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Mueller last-minute request for aide to appear as witness during his testimony

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Former special counsel Robert Mueller has made a last-minute request to have one of his longtime aides appear as a witness during his highly-anticipated testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, one congressional source told NBC News on Tuesday.

Mueller has requested that Aaron Zebley appear with him when he testifies on Wednesday about his report on Russian interference in the 2016 election and collusion and obstruction by President Donald Trump.

The ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, said the move would plunge the hearing into “chaos” and may not be in compliance with House rules.

“This apparent stunt is unsurprising in light of the Democrats’ repeated attempts to circumvent, misrepresent and flout the rules and procedures governing this committee’s business,” he said. “If Democrats believe it is the special counsel’s responsibility to testify to his report, they have no ground for outsourcing that duty at the expense of our committee’s integrity.”

Muller is also expected to testify before the House Intelligence Committee. It is unclear if Mueller requested Zebley to appear as a witness at that hearing as well.

Zebley is especially close to Mueller, serving as his chief of staff at the FBI when Mueller was the director. Zebley is also an alum of the law firm WilmerHale, where Mueller worked after leaving the FBI.

Zebley followed Mueller to the Justice Department when he was tapped to be special counsel in 2017. Zebley is also a former FBI agent who was involved in an international hunt for al Qaeda terrorists before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

In June, Mueller agreed to testify before Congress about his Russia investigation after he was subpoenaed by Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., the chairman of the House Judiciary, and Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

Jim Popkin, Mueller’s spokesperson, said Monday that the former special counsel will make a brief opening statement when he testifies about his 22-month investigation, and will offer his 448-page report as his full statement for the record.

IN May, Mueller stressed at a press conference that if he were called to testify he would stick closely to his written report. “Any testimony from this office would not go beyond our report. It contains our findings and analysis, and the reasons for the decisions we made,” he said.

“We chose those words carefully, and the work speaks for itself. The report is my testimony. I would not provide information beyond that which is already public in any appearance before Congress.”

In a letter on Monday, the Justice Department also issued stern guidance to Mueller, stating that “any testimony must remain within the boundaries of your public report because matters within the scope of your investigation were covered by executive privilege.”

Mueller is slated to testify for three hours before the Judiciary panel, take a break, then appear for at least two additional hours before the Intelligence Committee.



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Boris Johnson warned Speaker Bercow to help MPs deliver no confidence vote – expert claim

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BORIS JOHNSON has been warned Speaker of the House John Bercow could “facilitate” requests for a confidence vote in his leadership before Parliament goes into recess later this week.

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Everything you need to know

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Four months after he sent his report on Russian interference in the 2016 election and the Trump campaign to Attorney General William Barr, former special counsel Robert Mueller will testify publicly Wednesday about what his investigators did — and didn’t — find.

Here’s a look at how and when to watch, and what to expect:

Mueller hearing time

During his time as FBI chief and as special counsel, the former Marine had a reputation as an early riser who would be at work before 7 am.

His hearings won’t start that early, but they are early for Congress — he is set to begin his testimony promptly at 8:30 am before the House Judiciary Committee.

Hearing schedule

He’s expected to testify between 8:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. to Judiciary, and then go before a second committee, House Intelligence, at noon for approximately two hours.

Who will be doing the questioning?

The Judiciary Committee has 41 members and the Intelligence Committee has 22. While all of the Intelligence committee members are expected to get five minutes to ask questions, it is likely that some members of the larger Judiciary panel will get less time for questioning.

Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., is expected to make a brief opening statement, as is the panel’s ranking Republican, Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia. Intelligence chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and that committee’s ranking Republican, Schiff’s fellow Californian Rep. Devin Nunes, will each make five-minute opening statements at the Intel hearing.

Will Mueller make an opening statement?

A spokesman for Mueller said Monday he will make a brief opening statement before both committees before giving them a lengthy official statement — his 448-page report on Russian interference.

Will Congress get the unredacted report?

Not on Wednesday. The version of the report Mueller is submitting for the official record will have the same number of redactions that were made by the Attorney General before the document became public — over 900 of them.

What is Mueller expected to say?

He has said his report “speaks for itself” and that he won’t provide any information “beyond what is already public.”

Democrats say they aren’t expecting any new bombshells, but they believe Mueller’s testimony will be an eye-opener for the American public. Nadler told “Fox News Sunday” the report “presents very substantial evidence” that President Donald Trump “is guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors.”

Schiff said he wants Mueller to bring his report “to life.”

At the Aspen Security Conference on Saturday, Schiff told NBC’s Kristen Welker that it could be worthwhile to have Mueller read some portions of the report out loud.

“I do think there’s value in particular passages in the report to have the special counsel literally speak it in his own words,” Schiff said.

Republicans are expected to press Mueller on the political affiliations of some of his prosecutors, who Trump has repeatedly derided as “angry Democrats.” They’re also expected to focus on the report’s bottom line — that there wasn’t enough evidence to prove the Trump campaign conspired with the Russian government in its interference in the 2016 election.

Trump has said the report concluded there was “no collusion” and ” no obstruction,” but Democratic lawmakers plan to highlight at least five instances of what they say is obstruction of justice from the report, staffers told NBC News.

“What’s important is there is truly shocking evidence of criminal misconduct by the president — not once but again and again and again — that would result in any other American being criminally charged in a multiple count indictment,” one Democrat staffer said last week.

Where can I watch the hearings?

NBC News will air a special report beginning at 8:15 a.m. ET that will continue into the afternoon through both sessions. On MSNBC, live coverage will start at 6 a.m. ET. The testimony will also stream live on NBC News NOW, NBCNews.com, MSNBC.com, YouTube, and other streaming platforms beginning at 8:30 a.m. ET.

Will Trump watch?

He said on Friday he would not, but acknowledged to reporters at the White House on Monday he would “probably” watch a little.



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