READ: Schiff Sends Last Minute Letter To Mueller Ahead Of Scheduled Congressional Testimony

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Posted: Jul 24, 2019 12:07 AM
READ: Schiff Sends Last Minute Letter To Mueller Ahead Of Scheduled Congressional Testimony

Source: AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff on Tuesday night sent a letter to former Special Counsel Robert Mueller asking him to reject the limitations the Department of Justice set forth for his testimony before Congress. Specifically, the Justice Department instructed Mueller to stay within the confines of his public report that was released earlier this year.

According to Schiff, the DOJ's request "attempts to unduly circumscribe" Mueller's testimony "and represents yet another attempt by the Trump Administration to obstruct the authorized oversight activity and legitimate investigation of the [Intelligence] Committee."

Schiff reprimands Mueller, saying the Committee didn't agree to the stipulations beforehand.

"While I understand that it is your intention to focus on the public version of your report, the Department's attempt to restrict your testimony finds no support in law, regulations, or Department policy," Schiff wrote. "Moreover, the subpoena issued by the Committee placed no such limitations on the scope of your testimony, nor did the Committee agree to any such limitations during our weeks of negotiations about the terms of your appearances before the Committee."

The Chairman argued that Mueller's testimony is a matter of "national importance," which is why the rules should be thrown to the wayside. 

"While the Committee is prepared to respect any necessary circumspection on your part in order to protect legitimate Department equities and not to interfere with ongoing prosecution, the Committee is wary of selective invocations of Department 'policies' by this Attorney General in light of his own public statements regarding the findings of the Special Counsel's Office," Schiff said. 

The Chairman said executive privilege doesn't apply to this case because it "is intended to preserve the ability of a President to receive confidential advice from the President's closest advisors. It is not intended to shield a President from congressional testimony of the utmost national importance concerning a criminal investigation of which the President was personally a target."

Schiff claimed the Justice Department's last-minute letter is an attempt to limit the Committee's investigation and stifle Mueller's testimony. But what Schiff seems to forget is that Mueller himself reached out to the DOJ for guidance on what he should and should not talk about. The Justice Department never placed a gag order on him. Not only that, but Mueller has said repeatedly he refused to testify outside the confines of his public report.