Mueller makes last-minute ask to swear in deputy for hearing

The Justice Department instructed former special counsel Robert Mueller in a letter Monday not to answer a wide variety of questions about his investigation of the president and Russian interference in the 2016 election - a fresh indication of how hard it may be to extract any new information or insights about the high-profile investigation when he testifies to Congress on Wednesday.

Trump and U.S. Attorney General William Barr, meanwhile, have raised questions about whether "spying did occur" on the Trump campaign and the origins of the investigation.

The committee's top Republican, Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, accused Democrats of adding "a surprise witness" and said that allowing Zebley to testify would be a "unprecedented decision to allow a witness's counsel to both advise him privately and simultaneously testify alongside him".

"Any testimony from this office would not go beyond our report", Mueller stated in his only public remarks in May. On Wednesday, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said committees were looking into any abuse of power Trump may have engaged in, including obstruction of justice. "Because the administration must be held accountable and no president can be above the law".

The letter defines potential executive-privilege-covered matters to include "information protected by law enforcement, deliberative process, attorney work product, and presidential communication privileges".

Mueller will nearly certainly be pressed about tensions with Attorney General William Barr over the way his report was handled and how the Justice Department communicated its findings to the public, including the attorney general's decision to exonerate the president even when the special counsel pointedly did not do so.

A spokesman for Mueller has not responded to requests for comment.

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In a report of the investigation, Mueller said that his team was unable to establish that any Trump associates conspired with the Russian government to influence the election.

When is Robert Mueller's testimony? "Charging the president with a crime was, therefore, not an option we could consider".

Mueller is scheduled to testify before the House Judiciary Committee for three hours and before the House Intelligence Committee for two hours Wednesday.

Expecting Mueller to stray outside his report and drop scintillating details you've never heard before? He will then appear before the House Intelligence Committee at noon, in a hearing that is expected to last about two hours.

Efforts to release the full, unredacted Mueller report may also increase.

If recent history is any guide, Robert Mueller's much-anticipated Capitol Hill appearance on Wednesday will fizzle into a mix of political grandstanding by the questioners and frustratingly narrow answers from the star witness. Forty-one percent said they thought his campaign "probably" did.

"That is unconstitutional", Mueller said during a press conference in May.

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