Gowdy: Mueller Not Allowed to Discuss Derogatory Information on Unindicted Person, Per DOJ Policy
Democrats are working overtime to bring Special Counsel Robert Mueller to Capitol Hill to testify about the findings of his investigation into the Trump campaign's alleged links to Russia.
Dems on the House Judiciary Committee have scheduled a tentative hearing for May 15, a move top Republicans on the committee reportedly support, despite President Trump's Sunday tweet declaring that "Mueller should not testify."
Democrats are eager to ask Mueller to expand on everything in his 448-page report that reflects poorly on President Trump.
But there could be a problem with that.
"DOJ policy does not allow him to discuss derogatory information against an uncharged person," former House Oversight Committee chairman Trey Gowdy explained on Fox News' The Story with Martha MacCallum Monday evening.
"So what the Democrats want is for him to painstakingly go through all of the information he had that led to obstruction, or that they think leads to obstruction, and the conclusion is he didn't indict him. So DOJ policy doesn't allow that conversation. I'm not sure what else he can talk about," Gowdy added.
The former congressman from South Carolina noted that Dems will ask Mueller "to expand on his already expansive report" but the department doesn't speak in press conferences and reports." He added that they use indictments. Either indict or shut up. And he didn't indict."
Unfortunately, the special counsel already "blew through" those Justice Department regulations by publicizing his report, as National Review editor Rich Lowry explained at the New York Post, Monday night.
The relevant regulations say at the conclusion of the special counsel’s work he or she “shall provide the attorney general with a confidential report explaining the prosecution or declination decisions reached by the special counsel.”
On obstruction, Mueller reached no such decision, and he didn’t write a confidential report, either — his report was clearly meant for public consumption. Besides that, he’s a sticker for the rules.
“Mueller’s action,” Jack Goldsmith of Harvard Law School writes at Lawfare, “seems inconsistent with what the regulations tried to accomplish, which was to prevent extra-prosecutorial editorializing.” Worse, as Trump’s special counsel, Emmet Flood, set out in an excoriating letter, by stipulating that the evidence prevented him “from conclusively determining that no criminal conduct occurred,” Mueller stood the presumption of innocence on its head.
Democrats apparently want to give Mueller a chance to continue his anti-Trump "extra-prosecutorial editorializing” by speaking publicly later this month.
Lowry notes that Congress is not interested in facts as "they are already in the report."
It wants opinions and sound bites, especially any embarrassing to the president. Congress wants him to spend a couple of high-profile hours further “not exonerating” the president.
If Mueller had a proper understanding of his role, he would decline the invitation and perhaps write a letter giving his version of events regarding his interactions with Attorney General William Barr, which became such a flashpoint last week.
But Mueller's understanding of his role has always apparently been to help Democrats in their quest to politically damage the president and help cover up the crimes of the Obama administration. That's why he "sandbagged" his former friend, Attorney General William Barr, last week.
Former independent counsel Ken Starr told MacCallum that Mueller's leaked letter to Barr was "terrible" and an "unforgivable sin."
"His letter, that was then leaked on the very eve of Bill Barr's testimony was essentially, I believe, an unfair, whiny complaint," Starr said, explaining that Barr was obliged to release a summary of principal conclusions.
That wasn't a discretionary call, he was obliged to do exactly what he did. And then here comes Bob Mueller with this letter which is then leaked. That is to me the unforgivable sin. He, Bob Mueller, badly injured this attorney general and the attorney general didn't deserve that but, of course, that created its own huge firestorm including suggestions that the attorney general was totally mischaracterizing the report and so forth. When you look at that March 24 letter, I think Bill Barr was honestly trying to do the right thing and do it in the right way.
Barr testified during the Senate Judiciary hearing last week that he didn't believe it was Mueller who wrote the "snitty" letter, but a member of his staff.
But Mueller's actions for the past two years strongly suggest -- to his eternal shame -- that not only is he capable of writing a "snitty" letter to hurt a former friend, he's capable of providing public sound bites to embarrass the president and help Dems in their impeachment efforts.
Moreover, the special counsel probe from beginning to end looks increasingly like an elaborate hoax designed to cover up Obama-era surveillance malfeasance. Mueller did himself no favors when he sandbagged Barr, the guy who's now investigating all of this.