Skip to comments.Members to have little time to question Mueller
Posted on 07/11/2019 3:54:08 PM PDT by jazusamo
Drama is building ahead of former special counsel Robert Muellers much-anticipated testimony on Capitol Hill.
Democrats are working to solidify their strategy to effectively question Mueller in the limited time they have.
Democrats say their plans are still in flux and that theyre still negotiating with Mueller and his team over the logistics of the appearance.
As of Thursday, Muellers testimony was set to be capped at roughly two hours per committee.
Under the current agreement, all 22 members of the Intelligence panel will get a question, as will 22 members of the 41-person Judiciary Committee. Those questions will be evenly divided among Democrats and Republicans, leaving a number of members without a question.
But given the two hours of time per committee, lawmakers will have just a few minutes to ask their questions.
Adding a layer of complication are murmurs the Justice Department is seeking to block or limit the private testimony of two of Muellers deputies, something that could shake up the agreement.
Democrats on the Judiciary panel said Thursday they are eager to nail down a strategy and format that effectively elucidates key details from Muellers sprawling 448-page report in the limited time frame.
Weve got to be strategic, weve got to understand why we want to talk to him in the first place and thats to get answers to some unanswered questions, said Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.), who is a member of both panels questioning Mueller. Wednesday will be here before we know it and we need to make sure that we utilize that time in the most effective and most efficient way.
Democratic Judiciary members held a closed-door meeting Wednesday evening to discuss strategy. Members emerged saying little about their talks or their frustrations about the crunched schedule for questioning Mueller.
Lots of suggestions and hybrid approaches have been put forward and I know theyre considering all of them, Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-Pa.) said Thursday. What I hope we do is coherently ask questions that elicit Muellers voice, not ours.
Republicans, meanwhile, used a committee markup Thursday to blast Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) over the negotiations for Muellers testimony. They accused him of ceding time to lawmakers on the Intelligence panel and allowing Mueller to dictate the terms. Several Republicans voiced outrage that they would not be able to ask questions of Mueller, whose investigation several of them have criticized.
This committee got rolled, lets admit it, said Rep. Doug Collins (Ga.), the committees top Republican. I guess [Intelligence] Chairman [Adam] Schiff gets to dictate terms and the witness gets to dictate terms.
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) at one point asked if Nadler would be willing to negotiate with Republicans on changing the five-minute questioning format to three minutes by unanimous consent so that more members could have the opportunity to question Mueller. Nadler noted that members could yield their time to others on a voluntary basis, before saying he is open to reasonable suggestions regarding the format.
Democrats have also acknowledged frustrations over the time restrictions, but they did not take issue with Nadler over the setup.
Yes. I dont know how that is going to be resolved, Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) said when asked by The Hill if there are frustrations among members about the limited questioning time. The chair will know that.
Other members who arent likely to question the former special counsel said they are happy that the committee will broadly be able to hear from Mueller, with some noting that they will have the subsequent opportunity to question Muellers deputies behind closed doors.
My focus is not on frustration, Rep. Lou Correa (D-Calif.) said. I want to hear from Mueller what Mueller meant with his report Its important to get him out there in front of the cameras so the world can know.
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) said he believes there will be a lot of deliberation and reflection by committee members in coming days over how to question Mueller.
Im more likely not to get to ask questions than I am to get to ask questions, but Im not uptight about it just because I think we are basically going to script this, were going to offer the special counsel the opportunity to restate some principal conclusions and findings that are in the report in his own words and his own voice, Raskin said.
Democrats largely avoided discussing the ongoing format negotiations during the markup Thursday. Nadler declined to address why he agreed on such a format when asked to do so by Rep. Martha Roby (R-Ala.).
Nadler said it was beyond the scope of the markup, which was scheduled to debate a resolution authorizing subpoenas for Trump officials and immigration documents and other bills.
I thought that was a non sequitur, Dean said after the markup. I dont know why they were making those arguments or speaking on behalf of equal members of the committee. We dont really need the Republicans to tell us how we are feeling.
Nadlers staff has held the private negotiations regarding testimony from Mueller and his deputies close to the chest, leaving even members and their staff in the dark.
The current setup, which the committee acknowledges is fluid, allows for Democrats and Republicans to separately have about an hour of questioning beginning at 9 a.m. The length of opening statements may also impact the duration of the interview.
Thirteen Democrats and six Republicans will not have the opportunity to question Mueller under the current plan. In most cases, the newer members in Congress and on the committee will be excluded.
If Muellers deputies, Aaron Zebley and James Quarles, do not come for a closed-door interview, those members also will not get to question anyone on the special counsels team about the investigation.
Dean said Thursday that the committee has been told the Justice Department is trying to block or limit the former officials testimony on Wednesday. The Justice Department did not respond to a request for comment by press time.
The Intelligence Committee hearing is slated to begin at 12 p.m.
While there are three members who sit on both committees two Democrats and one Republican it is unclear whether they will have two separate opportunities to ask questions, or if they will have one session to press Mueller.
Broadly, Democrats say theyre leaving it up to Nadler to decide on the ultimate format for the hearing but noted many members have offered suggestions. Its unclear when the committee will solidify its plans.
Amid the uncertainty, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday that she won't intervene in the mechanics of the hearings, even if lower ranking lawmakers on the committee come to her with concerns.
We're very pleased that the ... former special counsel will be coming, but I have confidence in our committee chairs [Nadler and Schiff]. ... They'll handle it very well, she said. I wish we had more time, but I'm glad we have the time that we have. But I don't see a role [for me].
As far as ... distribution of timing in committees, I'll leave that up to the chairmen, she added.
They don’t really want him.
I doubt Mueller answers even one Republican question. He’ll have a lot of little mini-speeches and the chairman Nadels will not intervene.
The Left is looking for sound bites that the Presstitutes will use to slur Trump and the Right. Do not expect to hear any of the Republican questions as they wont see the light of day. I DO want someone to ask Mueller when exactly did he realize there was no collusion......apparently it was 2 months after the investigation started. And then the follow-up should be, then why did you continue spending the taxpayers monies when you had your answer??.
I think you’re both right.
This is our Justice Department. Corrupt to the core. Why should there be any time limit?
All they want is ONE soundbite they can use to keep their ‘investigations’ and impeachment hopes alive.
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All of the Republicans on the committee should yield their time to Doug Collins and let him handle all of their questions.
Make all questions a simple “Yes or No”, don’t let the slimey bass turd stutter and stall, and jackhammer Herr Mule
if it were not for Mueller, the Dems would not be in control.
Excellent plan, that’s probably the only way to get anything worthwhile out of him.
I wonder if this is somehow related to the timing of the DOJ move against Epstein. Remember that one of the strongest defenders of President Trump vis a vis the Mueller investigation has been Alan Dershowitz and his appearances on network news.
Getting Epstein into hot water at this juncture not only ties up Dershowitz in the defense of Epstein, but could also be a warning volley to Alan to back off while Mueller spins his web. Alan has already admitted “getting a massage”. One wonders if the DOJ is in possession of compromising photos which could be employed to control Dershowitz.
</Tin Foil Off>
Just think,Mueller gave the DNC the House and may have done enough to get the DNC inch over the goal line to defeat Trump. It’s also ironic he is sh*t deep in the current Epstein drama.
And you know that the newsflash will be that Trump needs to be impeached... Again!
“Mr. Mueller, have you proven that you did not speed on the way to this meeting yet?”
This is an ugly mix of political masturbation, and Democrat Chairman flatulence.
The only question need be asked of Herr Mueller is:
When did you know the Steele report/dossier was bogus?
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