The Department of Justice (DOJ) said the decision to testify before Congress was Robert Mueller’s to make though it is unnecessary, but any testimony from the former special counsel must remain within the boundaries of his public report on the Russia probe.
Bradley Weinsheimer, an associate deputy attorney general at the DOJ, has sent Mueller guidance from the department about his testimony on July 24, following subpoenas from the House Intelligence and Judiciary committees.
In a letter released on Monday, July 22 (see Mueller Letter), Weinsheimer reiterated that the department agreed with his stated position that his testimony should be unnecessary under the circumstances.
Weinsheimer said the DOJ generally does not permit prosecutors such as Mueller to appear and testify before Congress regarding their investigative and prosecutorial activity.
“Should you testify, the Department understands that testimony regarding the work of the Special Counsel’s Office will be governed by the terms you outlined on May 29 – specifically, that the information you discuss during your testimony appears in, and does ‘not go beyond,’ the public version of your March 22, 2019 report to the Attorney General or your May 29 public statement,” Weinsheimer instructed in the letter.
In the first public statement about his report in May, Mueller expressed his unwillingness for a hearing. The House Judiciary and Intelligence committees, led by two Democratic representatives, secured the former special counsel’s appearance by subpoena.
Weinsheimer noted that there should be no testimony concerning the redacted portions of the public version of the report because applicable laws and court rules prevented Mueller from discussing its material.
Finally, Weinsheimer reminded Mueller “Any testimony must remain within the boundaries of your public report because matters within the scope of your investigation were covered by the executive privilege, including information protected by law enforcement, deliberative process, attorney work product, and presidential communications privileges.”
Mueller is now no longer a Justice Department employee. He decided to formally close the special counsel’s office and resigned from the department after he made the first public statement about his Russia probe report in late May.
In the report, the Mueller team concluded that there was no evidence that the Trump campaign colluded or conspired with Russia. However, the former special counsel did not reach a conclusion on whether the president had obstructed justice in the probe, which led the Democrat-controlled House committees to seek his testimony.
President Donald Trump frequently criticized Democrats’ efforts to get Mueller to testify.
Speaking to reporters in the Oval Office on Monday, the president said he is “not going to be watching Mueller because you can’t take all those bites out of the apple.”
“We had no collusion, no obstruction. We had no nothing. We had a total no collusion finding. The Democrats were devastated by it they went crazy they’ve gone off the deep end they’re not doing anything they’re not doing health care” President Trump said.