DThe message that reached the end of Tuesday night in Washington at the political level is likely to amaze even some experienced and seasoned observers: Robert Mueller, special investigator of Russia, will testify before the United States Congress. Contrary to its original intention. This is a small political feeling. At least.
It is quite possible that Mueller does not put his words into this show, unlike in the past. On 17 July, Mueller wants to follow the corresponding convocations of the democratically dominated House of Representatives. He will testify before the Judiciary Committee and the Intelligence Committee, as announced Tuesday by President Jerrold Nadler and Adam Schiff.
The joy of the White House was perhaps too early
The former director of the FBI will then be questioned about his report on Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential campaign – publicly. This July 17th may therefore be quite complicated for US President Donald Trump and Justice Secretary William Barr – and should cause them headaches even now.
Mueller had actually found in his nearly two-year investigation, no evidence of illegal collusion of Trump's electoral teams with Russia. He expressly did not raise the President from the suspicion of punishable legal invalidity. Barr, in turn, had summarized, and then analyzed, the report of the special investigator, which was partially blackened.
Trump was later confirmed in his statement that (the Republican) Mueller and "13 angry Democrats" on his team had a "witch hunt" against him. From a "complete relief" Trump spoke fully. There was no "conspiracy". Many Democrats, some commentators who for years have suggested a collaboration between the Trump campaign team and Russia, if not even claimed, are now disappointed.
But perhaps the cheering at the White House was a little too strong and too early. The Mueller report and the conclusions of Justice Minister Barr also revealed various differences that tried to exaggerate with the Trump administration.
The report explicitly left open whether Trump had hampered the justice system or not – a politically serious process. His final report did not conclude that the president had committed a crime, but he did not raise it, Mueller had recorded in the 448-page report. Barr, however, spoke freely to Trump on this point. It could be very enlightening what Mueller has to say about this question. The Democrats, who set the committee's agenda and held its meetings, are hardly content with evasive statements.
We will certainly talk about Russia's interference in the 2016 elections, especially because Trump did not want to give the Mueller team any information – and answered his questions in a very superficial way in writing. What about the fact that in 2016 Trump publicly appealed to Russia to follow Hillary Clinton's e-mails? About five hours after Trump's speech, the Russian news service GRU had first tried to take over Clinton's e-mail accounts, according to Mueller's report.
And what was discussed at the meeting of Trump's son Donald junior, campaign director Paul Manafort, son-in-law Jared Kushner and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya at Trump Tower on June 9, 2016, during which are incriminating evidence against Hillary Clinton? He could "not remember" certain facts, Trump wrote in his answers again and again. "Insufficient" – thus Mueller's conclusion of the President's information. If Mueller will comment on Trump's memory lapses?
Why did Mueller change his attitude?
The Democrats, angered by Trump and Barr, had requested a declaration from Special Investigator Muller a little over two months ago about the presentation of the report. The candidate for leftist presidency, Elizabeth Warren, was one of the first to request such a public appearance. However, Mueller completed one of his extremely rare public appearances at the end of May, declaring the investigation closed, announcing his intention to retire in his private life rather than testify before the congress.
Because he reflected exactly on this attitude and has now agreed to make a statement initially unclear Tuesday evening. Commission Presidents Nadler and Schiff have written that they are aware of Mueller's reservations about the appearance at the Congress. But they would have insisted anyway.
The July 17th appointment could be unpleasant not only for Trump, but also for the Minister of Justice Barr. Mueller should complain that Barr turned his mouth around him. In a letter, the special investigator had already complained to Barr that he had not completely reproduced the context and content of his work and his conclusions. This led to "public confusion".
No, no, Barr said in a telephone call before the Senate judiciary committee on May 1, Mueller complained, as the media reported on the Justice Minister's summary. His summary of the report criticized Mueller as neither misleading nor imprecise, said Barr. It will be interesting to see how Mueller will comment on the matter.
If Mueller again reveals recent accusations against Trump, internal party pressure with the Democrats will increase. Already 80 parliamentarians, about a third of their group in the House of Representatives, are requesting the start of an impeachment procedure. Even individual presidential candidates, including Elizabeth Warren, are campaigning for this.
Only the slightest indication of a clue that the president has obstructed the judicial system can increase the demand for impeachment proceedings. The subject of Mueller's report is, in short, still not off the table. The President of the United States immediately commented on the process in the Twitter short messaging service: "Presidential Harassment!" – Presidential harassment.
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