DOJ Announces Mueller’s Departure From Dept. Of Justice

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Although Special Counsel Robert Mueller is tentatively scheduled to testify in front of the House Judiciary Committee on May 15, controversy and speculation surround attempts to block that testimony by the Trump administration.

During his own stammering, deflecting testimony in front of Congress, Attorney General William Barr said that he had no problems with Mueller giving his own testimony. Once plans began to be made in order to arrange that, Trump panicked in a tweet, saying that Mueller “should not testify” and give Democrats a “redo” in order to get the results they wanted from the probe. However, Democrats already got the expected results. Trump was shown to have obstructed justice no less than 10 times.

According to Quartz:

‘[Mueller] will be concluding his service within the coming days [while a] small staff remains to assist in closing the operations of the office.’

On Tuesday, the deadline for the unredacted Mueller report, a deadline laid out in a congressional subpoena, had long come and gone. At this point, the only answers Congress may be able to get will come from the special counsel, who complained to Barr that his work and its conclusions had been mischaracterized as “no collusion, no obstruction” by the attorney general.

‘The House Judiciary Committee voted April 3 to authorize subpoenasfor the full, unredacted report and its underlying evidence. Barr, and possibly Mueller, could be called to testify in front of the committee. In previous special investigations into US presidential misconduct, Congress ultimately got access to special prosecutors’ reports and the underlying information.’

As long as Mueller is still employed by the Department of Justice, Barr can legally prevent him from testifying. Once he leaves, two possibilities open up: 1) Mueller can choose to testify on his own; or 2) Congress can issue a subpoena in order to get him to testify.

‘While any contract Mueller signed with the Department of Justice to conduct the investigation is unlikely to have a specific non-disclosure agreement that prevents him from discussing the investigation publicly at all, he’s still ethically prohibited from divulging privileged information, such as information about the internal workings of the executive branch that is normally protected from disclosure by the common law principle known as “deliberative process privilege,” or anything that came from grand jury testimony.’

Featured image via Flickr by Gage Skidmore under a Creative Commons license