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Tipsheet

Republicans Cry Foul Over Mueller's Last Minute Request For Testimony, Say It Could Violate House Rules

AP Photo/Cliff Owen

Former special counsel Robert Mueller’s last minute request to have his deputy, Aaron Zebley, accompany him for his Wednesday testimony before the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees has prompted fierce criticism from Republicans, including President Trump.

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Zebley will serve in an advisory role during Mueller’s testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, but he will be sworn in to testify in front of the House Intelligence Committee, according to CNN.

"Aaron Zebley was the Deputy Special Counsel and had day-to-day oversight of the investigations conducted by the Office. He will accompany Special Counsel Mueller to the Wednesday hearings, as was discussed with the committees more than a week ago," Mueller spokesman Jim Popkin told multiple media outlets.

Trump took to Twitter to call the move “very unfair” and one which “should not be allowed.”

"Just got back only to hear of a last minute change allowing a Never Trumper attorney to help Robert Mueller with his testimony before Congress tomorrow. What a disgrace to our system. Never heard of this before,” he said. “VERY UNFAIR, SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED. A rigged Witch Hunt!”

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The president then pointed out that Zebley represented the IT aide who helped set up a private email server for Hillary Clinton and said it was never agreed upon to have him appear with Mueller. 

“So Robert Mueller has now asked for his long time Never Trumper lawyer to sit beside him and help with answers. What’s this all about?” Trump asked. “His lawyer represented the “basement server guy” who got off free in the Crooked Hillary case. This should NOT be allowed. Rigged Witch Hunt!”

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Other Republicans argued the last-minute change may not comply with House rules.

Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA), Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, accused Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), of “allowing the committee’s business to devolve into chaos.“

“If true, the chairman’s unprecedented decision to allow a witness’s counsel to both advise him privately and simultaneously testify alongside him shows the lengths Democrats will go to protect a one-sided narrative from a thorough examination by committee Republicans. I called on the chairman to hold a hearing with the special counsel nearly four months ago, and a last minute addition to the witness list would now jeopardize whether tomorrow’s hearing complies with the rules of the House,” he said in a statement.

“This apparent stunt is unsurprising in light of the Democrats’ repeated attempts to circumvent, misrepresent and flout the rules and procedures governing this committee’s business. If Democrats believe it is the special counsel’s responsibility to testify to his report, they have no ground for outsourcing that duty at the expense of our committee’s integrity.”

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Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) also criticized the move. 

Mueller is scheduled to testify before the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees starting at 8:30 a.m.

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