May 7, 2019

ALWAYS BET ON THE dEEP sTATE:

With Mueller on Justice staff, Barr has sway over testimony (MICHAEL BALSAMO and JONATHAN LEMIRE, 5/07/19, AP)

The president stewed for days about the prospect of the media coverage that would be given to Mueller, a man Trump believes has been unfairly lionized across cable news and the front pages of the nation's leading newspapers for two years, according to three White House officials and Republicans close to the White House.

Trump feared a repeat -- but bigger -- of the February testimony of his former lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, which dominated news coverage and even overshadowed a nuclear summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Vietnam.

Trump has long known the power of televised images and feared that Americans would be captivated by seeing -- and hearing -- Mueller, who has not spoken publicly since being named special counsel.

While Mueller is a Justice Department employee, the department would generally handle requests for him to appear before Congress, and the Justice Department could delay or block Mueller from voluntarily appearing. Congress could issue a subpoena to compel him to appear before the committee.

It isn't clear what grounds the Justice Department would use to justify an attempt to block Mueller's testimony.

As a private citizen, Mueller could decide whether to accept an invitation to appear or, if he declines, whether to attempt to resist any effort to subpoena him.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said last week the committee was "firming up the date" for Mueller's testimony and hoping it would be May 15. If the Justice Department tries to block Mueller's testimony, Democrats could issue a subpoena to try to compel his appearance.

Any showdown over Mueller's testimony would add to tensions between House Democrats and the Justice Department. Barr has already defied a subpoena to provide the full, unredacted version of Mueller's report, and Nadler has scheduled a Wednesday vote to hold the attorney general in contempt of Congress.

Posted by at May 7, 2019 2:37 PM

  

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