Trump’s Justice Department just tried to muzzle Mueller ahead of his congressional hearing

It is inconceivable that President Trump’s supporters don’t grasp the cognitive dissonance in the president’s strident declarations that he has been completely exonerated of Russian collusion and obstruction of justice by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report and his exhaustive efforts to prevent Mueller or anyone on his investigative team — as well as the many witnesses to Trump’s obstructive actions — from testifying in front of congressional committees dedicated to uncovering the truth about what really happened.

Common sense tells anyone that the innocent have nothing to hide and that only a desperately guilty man would expend such energy on preventing testimony from the people who supposedly cleared him of all wrongdoing as he claims.

The sense that President Trump has a considerable amount of undisclosed criminal secrets was only exacerbated today when the Department of Justice sent a letter today to the former Special Counsel — now a private citizen once again after leaving the employ of the department — warning him not to stray beyond the bounds of his 448-page report when he testifies in front of two different congressional committees on Wednesday.

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The Trump administration once again made spurious claims of executive privilege to try to limit the damage that Mueller’s unfettered testimony could inflict on the president, saying in the letter to the special counsel that his answers to the representative’s questions “must remain within the boundaries of your public report because matters within the scope of your investigation were covered by executive privilege.”

Given that the special counsel has already expressed his reluctance to appear before Congress and his previous avowal that he “would not provide information beyond that which is already public in any appearance before Congress,” the Trump administration’s attempts to further limit Mueller’s ability to answer his congressional interrogators seems like an act of desperation by people who know how high the stakes of the truth being revealed will actually be.

“As the Attorney General has repeatedly stated, the decision to testify before Congress is yours to make in this case, but the Department agrees with your stated position that your testimony should be unnecessary under the circumstances,” Associate Deputy Attorney General Bradley Weinsheimer wrote on behalf of the Justice Department
Weinsheimer reemphasized to Mueller that DOJ policy prohibits the special counsel from discussing the legal conclusions his team made “with respect to uncharged individuals, other than information contained within the portions of your report that already have been made public.”  He also told Mueller that he should avoid speaking about the redacted portions of the report or about third parties who have not been charged with any crimes.
While the world awaits Mueller’s Wednesday testimony, all of the parties involved —  from both the Republican and Democratic members of the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees to Mueller and his investigative team — have been holding their separate rehearsals for the big day.
One can only hope that — despite the administration’s efforts to bury the already damning findings contained Mueller’s written report — that his questioning by Congress  will magnify the serious of Trump’s crimes and finally result in the president being held accountable for his serious breach of the law or, as the Constitution frames it, his high crimes and misdemeanors.

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Original reporting by David Shortell, Jessica Schneider, Manu Raju, and Paul LeBlanc at CNN.

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Vinnie Longobardo

Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile, & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music, and art.


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