Updated Questions for Robert Mueller

As I pointed out in this post, lots of commentators mistakenly believe Robert Mueller will never provide damning answers to strictly factual questions. In 2007, he answered a Sheila Jackson Lee question about the most incendiary issue of the day — Stellar Wind — in a way that shows the Attorney General had lied under oath. Yet most proposed questions for Mueller’s testimony on Wednesday seem to assume he won’t similarly answer appropriately framed questions now, and are for the most part milquetoast or horserace issues.

Here are my (updated since I first posted them in June) questions for Mueller. Some are formulated to get him to answer questions about scope or results he otherwise might not (note that there’s a gag now in both the IRA and Roger Stone cases, which will sharply curtail what he can say about those cases). Some are process questions that would help the public understand what Mueller did and did not do. A few are about potential legislation that might arise out of this investigation.

  1. Can you describe how you chose which “links between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump” to focus your investigation on?
  2. The warrants released in Michael Cohen’s case and other public materials show that your grand jury conducted investigations of people before Rod Rosenstein formally expanded the scope to include them in October 2017. Can you explain the relationship between investigative steps and the Rosenstein scope memos?
  3. Lisa Page has explained that in its initial phase, the investigation into Trump’s aides was separate from the larger investigation(s) into Russian interference. But ultimately, your office indicted Russians in both the trolling and the hack-and-leak conspiracies. How and when did those parts of DOJ’s investigation get integrated under SCO?
  4. An FD-302 memorializing a July 19, 2017 interview with Peter Strzok was released as part of Mike Flynn’s sentencing. Can you describe what the purpose of this interview was? How did the disclosure of Strzok’s texts with Lisa Page affect the recording (or perceived credibility) of this interview? Strzok was interviewed before that disclosure, but the 302 was not finalized until he had been removed from your team. Did his removal cause any delay in finalizing this 302?
  5. At the beginning of the investigation, your team investigated the criminal conduct of subjects unrelated to ties with Russia (for example, Paul Manafort’s ties with Ukraine, Mike Flynn’s ties to Turkey, Michael Cohen’s false statements to banks). Did the approach of the investigation change later in the process — in 2018 — to refer such issues to other offices (for example, the Cohen financial crimes)? If the approach changed, did your team or Rod Rosenstein drive this change?
  6. Prosecutors pursuing documents from an unnamed foreign owned company described that the investigation started at the DC US Attorney’s Office, was integrated into your investigation, and continued after your investigation concluded. Is this foreign owned company owned by a country other than Russia?
  7. Did your integration of other prosecutors (generally from DC USAO) into your prosecution teams stem from a resourcing issue or a desire to ensure continuity? What was the role of the three prosecutors who were just detailees to your team?
  8. Your report describes how FBI personnel shared foreign intelligence and counterintelligence information with the rest of FBI. For more than a year, FBI agents were embedded with your team for this purpose. Were these agents focused just on Russian activities, or did their focus include the actions of other countries and Americans? If their focus included Americans, did it include Trump associates? Did it include Trump himself?
  9. Can you describe the relationship between your GRU indictment and the WDPA one focused on the WADA hacks, and the relationship between your IRA indictment and the complaint against a Yevgeniy Prigozhin employee in EDVA? Can you describe the relationship between the Maria Butina prosecution and your investigation?
  10. Do you regret charging Concord Management in the IRA indictment? Do you have any insight on how indictments against Russian and other state targets should best be used?
  11. Particularly given difficulties in the Bijan Kian case, do you believe the laws on 18 USC 951 unregistered foreign agents and FARA need to be changed to provide the government with tools to protect the country from influence operations?
  12. In discussions of Paul Manafort’s plea deal that took place as part of his breach hearing, Andrew Weissmann revealed that prosecutors didn’t vet his testimony as they would other cooperators. What led to this lack of vetting? Did the timing of the election and the potential impact of Manafort’s DC trial might have play into the decision?
  13. What communication did you receive from whom in response to the BuzzFeed story on Trump’s role in Michael Cohen’s false testimony? How big an impact did that communication have on the decision to issue a correction?
  14. Did Matt Whitaker prevent you from describing Donald Trump specifically in Roger Stone’s indictment? Did you receive any feedback — from Whitaker or anyone else — for including a description of Trump in the Michael Cohen plea?
  15. Did Whitaker, Bill Barr, or Rosenstein weigh in on whether Trump should or could be subpoenaed? If so what did they say? Did any of the three impose time constraints that would have prevented you from subpoenaing the President?
  16. Multiple public reports describe Trump allies (possibly including Mike Flynn or his son) expressing certainty that Barr would shut down your investigation once he was confirmed. Did this happen? Can you describe what happened at the March 5, 2019 meeting where Barr was first briefed? Was that meeting really the first time you informed Rosenstein you would not make a determination on obstruction?
  17. You “ended” your investigation on March 22, at a time when at least two subpoena fights (Andrew Miller and a foreign owned corporation) were ongoing. You finally resigned just minutes before Andrew Miller agreed to cooperate on May 29. Were these subpoenas for information critical to your investigation?
  18. If Don Jr told you he would invoke the Fifth if subpoenaed by the grand jury, would that fact be protected by grand jury secrecy? Are you aware of evidence you received involving the President’s son that would lead him to be less willing to testify to your prosecutors than to congressional committees? Can congressional committees obtain that information?
  19. How many witnesses invoked their Fifth Amendment rights that your office deemed “were not … appropriate candidates for grants of immunity”?
  20. Your report describes five witnesses who testified under proffer agreements: Felix Sater, George Nader, Steve Bannon, Erik Prince, and Jerome Corsi. Aside from the Nader child pornography referred to EDVA by your office, would other US Attorneys offices be able to independently pursue criminal conduct covered by these proffers?
  21. Emin Agalarov canceled a concert tour to avoid subpoena in your investigation. Can you explain efforts to obtain testimony from this key player in the June 9 meeting? What other people did you try to obtain testimony from regarding the June 9 meeting?
  22. Did your investigation consider policy actions taken while Trump was President, such as Trump’s efforts to overturn Russian sanctions or his half-hearted efforts to comply with Congressional mandates to impose new ones?
  23. Can you describe how you treated actions authorized by Article II authority — such as the conduct of foreign policy, including sanctions, and the awarding of pardons — in your considerations of any criminal actions by the President?
  24. The President did not answer any questions about sanctions, even the one regarding discussions during the period of the election. Do you have unanswered questions about the role of sanctions relief and the Russian interference effort?
  25. Your report doesn’t include several of the most alarming interactions between Trump and Russia. It mentions how he told Sergey Lavrov and Sergey Kislyak he had fired Comey because of the Russian investigation, but did not mention that he shared classified Israeli intelligence at the meeting. Your report doesn’t mention the conversations Trump had with Vladimir Putin at the G-20 in Hamburg, including one pertaining to “adoptions,” while he was working on the June 9 meeting. The report doesn’t mention the Helsinki meeting. Did your investigation consider these interactions with Russia? If not, are you aware of another part of the government that did scrutinize these events?
  26. Why did you include Trump’s efforts to mislead the public about the June 9 meeting when it didn’t fit your team’s own terms for obstructive acts?
  27. You generally do not name the Trump lawyers who had discussions, including about pardons, with subjects of the investigation. How many different lawyers are described in your report to have had such discussions?
  28. In your report you say your office “limited its pursuit” of witnesses including attorneys “in light of internal Department of Justice policies,” citing the Justice manual. How many potential witnesses did your office not interview because of DOJ guidelines on interviewing attorneys?
  29. You asked — but the President provided only a partial answer — whether he had considered issuing a pardon for Julian Assange prior to the inauguration. Did you investigate the public efforts — including by Roger Stone — to pardon Assange during Trump’s Administration?
  30. The cooperation addendum in Mike Flynn’s case reveals that he participated in discussions about reaching out to WikiLeaks in the wake of the October 7 Podesta releases. But that does not appear in the unredacted parts of your report. Is the entire scope of the campaign’s interactions with WikiLeaks covered in the Roger Stone indictment?
  31. Hope Hicks has claimed to be unaware of a strategy to coordinate the WikiLeaks releases, yet even the unredacted parts of the report make it clear there was a concerted effort to optimize the releases. Is this a difference in vocabulary? Does it reflect unreliability on the part of Hicks’ testimony? Or did discussions of WikiLeaks remain partially segregated from the communications staff of the campaign?
  32. Without naming any of the people involved, how many witnesses confirmed knowing of conversations between Roger Stone and Donald Trump about WikiLeaks’ upcoming releases?
  33. Did Julian Assange ask for immunity to cooperate with your investigation, as he did with congressional inquiries?
  34. In your report you say your office “limited its pursuit” of witnesses who might claim to be media “in light of internal Department of Justice policies,” citing the Justice manual. How many potential witnesses did your office not interview because of DOJ guidelines on media? Was Julian Assange among them?
  35. The President’s answers regarding the Trump Tower Moscow match the false story for which Michael Cohen pled guilty, meaning the President, in his sworn answers, provided responses you have determined was a false story. After Cohen pled guilty, the President and his lawyer made public claims that are wholly inconsistent with his sworn written answer to you. You offered him an opportunity to clean up his sworn answer, but he did not. Do you consider the President’s current answer on this topic to be a lie?
  36. Did Trump Organization provide all the emails pertaining to the Trump Tower Moscow deal before you subpoenaed the organization in early 2018? Did they provide those emails in response to that subpoena?
  37. In his answers to your questions, President Trump claimed that you received “an email from a Sergei Prikhodko, who identified himself as Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation … inviting me to participate in the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.” But the footnotes to your discussion of that exchange describe no email. Did your team receive any email? Does the public record — showing that Trump never signed the declination letter to that investigation — show that Trump did not decline that invitation?
  38. The Attorney General has excused the President’s actions taken to thwart the investigation because, “as the Special Counsel’s report acknowledges, there is substantial evidence to show that the President was frustrated and angered by a sincere belief that the investigation was undermining his presidency.” What events did your investigation show the President was frustrated or angry about? Was the President frustrated or angry that Mike Flynn’s conversations with Sergey Kislyak had been discovered as part of an effort to understand Russia’s actions? According to your investigation, what were the President’s feelings towards Flynn at the time? Was the President frustrated or angry that, after consulting with ethics professionals,  Jeff Sessions recused from the investigation? Was the President frustrated or angry that Jim Comey would not provide details of the ongoing investigation into his aides, which would be prohibited by Department of Justice guidelines? Was the President frustrated or angry that the investigation into Russian interference showed that Russia actively sought to help him get elected?
  39. Organizationally your team separated the efforts to obstruct the investigation of Mike Flynn, Michael Cohen, Paul Manafort and others (which appears in Volume I) from the obstruction of the investigation of the President (which appears in Volume II). Why?
  40. In his aborted sentencing hearing, Brandon Van Grack told Judge Sullivan that Mike Flynn could have been charged as an Agent of a Foreign Power under 18 USC 951. More recently, prosecutors in Bijan Kian’s case have treated him as part of a conspiracy to violate that statute. Why did you give Mike Flynn such a lenient plea deal?

As I disclosed last July, I provided information to the FBI on issues related to the Mueller investigation, so I’m going to include disclosure statements on Mueller investigation posts from here on out. I will include the disclosure whether or not the stuff I shared with the FBI pertains to the subject of the post. 

48 replies
  1. Hops says:

    I’d ask whether he has any disagreements with the redactions and whether any of the redactions, if known to the committee, would make it more inclined to start impeachment.

  2. Mugsy says:

    As a computer professional, the most damning evidence of all:

    The discovery of a private email server IN Trump Campaign HQ IN Trump Tower in constant contact with “AlfaBank” (the largest private bank in Russia) is akin to finding a giant love-letter from Putin to Trump in Trump’s desk, yet there is NO mention of it in the #MuellerReport. Was it investigated? And if so, what did they conclude? If it *wasn’t* investigated, why? 🤔

    • P J Evans says:

      No evidence that he could use, and I think it wasn’t actually within the scope – it was before he’d started, and previous investigations hadn’t found evidence for that either. (It’s a fine theory of some kind, but without facts, it’s worth nothing.)

    • emptywheel says:

      Except your premise is not true.
      The server was not in Trump Tower. It was a marketing server in PA.
      Which is probably why it wasn’t in the report.

  3. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Addendum to 38. Do you believe that whether a subject or target of a federal investigation is “frustrated or angry” is relevant a) to how prosecutors should pursue their investigation, b) to the decision whether to indict that person, or c) to whether the claim would be a valid defense to crimes charged?

  4. klynn says:

    1B: Did any of those Russian activities and links to the campaign result in activities of Strategic Information Warfare against United States citizens?

    • Democritus says:

      This :)

      I wonder if emailing links to the relevant congress members, or if there is one for committee staff, would help?

  5. flatulus says:

    Did you have any discussions with Barr and, or Rosenstein regarding the investigation of Trump prior to your appointment as SCO?

  6. tryggth says:

    My questions:

    – Did you or your staff have any communications directly with the OLC?
    – Are you aware of any referrals to the DOJ IG made by yourself or your staff related to the investigation?
    – Are their questions you consider only appropriate to answer in the context of a formal Impeachment inquiry?
    – What’s the real story about the golf club membership brouhaha?

  7. Ruthie says:

    Hopefully Sheila Jackson Lee’s questioning, at least, will be equally pointed on this occasion – despite reports that questions are being coordinated between the 2 committees in a way EW was critical of. I suspect there will be lots of wasted opportunities, but every question doesn’t have to contribute equally for the overall impact to be large. Here’s hoping.

  8. Vicks says:

    All good questions and I completely understand their importance, but all things being equal they could appear as fishing for information not included in the report to help paint a picture that serves the democrats version of events.
    I am assuming this is EXACTLY the tactic team trump will use.
    Mueller’s ground rules favors the democrats. Why not just lead the public to see the picture of corruption and coverup by asking questions that fall squarely with in the “four corners” of the report? Let team Trump lose thier shit as every one of their questions digs a deeper hole that exposes that they have no actual defense for what the report uncovered; all that can save them is an alternate conspiracy.
    It is public opinion that will impeach Trump.
    Why not this brief and rare spotlight as an opportunity to zoom out and educate the public on what has been going on in a way that encourages them to become engaged?

    • bmaz says:

      Let’s be crystal clear, while Mueller may not “want” to go outside of his report, he has absolutely no legal basis for refusing to do so. Mueller does not get to “set the ground rules”.

      • harpie says:

        Yes. And as you retweeted Elie Honig the other day, Congress-people should ask this follow up question:
        3:31 AM – 20 Jul 2019

        People say two things about Mueller:
        (1) he won’t testify beyond his report and
        (2) he is devoted to rule of law.
        So if Mueller declines to answer beyond his report, Congress should ask:
        “On what legal basis are you declining to answer?” (“I don’t want to” is not a legal basis).

      • Vicks says:

        Fair enough.
        My point was from more of a marketing or persuasion perspective.
        The only way to change public opinion is by first creating interest and then presenting facts that are meaningful.
        I think it is safe to assume that reason a lot of Americans say they don’t want impeachment proceedings to start is because they have not been paying attention to what has been going on. I think there is a much better chance of building momentum by engaging these new faces than changing the minds of those who already have an opinion.
        As I said those are great questions whose answers will likely seal the deal for the good guys in a hearing or inquiry, but there is also a good chance that both the questions AND answers will go over the heads of a lot of people just tuning in and you will lose them.
        On the other hand if you use the time to walk through numerous examples (from the report) of activities that (at a minimum) appear to go against the best interest of our country and wrap up each example with Mueller explaining how and when Trump attempted to cover up the incident by committing a crime, people will stay tuned in, they will be alarmed if not outraged and to want to learn more.
        The good guys will still be competing with team Trump for these same viewers, but I have a feeling Trump may have already come close to tapping the market of folks that can be swayed by a hostile pack of politicians in white shirts and rolled up sleeves telling them that there are facts no one can see that show those who can see that this all a vast conspiracy.
        Not saying it’s right or best just a strategy to consider.

      • Americana says:


        But the DOJ has now set ground rules and told Mueller he cannot refer to material that is outside of his report. So I’m curious what the DOJ can do in real time to prevent Mueller giving revealing answers. Other than issuing this threat, can the DOJ take measures at these hearings to prevent Mueller saying anything Trump or AG Barr would consider damning?

  9. MelissaN says:

    How about asking Mueller to identify the pages in the report where he states No Collusion & Trump is exonerated.

    Joking aside, great questions. Personally very curious about last one—why did Flynn get such a good deal.

    • bmaz says:

      Asking Mueller questions that take him time to specifically identify pages on his own is not a good examination concept. Really bad, as it would take up all kinds of time for him to go through and answer.

      The only “page number questions” should be in the form of “Mr. Mueller, on page ____ you said this, is that correct? Why did you say that?

      • MelissaN says:

        Failed attempt at humor. But would be fun to see Mueller say NO WHERE in the report does it say Trump is exonerated.

  10. BeingThere says:

    Has the report as released by Barr, other than redactions, been edited, altered, amended in any way from the report you submitted? Is the report complete, or are there further sections not released. Did you intend to make further chapters of report than those that have been released?

    My concern is that Barr’s rainbow redactions are part of an intentional distraction on more nefarious activity. At time of release the colour of redactions was the only topic the MSM picked up, ignoring the many weeks for potential for editing the report.

    • Eureka says:

      With Rosenstein in mind among possibly-eager draft editors, or at least as one who might have had suggestions, I’d go further with your first sentence, and take it _before_ the submitted report.

  11. Jenny says:

    Thanks Marcy. Ideal would be for you to be asking the questions on the committee. Ideal would be for the House Judiciary Committee to read your posts and steal your questions.

  12. earlofhuntingdon says:

    This from Matt Yglesias’s twitter feed about the upstart Senator from Missouri, Josh Hawley, is precious:

    “Senator Josh Hawley – a graduate of Stanford and Yale and a former instructor at an English private school – warned attendees gathered in the ballroom of the Ritz-Carlton in downtown Washington, D.C., about the threat of elite cosmopolitanism.”

    Sen. Hawley knows he’s preaching a lie. His history degree with highest honors from Stanford tells him so. So does his experience teaching high schoolers at St. Paul’s in London, which caters to the elite of the elite. And the same for his time at that inexpensive down-market law school at Yale, his clerkship with John Roberts on the Supremes, and his practice at a white shoe firm in DC. Just your average christianist FedSoc Joe.

    If Hawley believed what he was saying, he would resign and join VISTA or the Peace Corps. Not bloody likely. He would rather use his argument as a trope to help him run a christian government catering to the needs of elite white christians.

    • P J Evans says:

      You have to appreciate how conservatives always define “elite” as any group they envy, but never one they’d admit to being part of, even when they’re very much part of an elite. (Hawley, you a-hole, there are only 100 Senators in Congress, out of more than 300 MILLION people in the US. You’re one of those elite cosmopolitans.)

    • AndTheSlithyToves says:

      From Wikipedia: Hawley is married to Erin Morrow Hawley, an associate professor of law at the University of Missouri.[73] The Hawley family moved to Columbia, Missouri in 2011. After becoming Attorney General of Missouri, Hawley also rented an apartment in Jefferson City following complaints that he was not abiding by a statutory residency requirement. The Hawleys and their two sons moved to Virginia after Hawley was elected to the U.S. Senate.[74]

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        How cosmopolitan and elitist of Hawley (and his wife, who was also a Supreme Court clerk). But Hawley only left DC to run for elected office in Missouri.

        The Gingrich rule, instituted in the mid-1990s, was that a new congresscritter kept their family at a primary residence back home. They were to commute to DC and be home at weekends.

        The purpose was to keep them socially untethered from DC: No real home (dorms or other communal living was preferred). No shared schools and neighborhoods, to avoid fraternizing with Dems at the local food co-op.

        That made it easier to demonize them and avoid a tendency to compromise, which helped keep the GOP hierarchy in control of its newbies. It also made it easier to control their schedules, forcing them, in part, to spend an inordinate amount of time sucking up to big donors instead of legislating or finding common ground with a Dem.

        This GOP has moved so far right, it no longer seems to need that transitional phase. But a congresscritter must still keep an official residence in their home state.

    • Democritus says:

      The cosmopolitan term was also frequently used in antisemetic contexts, because the gop never stops sinking into the lowest depths of humanity.

      Aside, below from Greg Greene’s twitter: (the shiftiness of the gop refreshed my memory)

      “Health care and politics go hand in hand — because in America, access to one depends on the other. And the stakes are life and death.
      Quote Tweet:
      “Study finds over 15,000 people died as a result of Republican-led states refusing the ACA’s Medicaid expansion.”


      I am far from alone as a disabled person who fears the GOP will enact policies that will leave me dead ahead of when I would be with unfettered access to competent healthcare because of our corrupt medical-industrial complex.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        I’d forgotten the anti-Semitic subtext, but yes, “cosmopolitan” was long used as a veiled slam at supposedly wealthy and predatory urban Jews, who owed no allegiance except to money and their brethren elsewhere in the world (hence, cosmopolitan).

        The “foreign allegiance” argument was also thrown at Catholics, who were mostly more recent, working class immigrants.

        The logic is wrong in many ways, including how it gives a pass to the legions of predators among Christians and others. Donald Trump, for instance.

        Hawley in the Senate and Baby Liz Cheney in the House are among the GOP’s top candidates to be the next GOP president. Worth watching.

  13. Democritus says:

    This clip on Matt Miller is exactly what I think most of us have been fearing. The rule of law is on weak ground now, and we need to shore it up. That would only be possible with trump gone, and a new wave of watergate reforms.

    I wish I had faith in Congressional Democrats, and I suppose the answer to that is what Rayne has been leading to do, lobby Congress.

    From ze twitters:

    “Trump finally has what he wants at DOJ with Bill Barr. I used to be worried about appearance of independence at DOJ, now I’m worried about the actual independence”

    It then has an nice audio excerpt of Matt discussing it on talking feds pod.


    OT, but Jesus fucking Christ, I literally can not fathom how much damage a partisan idiotic fool without restraint or judgement like Nunez could do to our natsec.

    If Mueller’s hearing crashes and burns and there still no Impeach I’m worried because I don’t see how we come out of this whole with peaceful protests, and using our political rights in the bill of rights to encourage action. Do we need to go find the Parkland kids or something and beg them to show us how?

    Trump will just cheat bigger in 2020. Also I might be set in this because I’ve been saying it for months now, but Biden’s baggage would be a trump field day in the general that would make his campaign against Hillary would seem quaint. I think many conservative dem donors just really don’t want Warren.

    People forget that Hillary had better poll numbers at this point in the race then Biden does now, before the smear started from Russia. I’m just really worried if the Democrats in Congress screw this up, or if Mueller might not live up to doing his duty and might not still be what we need him to be. I did read his wife was or is in bible study with Bill Barr wife, who is pretty conservative somewhere, but grains of salt.

  14. Eureka says:

    The beauty of these questions– with the irony that they are generated by one person, albeit not in a vacuum– is that they encapsulate the axiom to not ever put your life in the hands of one person. Well-crafted questions like these eliminate the need to rely on Mueller being a hero, as well as the rest of the hero story that *finally* _now_ *this event* will be the one to save our democracy. If he responds thoughtfully to logically- or evidentiarily-constrained questions (with all of their ampliative possibilities), the long-term _process_ of revealing truth will be jump-started (and hopefully leave the August recess full of forward-moving analysis of his answers).

    Gotta watch out for the hero-story plays about a man who flatly states OLC memo as constitutional fact. Naifs (or true believers) come in all shapes and sizes.

    One bothersome point: the general public does not know that the feds have higher standards for probability-of-conviction before they prosecute (versus more proximate jurisdictions), so I still have concern over translating the ~ insufficient evidence/not established element (besides the problems with his interpretation of ‘coordination,’ but that’s another issue).

  15. K-spin says:

    I hear you Marcy. I’m with you in hoping such questions clarify specific aspects of the report, and the contradictory statements that we’ve seen.

    Also though, I really want each committee to use the opportunity that blanket coverage affords, to pose a few very specific questions that expose the key lies and liars.
    – President Trump has stated on X occasions that your report ‘totally exonerates’ him. Please comment on the accuracy of this claim.
    – AG Bill Barr testified that he was not aware of any concerns that your team had about his ‘summary’ of your report. Please comment on the accuracy of this claim.
    … I’m sceptical that details will be absorbed or considered on a broad scale, however important they may be to each committee pursuing those specifics. But a statement of ‘Trump lied’ or ‘Barr lied’ cannot be other than a headline that will keep Dems on track to pursue facts and transparency, long after Mueller’s comments on the timeline of 302 filing dates are forgotten. That’s what I’m hoping for, at least.

    • Eureka says:

      I think you’ve got it reversed– the ephemeral “gotcha” headlines aren’t what will keep dems here in the United States on track with oversight past the hearings, even as they may spur some towards an impeachment inquiry– but the answers to EW’s questions, and others like them, would do that.

      I wonder if your perspective as an Australian (stated elsewhere) might necessarily leave you more biased towards the impact of headlines. For American citizens, these hearings are about the investigations into Russian (but also other countries’) influence on our (2016) election; how the benefitted-president and others tried to thwart those investigations, and hence our future election and civil security; how we have lived and breathed these issues with our elected representatives; and so much more. Substantive questioning- and answers- matters more for the long term.

      This viewpoint isn’t unique to your comment, but the idea of relying on Mueller to make some heroically-clear declarative statements like “Trump lied” and “Barr lied,” as examples you gave, have some probability of backfiring or otherwise failing. As I’m sure the lawyers would attest, open-ended questions as you (and others) suggest are not the best way to go.

      Lots of EW’s questions ask, as factual matters, if (or rather how and when, to be representative) Barr or Trump lied, and are phrased in such a way that an honest man must answer honestly.

      Also note that while Marcy didn’t provide the “answer key” here, anyone who could competently ask these questions would have it, and could sum the interaction in session with (as applicable) ~ “So Trump lied when he said ___?” [“Yes.”]

      Any type of “gotcha” statements would be great as long as they lasted; the impact of some “gotchas” would be longer-lasting than others. Marcy’s questions are aiming to take Wednesday’s hearings past the Weds., Thurs., Fri. headlines into further oversight, ideally via an impeachment inquiry.

      As well, _any_ headlines will be more remembered in the consequence of successful oversight than if such oversight fails.

      • K-spin says:

        I hear everything you say, eureka. I agree with much of what is said here, and yes I get an occasional slap from bmaz for talking out of turn, but for the most part, I do hope my posts are relevant. And one of the reasons I keep coming back to the site is because I think that the issues discussed here have international relevance – tbh I just feel that DJT’s behaviour is not just something Americans should be up in arms about. It affects us all, and the more we all see it, and call it out, the better… yes?

        Having said that, yes I am Australian, and yes I may be seeing the potential coverage of Mueller’s testimony through a different lens. Perhaps. I’m not sure you can presume that though. I sure as hell will be up all night tomorrow, following every single minute for as long as the testimony is televised. Just as I did with Bill Barr, Brett Kavanagh, Christine Blasey Ford, and James Comey. I will be watching.

        My point was not about what you or I will focus on. We have read the report and want answers to the specific legal questions that Marcy has highlighted. Yes, absolutely, bring those questions on!

        My point was more – and I do apologise if it was clumsily made – that I want this testimony to reach people. There have been so many lies around what Mueller found, and although you and I and Marcy want those issues to be fleshed out, part of me can only hope he’ll say something that makes people wonder, or question, or open their mind a little… that’s all.

        • bmaz says:

          Those are excellent hopes and views. And you are right that Trump is a problem for the entire planet, not just the US.

          I will say this about tomorrow’s Mueller hearing – I do not expect much will be accomplished. Mueller will stick only to the Report, and he affirmatively went shopping to DOJ for an excuse to do just that. I suppose there is some minimal value to having him sit in the witness chair and repeat back what he has already said, but I emphasize minimal. The Republicans will get a few nuggets and then lie about them in service of Trump. Trump will then lie and claim complete vindication.

          Pelosi, Hoyer and the Dems will then leave Friday morning for a month long vacation, and the whole notion of oversight and accountability will die on that vine. Pelosi is madly determined to do nothing about Trump, and she will get her way, and will continue to deflate and depress the very youth and minority vote the Dems need to retain the House, much less make gains in the Senate and the Presidency. Trump may continue to be so truly horrible that those demographics show up in spite of Pelosi’s fecklessness, but she is not helping.

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            The ghost of Kay Graham and the post-Watergate pushback from “too much democracy” after Nixon’s fall and the Church Committee hearings began to expose abuses of power inside the Beltway.

            Barr and Bush shut down Lawrence Walsh’s investigation into Iran-Contra. The Clinton impeachment fiasco was not about accountability for presidential abuses of power. It was attempted character assassination. But it has managed to stain the very process of holding official Washington to account. So, a victory for the GOP.

            Pelosi’s avoidance strategy sure looks like it will sink any attempt to recover control of both the White House and Senate. Without the Senate, not much reform or even recovery will happen. Without the WH, we fall even further down the rabbit hole.

            It’s tempting to believe that Pelosi thinks it’s easier to be the frustrated leader of the opposition than to govern. More frustrating is that she and Schumer and their advisers think this is absolutely positively the best course of action. Whatever. It is no way to win an election, which is what she claims is her aim.

  16. dude says:

    As a non-lawyer, I would ask Mr. Mueller to tell the Committee the legal meaning and force of the expression “presumptively privileged” in the context of ordering a private citizen to withhold information while under subpoena. (I am sure you lawyers here could come up with a better way to say it.)

    I would be asking as a non-lawyer of a lawyer (Mueller). I would ask him to explain the concept, and then ask him if he is honoring that legal meaning in the context of the Committee today when answering questions at the heart of the House’s rightful oversight inquiry like Marcy’s questions above. I am not so sure treating Mueller with kid gloves is necessarily a good idea.

    • harpie says:

      It was unclear if Mr. Mueller had made a similar request to the House Intelligence Committee […]

      If the aide, Aaron Zebley, were to take an oath to testify, he could be questioned by lawmakers on the panel […]

      Under House rules, the arrangement could disqualify Mr. Zebley from privately conferring with Mr. Mueller during the hearing — a role he could play if he were not sworn in. […]

      Mr. Zebley has worked closely with Mr. Mueller for years. […] He filled a similar role on the special counsel’s team, coordinating the team and ***serving as a go-between with the Justice Department***. […]

      The two panels had previously expected to talk to Mr. Zebley and another former member of the special counsel’s team, James L. Quarles III, in private sessions after the public hearings. But those meetings were canceled after the Justice Department objected. […]

      added: asterisks

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