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In a piece published by Lawfare on Friday evening, former FBI director James Comey wrote more than a dozen questions he would ask former special counsel Robert Mueller at an upcoming congressional hearing.
Comey was fired by President Donald Trump on May 9, 2017, and the chain of events stemming from Comey’s dismissal led to the appointment of Robert Mueller to investigate any coordination between Russia and Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and potential obstruction of justice.
Roughly 22 months later, Mueller turned in his report. A redacted version was released on April 18, and Mueller made his only public remarks on the two-volume, 448-page report in late May.
Next week, Mueller will appear before two committees in the House of Representatives: The Judiciary Committee and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Each lawmaker will have five minutes to question the former special counsel, and Comey has a few suggestions.
“If I were a member of Congress with five minutes to question Robert Mueller, I would ask short questions drawn from the report’s executive summaries,” Comey wrote in the only non-question sentence published.
Mueller previously stated that the report he turned into the Justice Department should be considered his testimony, and he will not expand beyond what is in the 448-page report.
Comey’s questions are separated by volume, and they each correspond to a page in Mueller’s report.
Some pinpoint specific details: “Did you find that, despite the fact that candidate Trump said he had ‘nothing to do with Russia,’ his organization had been pursuing a major Moscow project into the middle of the election year and that candidate Trump was regularly updated on developments? (vol 1, p. 5: vol 2, p. 19),” Comey asks at one point.
Some of his questions are broader, but answer big questions that the American public, many of whom didn’t read the report, may want answers to: “Did you reach a judgment as to whether the president had committed obstruction of justice crimes?”
- “The Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion.”
- “[W]hile the investigation identified numerous links between individuals with ties to the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump Campaign, the evidence was not sufficient to support criminal charges.”
- “The Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) has issued an opinion finding that ‘the indictment or criminal prosecution of a sitting President would impermissibly undermine the capacity of the executive branch to perform its constitutionally assigned functions’ in violation of the constitutional separation of powers.'”
- “[I]f we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, however, we are unable to reach that judgment. The evidence we obtained about the President’s actions and intent presents difficult issues that prevent us from conclusively determining that no criminal conduct occurred. Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”
Mueller will testify publicly on Wednesday, July 24, beginning at 8:30 a.m. EDT.
Michael Novakhov – SharedNewsLinks℠