to his plan to testify only about matters within the four corners of his report. He will assert testimonial privileges in order to avoid answering certain questions. I seriously doubt that Mueller will answer the question “But for the DOJ policy against indicting a president, would you have indicted the president?” He is likely to assert that answering this question would be prejudicial, which is why he deferred in his report.

Still, the American people will finally hear from the sphinx who does not speak, and maybe this will encourage Americans who have been lied to repeatedly by the White House and the Attorney General to finally read the Mueller Report for themselves after hearing his testimony.

It also checks the one box that many Democrats have been waiting for to move forward with an impeachment inquiry. I expect to see more members call for an impeachment inquiry after Mueller’s testimony.

Mueller’s testimony is occurring around the same time that the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear oral argument by the House Oversight and Reform Committee for Donald Trump’s financial records on July 12, and the Second Circuit Court of Appeals has set July 18 as the last date court filings in the case by by the House intelligence and financial services Committees for Donald Trump’s bank records; oral argument will be scheduled shortly after.

UPDATE: Judge Rejects Government’s Request to Halt Emoluments Suit Against Trump:

A federal judge refused on Tuesday to halt a lawsuit by congressional Democrats alleging that President Trump has illegally profited from his business while in office, and ordered evidence gathering to begin on Friday.

The Justice Department, he wrote, failed to prove that appealing his decisions might well end the litigation, one of three requirements to grant such a request. In fact, he wrote, the president’s lawyers “made little effort” to demonstrate that the lawsuit would be over if a higher court reviewed his rulings.

He also said that the burden placed upon the president to produce documents was far less onerous than other cases cited by the president’s lawyers. The entire case, he wrote, will likely be resolved within six months.

The president’s lawyers had asked Judge Sullivan to delay the lawsuit, which was filed by nearly 200 congressional Democrats, while they appealed his earlier rulings to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. But in a 12-page opinion, Judge Sullivan said the president had failed to meet the high standard required to put aside the usual procedure of appealing a judicial decision at the end of a case.

The Justice Department said it would appeal the ruling by Judge Emmet G. Sullivan of United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Many legal experts predict that the extraordinary contest over whether Mr. Trump has violated the so-called emoluments clauses of the Constitution will eventually reach the Supreme Court.

So congressional investigations will finally be picking up pace in July.