FILE – In this Sept. 4, 2013, file photo, then-incoming FBI Director James Comey talks with outgoing FBI Director Robert Mueller before Comey was officially sworn in at the Justice Department in Washington. On May 17, 2017, the Justice Department said it is appointing Mueller as special counsel to oversee investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
After months of demands that wavered between whining and desperate pleas, Democrats in the House of Representatives have finally gotten what they wanted with the announcement Tuesday of July 17th back-to-back hearings featuring special counsel Robert Mueller.
Democrats are convinced, it seems, they’ll be able to prove Attorney General William Barr mischaracterized the findings in Mueller’s report concluding no collusion between Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russian operatives.
Republicans, however, see the demand that Mueller testify — which they’ve been generally unopposed to — as a cynical political ploy meant to harm Donald Trump in the run-up to the 2020 election.
Democrats are furious at what they say was an effort by Attorney General William Barr to misrepresent Mueller’s findings, and they see the hearing as an opportunity to set the record straight and highlight details from a report that most voters have not read.
“I think that given the nature of what he has to say, given the nature of what’s in the report, he will be a very compelling witness,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) told reporters Wednesday.
Republicans, who have generally not been opposed to Mueller testifying, assert that the Russia report vindicates the president of allegations of “collusion” with Moscow. And they argue that Democrats are attempting to relitigate Mueller’s investigation in order to score political points against the president heading into 2020.
“The same committee that is trying to drag Mueller in is the committee that has jurisdiction over the border, and we have a crisis at the border and they’re focused on impeaching the president,” said House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), referring to the Judiciary panel. “That’s a dereliction of their duty.”
Former House Oversight Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC), now a Fox News contributor who was known as a brilliant questioner during his time on the Oversight Committee, says there are 5 categories of questions he thinks Mueller should be asked during his testimony. He delivered those to Sean Hannity Wednesday.
Speaking to both Hannity and fellow guest Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), who will be part of the hearing and will be held to a 5 minute question session, Gowdy offered the following advice:
“You have to be very strategic and have a pretty narrow goal,” Gowdy [said]. “I want you to think in terms of ‘buckets’.”
Gowdy said those categories were bias, legal issues, findings, things Mueller did not find, and things the former special counsel did not “bother to look for” during his two-year-long Russia investigation.
Regarding ‘bias,’ Gowdy claimed Mueller’s office hired, “people who wanted Clinton to win and Trump to lose” in the 2016 presidential election.
“I would encourage Devin…to think about this, what did [Mueller] not bother to look for?,” Gowdy asked. “Y’all just got through talking about Samantha Powers and other people in the American government that may have wanted to influence either an election or an administration. We spent two years focused on whether a foreign country was going to influence or interfere with our election. Mueller, did you look at our own government? Did you look at what our own people were doing to maybe put their own finger on the scale? Did you interview Christopher Steele? Do you know which Russians were feeding dirt to the American electorate via the DNC? Did you interview Jim Simpson? Did you interview Jim Comey about why he leaked those memos?”
Watch the video below.