Opponents of Donald Trump hope that the counsel of Robert Mueller's hearing on Wednesday will weaken the president's re-election campaign.
Mueller is today confronted with conference interpreters and testifies during hearings on television.
Republicans are ready to defend Trump and direct their fire at Mueller and his team amid fears that the hearing might affect his chances of a second term at the White House.
Back-to-back Capitol Hill performances, Mueller's first since wrapping up his two-year Russia probe last spring, bears the extraordinary spectacle of a public prosecutor discussing a criminal investigation he has publicly conducted to a sitting American president.
Robert Mueller, special counsel for the US Department of Justice, will testify for congress investigators on Wednesday
Mueller, known for his silent nature, has warned that he will not stray beyond what is already revealed in his report.
And the Ministry of Justice has instructed him to stay strictly within those parameters – to give Mueller a formal guideline to indicate whether he is confronted with questions he does not want to answer.
On Tuesday, Democrats at the House of Justice and intelligence commissions granted his request to have his top research assistant, Aaron Zebley, sit down with him.
Zebley is not expected to be sworn in for questioning by the Judicial Panel.
But he will be able to answer questions for the intelligence committee, where an assistant to the committee says he will be sworn.
The assistant was not authorized to publicly discuss the hearings and requested anonymity.
Trump complained Tuesday night about Zebley & # 39; s presence, calling him a & # 39; Never Trumper & # 39; and tweette: & # 39; What a shame for our system. Never heard of it. VERY UNFAIR, SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED. & # 39;
Donald Trump went to Twitter tomorrow to smoke about the testimony of Special Counsel Robert Mueller for the House Committee where his top assistant Aaron Zebley can advise him
The president called Mueller Aaron Zebley's top assistant a & # 39; Never Trumper & # 39; after learning that he will sit next to Mueller and advise his answers during his testimony to the House lawmakers on Wednesday, and calls it & # 39; very unfair & # 39; and that the & # 39; should not be allowed & # 39;
Mueller's approach to witnessing can very well deny the Democrats the TV moments they want to gather their base.
But Republicans are also likely to be left behind without their requested confirmation that the Russian investigation was a politically affected waste of time.
Trump pretended indifferently about Mueller's testimony this week and told reporters in the Oval Office on Monday: & # 39; I'm not going to look – probably – maybe I'll see a bit of it. & # 39;
The president has a light schedule when Mueller starts speaking on Wednesday morning and then goes to West Virginia for evening collections.
The TV & # 39; s aboard Air Force One are likely to be aligned with the reporting of the hearings, and the president is expected to watch or be informed most of the proceedings, according to four board officials and Republicans close at the White House.
They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss internal plans.
Yet the former Special Counselor does not have to say much to have his own silent impact: his mere appearance will give voice to the 448-page legal booklet known as the Mueller Report.
His testimony – however scarce – will turn dense paragraphs into plain English, a document that many in America still have to wade through.
Mueller can make a powerful impression by simply confirming some evaporating details from his report without hesitation.
House speaker Nancy Pelosi has said that for the time being she is not in favor of starting an accusation process and that she needs a public groundswell to change her mind
A former FBI director who parried questions from legislators for 12 years during supervisory sessions, and decades before as a public prosecutor who asked questions himself, it is unlikely that Mueller would be led to say something that he did not want to say.
In fact, he had to be summoned to appear in the first place.
Wednesday's first hearing before the Judicial Committee will focus on whether the President has illegally obstructed law by trying to seize control of Mueller's investigation.
TIMETABLE OF THE SPECIAL COUNCIL OF RUSSIA OF COUNSEL ROBERT MUELLER
May 17, 2017 – Former FBI director Mueller is appointed as a special counsel to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 elections.
June 15 2017 – It has turned out that Mueller is investigating Trump for possible obstruction of justice.
November 6, 2018 – Democrats gain control of the House during the elections and position the party to manage the panels with supervisory authorities from the Ministry of Justice.
November 8, 2018 – US Attorney General Jeff Sessions resigns and Trump appoints Matthew Whitaker, a critic of the Mueller probe, as Acting Attorney General.
November 20, 2018 – Trump & # 39; s lawyer Rudy Giuliani says that Trump has submitted written answers to questions from Mueller, because the president avoids a personal conversation with the special council.
March 22, 2019 – Mueller submits his confidential report on the findings of his investigation to the American Attorney General William Barr.
March 24, 2019 – Barr publishes a summary of Mueller's report and says the investigation found no evidence that Trump or his associates violated the law during the campaign.
March 29, 2019 – Faced with a backlash from democratic critics, Barr tells Congress that the report is nearly 400 pages long and that he will make the report public.
April 3, 2019 – The democratically-led House Judiciary Committee votes to summon the full Mueller report.
April 18, 2019 – Attorney General William Barr makes an edited version of the Mueller report public.
The Special Counsel investigated nearly a dozen episodes, including Trump & # 39; s resignation of FBI Director James Comey and his efforts to have Mueller removed himself.
Mueller eventually refused to state in his report whether the president had violated the law and said that such a judgment would be unfair in light of the legal opinions of the Ministry of Justice that would block the charges against a sitting president.
The afternoon session before the House intelligence committee will immerse the ties between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.
On that question, Mueller's report documented a trail of contacts between Russians and Trump employees – including a Trump Tower meeting where the president's eldest son expected to get dirty on Democrat Hillary Clinton – but the special counsel found insufficient evidence of a criminal conspiracy aimed at tip the 2016 elections.
Like most Russia-related hearings before Congress, it is likely to be strongly divided along partisan lines.
Democrats try to inform Mueller of some of the report's most incendiary bombs, including Trump's repeated attempts to ward off the investigation.
Even if the testimony will not call for deposition requirements – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has made it clear that she will not pursue a deposition for the time being – Democrats hope Mueller can unambiguously describe dubious, norm-destroying actions by the president.
Republicans, on the other hand, are likely to confront Mueller with the origin of the FBI's Russian probe and whether the opposition to the Trump campaign drove the first days of the investigation.
They will ask questions about an opposition investigation file compiled by a former British spy funded by Democrats and quoted by the Justice Department in his request for a secret surveillance order against a former Trump campaign employee.
They will also print Mueller on Peter Strzok, the former FBI counter-espionage agent who gave Trump a text message, even as he helped lead an investigation into the campaign.
Mueller fired him when the texts were discovered two years ago, but Strzok has remained a point of contact for Trump in an attempt to discredit Mueller's work.
Mueller is also likely to be asked about his own tensions with Attorney General William Barr about how the report was handled and how its findings were communicated to the public.
Mueller complained privately to Barr in March that the Attorney General's four page letter summarizing the main findings of his report & # 39; the context, nature and content of the work and the conclusions of this work. office not fully committed & # 39 ;. Barr, in turn, has the comment from Mueller & # 39; a little cut & # 39; called.
Mueller made it clear that he did not think it appropriate to establish whether the president had committed a crime in one way or another.
He rejected Barr's assessment that the evidence could not satisfy an obstruction of justice charges, and both noted in his report – and, again, in a public statement from the Ministry of Justice stage – that if he had confidence, the President had not committed a crime, he would have said so.
Barr did not hesitate and said that Mueller should not have started investigating the president if he was unwilling to reach a conclusion.
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