As you know, Mueller will be testifying before the House this week on the Mueller report and the DOJ is already putting constraints on his testimony:
FOX NEWS – A Justice Department official told former Special Counsel Robert Mueller that his upcoming testimony to House lawmakers “must remain within the boundaries” of the public, redacted version of his report, in a letter obtained by Fox News on Monday evening.
The letter, obtained exclusively by Fox News, signed by Associate Deputy Attorney General Bradley Weinsheimer, states: “Dear Mr. Mueller: I write in response to your July 10, 2019 letter concerning the testimonial subpoenas you received from the House Judiciary Committee (HJC) and House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI).
“Your letter requests that the Department provide you with guidance concerning privilege or other legal bars applicable to potential testimony in connection with those subpoenas.”
After stating the decision to testify is Mueller’s to make, the letter continues: “But the Department agrees with your stated position that your testimony should be unnecessary under the circumstances. The Department generally does not permit prosecutors such as you to appear and testify before Congress regarding their investigative and prosecutorial activity.
“In addition, the Department already has taken the extraordinary steps to make almost your entire report, as well as a substantial volume of your underlying investigative material, available to the committees.
“Should you testify, the Department understands that testimony regarding the work of the Special Counsel’s Office will be governed by the terms you outlined on May 29 — specifically, that the information you discuss during your testimony appears in, and does “not go beyond,” the public version of your March 22, 2019 report to the Attorney General or your May 29 public statement.”
This is exactly what Mueller himself laid out when he said that he wouldn’t testify, basically saying it would be useless to compel him to testify because all he could do is read back the report.
I had forgotten that Barr got Trump to put all of the material that wasn’t revealed by the Mueller report under executive privilege, and this letter reminds him of that:
It continued: “Finally, any testimony must remain within the boundaries of your public report because matters within the scope of your investigation were covered by the executive privilege, including information protected by law enforcement, deliberative process, attorney work product, and presidential communications privileges.
“These privileges would include discussion about the investigative steps or decisions, made during your investigation not otherwise described in the public version of your report. Consistent with standard practice, Department witnesses should decline to address potentially privileged matters, thus affording the Department the full opportunity at a later date to consider particular questions and possible accommodations that may fulfill the committees’ legitimate need for information while protecting Executive Branch confidentiality interests.”
If Mueller sticks by this it will make for a boring hearing – which would make Trump very happy. But it will also likely afford him some protections against questions from Republicans as well.
No doubt the media and Democrats will still turn this into a circus.
The hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.