House Democrats reportedly plan to use former special counsel Robert Mueller’s testimony to highlight instances where they claim President Donald Trump sought to obstruct the Russia investigation.
Reuters reported that congressional aides revealed, on a condition of anonymity, their goal is to get Mueller — through carefully planned and orchestrated questions — to give a “meaningful and compelling” account of Trump’s wrongdoing.
“Much of the questioning will center on former White House Counsel Don McGahn, whom Mueller said Trump directed to remove the special counsel and then to deny he was told to do so. McGahn refused to carry out Trump’s instructions,” according to Reuters.
Trump has denied he directed McGahn to fire Mueller but did question whether the special counsel was conducting a fair investigation, in light of the “18 angry Democrats” hired to conduct the probe.
The Mueller team included multiple donors to Trump’s 2016 opponent Hillary Clinton, such as prosecutor Andrew Weissmann, who attended her election night party, and Jeannine Rhee who represented the Clinton Foundation in 2015 case, according to Politifact.
The president also highlighted conflicts of interest Mueller had, including his friendship with former FBI Director James Comey, as well as Trump declining to hire Mueller to replace Comey.
Trump also mentioned a “nasty business transaction” involving club dues at Trump’s golf course in northern Virginia of which Mueller was a member.
The dispute prompted the then-FBI director to end his membership.
The Mueller report determined that the Trump campaign did not collude with Russians during the 2016 presidential race.
Additionally, Attorney General William Barr and then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein concluded there was insufficient evidence to find that Trump sought to obstruct the Mueller probe.
Rosenstein initiated the special counsel’s Russia investigation in May 2017.
Democrats still believe the American public needs to be educated about what Mueller did find in his 448-page report.
Mueller is slated to testify for three hours before the House Judiciary Committee chaired by Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York, and two hours before the House Intelligence Committee chaired by Rep. Adam Schiff of California, The Hill reported. The hearings are currently scheduled to take place on July 24.
“People think in narratives,” said Rep. Madeleine Dean of Pennsylvania, a Democratic Judiciary member. “There is an incredibly damning set of narratives in this report and so that’s what we need Mr. Mueller to show.”
House Intelligence Committee GOP ranking member Devin Nunes told Fox Newsearlier this week he is concerned Democrats are coordinating with Mueller.
“I am a little bit concerned that Mueller doesn’t purposefully try to create a narrative and that he’s not working with the Democrats already,” the California Republican said. “Being that this (hearing) was postponed a week. There has got to be a reason for it.”
He noted that Mueller does not have to testify and stated in late May he did not wish to do so.
“I fear that Mueller is working with a lot of his staff, who are back-channeling to the Democrats,” Nunes added. “So it is very possible Mueller is going to have a few little soundbites that are going to give the Democrats exactly what they want.”
Nunes emphasized Trump should not need defending because he did not collude with Russia.
“This investigation wasn’t about collusion,” the congressman said. “It wasn’t about obstruction of justice, it was about setting obstruction of justice traps so for the better part of two years they were hoping the president would fall into it.”