The former special counsel’s testimony is not ultimately important for any bombshells or revelations but for initiating the long-belated creation of an Article I record of the president’s conduct.
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I argued earlier this month that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report misapplied the presidential clear statement rule and improperly exposed many of President Trump’s actions in response to the Russia investigation to potential criminal liability.
There is a substantial and impatient audience both within and outside Congress for Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s testimony on the Russia investigation. The House judiciary committee is negotiating for Mueller to appear, and while the Trump administration is busily objecting to other appearances, such as that of former White House Counsel Don McGahn, it seems prepared to relent in the case of Mueller.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller has concluded his investigation, and many questions remain. Chief among them is what animated Mueller’s decision not to reach a conclusion on possible obstruction of justice by the president. Why did he choose to follow Department of Justice policy prohibiting the indictment of a sitting president? Would he have indicted the president without that policy? Why did he seemingly leave it to Congress—and, perhaps inadvertently, to Attorney General William Barr—to make a final judgment on the president’s conduct?
Editor’s Note: Below are the executive summaries of the two volumes of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's final report. Volume I deals with links between Russia and the Trump campaign, while Volume II deals with potential obstruction of justice by President Trump. This article is available in audio format on the Lawfare Podcast: Special Edition:
The completion of the Mueller investigation is no small democratic accomplishment and was not a foregone conclusion in an environment in which the president has repeatedly sought to smear and frustrate the investigation.
Before today, we asked what Mueller was going to do. Today, we ask a subtly different question: What is it that he has written?
Witch hunt or no, the Mueller investigation has so far produced a lot of litigation, and that litigation has produced a lot of documents. Today, Lawfare is releasing a new resource page collating significant documents from the numerous cases filed by and against the special counsel's office. You can find the page here or under "Special Features" in the menu bar above.
The release of the “road map” provided by the Watergate grand jury to the House Judiciary Committee has precipitated a discussion over the suitability of a similar option for Robert Mueller. Jack Goldsmith and Benjamin Wittes have rightly observed that the road map was a restrained presentation, limited to key statements and a guide to the supporting material in the evidentiary record.
On Monday, Judge Dabney Friedrich of the the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled against a motion challenging the constitutionality of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s appointment. The full order is below: