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Trump Slams 'Very Unfair' Mueller Move

Democrats are hoping for a 'turning point'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 24, 2019 4:56 AM CDT
In this May 29, 2019 photo, Robert Mueller speaks at the Department of Justice about the Russia investigation.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)
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(Newser) – President Trump cried foul Tuesday night after the House Judiciary Committee said it would allow attorney Aaron Zebley, one of Robert Mueller's top deputies, to provide counsel to Mueller during Wednesday's long-anticipated testimony. "What a disgrace to our system. Never heard of this before," Trump tweeted, describing Zebley as a "Never Trumper" attorney. "VERY UNFAIR, SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED," Trump said. The Judiciary Committee declined to allow Zebley as a witness, but Mueller is also due to testify before the House Intelligence Committee, and officials say the panel will allow Zebley to be sworn in and potentially answer questions from the panel, the New York Times reports. The House Judiciary Committee hearing is scheduled to begin at 8:30am, following by the House Intelligence Committee hearing at noon. More:

  • "Grooming a corpse." The hearings will be nationally televised, but many Republican lawmakers say they won't be watching, Politico reports. "I understand what my Democratic friends are trying to do, but they’re just grooming a corpse," says GOP Sen. John Kennedy. "They’re trying to keep this alive politically and they’re hoping that Mr. Mueller will say something to try to breathe new life in this. I don’t think it will succeed." Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he is "too busy" to watch the former special counsel's testimony.

  • Trump's beef with Zebley. Zebley, who worked closely with Mueller during his investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, also represented the IT aide who helped Hillary Clinton set up a private email server, the Hill reports. Mueller's lawyer "represented the 'basement server guy' who got off free in the Crooked Hillary case," Trump said in another tweet. "This should NOT be allowed. Rigged Witch Hunt!"
  • What to watch for. A Mueller spokesman says the former FBI director will "stay within the four walls of the report," as directed to by the Department of Justice, but Democrats are still expected to seek more information on possible obstruction of justice by Trump, as well as on tensions with Attorney General William Barr about how the report was handled, the AP reports. Republicans, meanwhile, are expected to press Mueller for more information on the origins of what they call a "biased investigation."
  • What Mueller could say. Mueller is unlikely to publicly repudiate Barr, but he could "make his feelings known more subtly" by making statements that contradict what the attorney general has said, the Washington Post reports. Democrats might also be able to get him to explain why he didn't press to interview Trump or Donald Trump Jr. With the right line of questioning, Democrats might also be able to get Mueller, who said there was "no collusion" between Russia and the Trump campaign, to explain the legal distinction between collusion and conspiracy and "really dig into how enthusiastic the Trump campaign was to accept this help."
  • A turning point? There may be some "fireworks" during questioning, though most analysts say there is unlikely to be enough to change many people's minds one way or another. Democrats though, especially those in favor of impeachment, are hoping Wednesday will be a "turning point," the New York Times reports. But Mueller is "not going to say, ‘This president is guilty as sin, you should impeach him,'" says presidential historian Robert Dallek. "That’s not his style and it’s not his politics either.”
(Read more Robert Mueller stories.)

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