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Democrats admit that questioning Mueller "will not be easy"



WASHINGTON (AP) – Some people are watching an old video of his previous testimony. Others read closely his report of 448 pages. And almost everyone is worried about how they will make the most of the limited time they have to ask questions.

Democrats know that Robert Mueller will have a hard time getting rid of it.

The former and harsh FBI director, reluctant, said he would not answer questions other than those contained in the report on Russia's electoral interference, the Trump campaign and the government. possible obstruction of justice before the Congress on 17 July.

Mueller is expected to testify before the Judiciary and Intelligence Committees for two hours, with the time evenly split between Republicans and Democrats, although this moment is still under negotiation. This means that Democrats will have to be efficient and accurate in their attempts to extract information from the former special council and highlight their most damaging conclusions that he has made against the president. Donald Trump.

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WASHINGTON, DC – OCTOBER 28: Former FBI director Robert Mueller attends the swearing-in ceremony of FBI director James Comey at the FBI headquarters on October 28, 2013 in Washington, DC. Comey was officially sworn in as FBI director on Sept. 4 to succeed Mueller, who had been in the position for 12 years. (Photo by Alex Wong / Getty Images)

On June 21, 2013, US President Barack Obama applauds outgoing director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Robert Mueller at Rose House in the White House in Washington for Jim Comey director of the FBI. Comey, a Deputy Attorney General of George W. Bush, would replace Mueller, who leaves the agency he has been leading since the week before the September 11, 2001 attacks. AFP PHOTO / Nicholas KAMM (The photo credit should correspond to NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP / Getty Images)

The outgoing FBI director, Robert Mueller, applauds key members of his staff at a farewell ceremony held for him at the Justice Department in Washington on August 1, 2013. On Monday, the US Senate has confirmed that former Deputy Attorney General James Comey will replace Mueller, who has headed the office ever since. shortly before the attacks of September 11, 2001 in the United States. REUTERS / Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES – Tags: POLITICAL CRIME LAW HEAD)

391489 03: US President George W. Bush expressing himself during a conference, alongside the Justice Department veteran, Robert Mueller, left, who he appointed to the head FBI, and Attorney General John Ashcroft on July 5, 2001, the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Wilson / Getty Images)

On August 1, 2013, outgoing FBI director Robert Mueller defended the national anthem at a farewell ceremony before the Justice Department in Washington. The US Senate confirmed Monday the appointment of former Deputy Attorney General James Comey to the position of Deputy Attorney General. shortly before the attacks of September 11, 2001 in the United States. REUTERS / Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES – Tags: POLITICAL CRIME ACT)

Outgoing FBI director Robert Mueller (left) reacts to a public ovation from US Attorney General James Cole (right) and US Attorney General Eric Holder (right) at the ceremony. Mueller farewell to the Justice Department in Washington on August 1, 2013. On Monday, the US Senate confirmed that former Deputy Attorney General James Comey replaced Mueller, who headed the office shortly before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. United States. REUTERS / Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES – Tags: POLITICAL CRIME ACT)

On August 1, 2013, the outgoing FBI Director, Robert Mueller, made gestures at a farewell ceremony that took place before him at the Justice Department in Washington. On Monday, the US Senate confirmed the appointment of former Deputy Attorney General James Comey as Deputy Attorney General. shortly before the attacks of September 11, 2001 in the United States. REUTERS / Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES – Tags: POLITICAL CRIME ACT)

FILE PHOTO – US Attorney General John Ashcroft (right) and FBI Director Robert Mueller discuss potential terrorist threats against the United States in Washington, DC, May 26, 2004. REUTERS / Kevin Lamarque / File Photo

On August 1, 2013, outgoing FBI Director Robert Mueller responded to public applause at his farewell ceremony at the Washington Department of Justice. The Senate confirmed Monday the appointment of former Deputy Attorney General James Comey as Deputy Attorney General. before the attacks of September 11, 2001 in the United States. REUTERS / Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES – Tags: POLITICAL CRIME ACT)

United States – June 19: President Pat Leahy, D-Vt., Right, and FBI Director, Robert Mueller head for a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee in Dirksen Building on FBI Watch. (Photo by Tom Williams / Roll call)

On August 1, 2013, outgoing FBI Director Robert Mueller (C) delivered a speech to the Washington Department of Justice. On Monday, the US Senate confirmed former Attorney General James Comey, replacing Mueller, who has been running the office ever since. shortly before the attacks of September 11, 2001 in the United States. United States Attorney General James Cole (FROM L), US Attorney General Eric Holder, former CIA Director George Tenet, and TSA Administrator, John Pistole, are also on stage. REUTERS / Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES – Tags: POLITICAL CRIME ACT)

WASHINGTON, DC – MAY 15: (LR) Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD), US Attorney General, Eric Holder, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, FBI Director Robert Mueller, and Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, John Morton, at the National Peace Officers Meeting Commemorative Ceremony at the US Capitol on May 15, 2013 in Washington, DC. Holder and other members of the Obama administration are criticized for information that the Internal Revenue Services was thoroughly reviewing the tax exemption requests of conservative organizations and the assignment two months of telephone reports from Associated Press reporters. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images)

FBI Director Robert Mueller testifies before the hearing of the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Capitol Hill, Washington, on June 13, 2013. Mueller said Thursday that the US government was doing everything what was in his power to hold the Ethiopian journalist Edward Snowden to account. secrets across the pages of newspapers around the world. REUTERS / Yuri Gripas (UNITED STATES – Tags: POLITICAL CRIME ACT)

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych (left) receives FBI director Robert Mueller at his meeting in Kiev on June 5, 2013. REUTERS / Efrem Lukatsky / Pool (UKRAINE – Tags: POLITICS)

FBI director Robert Mueller (left) arrives Jan. 21, 2013 in Washington for the Obama presidential nomination on the western front of the US Capitol. President Barack Obama has been re-elected for a second term as President of the United States. The woman on the right is not identified. REUTERS / Win McNamee-POOL (USA)

WASHINGTON ,: FBI Director Robert Mueller answers questions raised by Congress on October 17, 2002 in Capitol Hill, Washington. Mueller was testifying before the last public hearing of the House of Sisters' Special Intelligence Committee and the Senate investigating the events leading up to September 11, 2001. AFP / Stephen JAFFE Photos (Photographic credits are as follows: STEPHEN JAFFE / AFP / Getty Images)

CIA Director Leon Panetta, National Intelligence Director James Clapper and FBI Director Robert Mueller testify at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in Capitol Hill, Washington, DC on 16 February 2011. REUTERS / Jason Reed (UNITED STATES – Tags: POLITICS)

399994 02: Robert Mueller, FBI Director, visits the US Military Complex at Kandahar Airport on January 23, 2002 in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Mueller had lunch with FBI officials and Haji Gulali, commander of the Kandahar region. (Photo by Mario Tama / Getty Images)

The director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Robert Mueller (left), at the national anthem, along with Attorney General Eric Holder (right) and Deputy Attorney General James Cole ( right) at a farewell ceremony in Mueller's honor at the Department of Justice on August 1, 2013. Mueller retires from the FBI after 12 years of service as a director. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (The photo credit should match SAUL LOEB / AFP / Getty Images)

399994 01: Robert Mueller, FBI Director, greets US forces at the US military site at Kandahar Airport on January 23, 2002 in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Mueller had lunch with FBI officials and Haji Gulali, commander of the Kandahar region. (Photo by Mario Tama / Getty Images)

UNITED STATES – JUNE 19: FBI Director Robert Mueller in the center speaks with President Pat Leahy, on the right, and Senator Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, before a Senate committee charged with magistrate at Dirksen FBI. (Photo by Tom Williams / Roll call)

UNITED STATES – JUNE 06: MONITORING SURVEILLANCE ON COUNTERTERRORISM – Sen. Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., Speaker of the Senate of the Judiciary, Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III, and Senator Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, before the hearing. (Photo by Scott J. Ferrell / Congressional Quarterly / Getty Images)




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"It will not be easy," said David Cicilline, Democratic Representative of the Judiciary Committee of Rhode Island. He added, "We just have to be very smart about how we use the time and really give the special advocate time to tell the story."

Cicillin says that he reads the report a second time, thoroughly, with an eye on what he wants to ask.

In addition, a Democratic aide said staff members had seen old videos of Mueller testifying as the FBI director under the administrations of Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. They want to know how he is going to act, said the assistant, and they noticed that he was making minimal comments in answering the questions. The assistant was not allowed to discuss internal preparations for the hearing and asked for anonymity.

Suspicious of their provocative witness, Democratic members of the Judiciary Committee huddled Wednesday night to discuss the strategy for interviewing Mueller and other topics. Negotiations on the exact structure of the audience are still ongoing, MPs said as soon as they appeared, but Democrats are expected to divide the issues in a methodical manner.

Among the topics of discussion in the lead-up to the hearing: should they review the report step by step or paint a general picture? Will each member be able to speak in the short time that he has left? And what can they do to better crystallize the findings of a report that they believe Americans have not read or absorbed?

New York representative Hakeem Jeffries, a panel member, said before the meeting that he expects to discuss "what strategy for the team we will begin an intensive preparation phase. "

Republicans seem to have thought less. The Ohio representative, Steve Chabot, a senior GOP justice official, said he had not yet begun to prepare and that he expected little to news of the event. He said the Democrats were merely "stalking their tails" and aimed to appease grassroots voters who want to see the majority in the House of Democrats confront the president.

"It's possible that some people may change their minds, but overall, I think it's not likely," Chabot said.

The Judiciary Committee should focus on the second part of Mueller's report, which details several episodes in which Trump attempted to influence the investigation. Mueller said he could not exonerate the president for obstructing justice.

The second-largest intelligence group in the House will focus on the first half of the report, which details Russia's interferences in the presidential election. Mueller said that there was not enough evidence to establish a plot between Russia and the Trump campaign, but clarified several contacts between the two, as well as the will of the Trump campaign. accept Russian help.

According to an agreement reached with the committees, two of Mueller's deputies – James Quarles and Aaron Zebley – are expected to meet with expert groups in separate in camera meetings after Mueller's public hearing. . But this could be jeopardized if the Justice Department rejected the agreement, according to two people familiar with the negotiations. They asked for anonymity to discuss private discussions.

The chairman of the intelligence services panel, Adam Schiff, D-Calif., Said on Tuesday that he would not discuss the details of these negotiations, but that the deputies agreed to appear and that "I do not want to go to court." have no reason to believe that unsuccessful. "

Magistrates are expected to focus on whether Mueller will indicate whether Trump would have been charged with a crime if he had not been president. Jeffries said this response could "go to the heart of why a prosecution or prosecution recommendation was not included in the report".

At a press conference held in May, Mueller said that the charge of a president for a crime was "not an option" because of the long-standing policy of the Ministry of Justice. But Democrats want to know more about how he made that decision and when.

It is unclear whether Mueller will go beyond his previous comments. Mueller, who was reluctant to testify, was firm to stick to what is already in the report.

Some lawmakers say it's okay and just want to reach a wider audience of Americans who fear they have escaped.

"It's not about creating a narrative," said Florida representative Ted Deutch, another Democratic member of the Judiciary Committee. "The story already exists, it just highlights what already exists."

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Michael Balsamo, Associated Press writer, contributed to this report.


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