Jul 24, 2019

Robert Mueller's secret hearing prep sessions

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Former special counsel Robert Mueller has been grilled in secret prep sessions for today's back-to-back Hill appearances, a source familiar with the process tells Axios.

The state of play: During the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committee sessions, which the networks are calling the most anticipated hearings in a decade, Mueller will face questions about his 448-page report from 63 total lawmakers, with little overlap, Politico points out.

Yesterday afternoon, Axios' Jonathan Swan called Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz to get a Mueller preview. Gaetz, along with Reps. Jim Jordan and John Ratcliffe, are expected to be the most aggressive Republican questioners.

  • A source close to these three says they've spent weeks preparing to grill Mueller.
  • "I can't talk right now," Gaetz told Swan. "I'm in Mr. Jordan's office working on my questions."

House Democrats spent 2½ hours in a "feisty" prep session — basically mock hearing — in the Rayburn House Office Building yesterday, NBC's Mike Memoli reported: "They say no one reads the book; everyone watches the movie."

  • House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff told Axios' Alayna Treene that he wants to ask Mueller about the counterintelligence investigation that touched off the Russia/election scandal: "We want to find out the scope of what was investigated, what he didn't investigate. And what work is left to be done."

Go deeper: Explore a detailed view of the Mueller report

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The 9 big moments from Robert Mueller's House testimony

Robert Mueller prepares to testify before the House Judiciary Committee. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Former special counsel Robert Mueller testified Wednesday in back-to-back sessions before the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees.

The big picture: Mueller — who refused to read directly from the report during his appearances, denied Democrats some of the cinematic wins they'd hoped for — was generally concise with his responses, often asking members to repeat their questions and directing them to refer to the wording in his report.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Jul 24, 2019

Schiff to Mueller: DOJ instructions have no bearing on testimony

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff wrote to former Special Counsel Robert Mueller Tuesday to say a Justice Department letter stating he must "not go beyond" his Russia report during testimony should have "no bearing" on his congressional appearance.

The big picture: The Department of Justice wrote directions to Mueller ahead of his testimony before the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees Wednesday. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler said earlier that Mueller doesn't have to comply with the DOJ's instructions, which he called "incredibly arrogant."

Go deeper: What to expect out of Robert Mueller’s day on the Hill

Keep ReadingArrowJul 24, 2019

The Trump claims that Robert Mueller rebutted in his testimony

Mueller testifies before the House Select Committee on Intelligence on July 24, 2019. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

In his testimony Wednesday, former special counsel Robert Mueller disputed 5 of President Trump's frequent claims about his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and the president's potential efforts to obstruct justice.

The big picture: Many of the claims Mueller knocked down were already refuted in his 450-page report, but Democrats were seeking to animate the special counsel's findings through Wednesday's high-stakes testimony. That was clear from the moment that Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) opened the hearing with his line of questioning.

Go deeperArrowJul 24, 2019