On July 24, former special counsel Robert Mueller will testify before the House Judiciary Committee and the House Intelligence Committee and it promises to be quite a show. The investigator will be answering questions about his two-part, 448-page investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential elections and president Donald Trump’s efforts to thwart that probe. Broadcasters are expecting millions of viewers.
While Mueller is famously circumspect and has already warned that the report is his testimony—that he won’t go beyond it—lawmakers who are hoping to find out once and for all whether Trump obstructed justice will surely try to push the former prosecutor to spill the beans, or more beans than his voluminous report already did. News networks are planning extensive coverage of the hearings, the first of which is with the judiciary committee and begins at 8:30 a.m.
C-SPAN 3 will begin its live coverage at 8 a.m. Coverage will continue through the day, including any press conferences that follow the mid-day hearing with the intelligence committee. Most news networks, including NBC, Fox, and CBS are planning to begin live coverage at 8:15 a.m. ABC News’ programming is scheduled to begin along with the hearing at 8:30 a.m.
The judiciary committee plans to focus on particular allegations that Trump obstructed justice from the report’s second section. Specifically, members will ask about Trump’s reported request that then-White House counsel Don McGahn fire Mueller and, subsequently, his effort to get McGahn to falsify the record by denying this happened; allegations that Trump asked his former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, to instruct then-attorney general Jeff Sessions to limit the investigation; Trump’s reported promise to pardon his former campaign manager Paul Manafort for any criminal convictions arising from his campaign activities; and allegations of witness tampering.
“The [Mueller] report presents very substantial evidence that the president is guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors and we have to present—or let Mueller present those facts to the American people and then see where we go from there,” judiciary committee chairman Jerrold Nadler told Fox News Sunday. “Because the administration must be held accountable and no president can be above the law.”
The intelligence committee hearing will begin at noon and Mueller’s staff is expected to testify in a private session following the public hearing, although it’s not clear whether Mueller will remain for the closed-door meeting.
C-SPAN 3 will stream the live hearing online here. The television news networks will livestream their coverage on YouTube.
C-SPAN 1 will show the morning hearing again at 11 a.m and 8 p.m. The networks will include highlight in their analyses, which will likely go on for days, if not weeks, following the hearings.
While the talking heads mull what Mueller says, and doesn’t say, politicians are planning to go on summer break shortly after the hearings, which means that there may be no official decisions about what, if anything, to do about the special counsel’s findings until both the House and Senate resume work in September. The Senate will be in session until Aug. 2, but the House breaks on July 28. Both chambers will be back in session on Sept. 9.
Trump, for his part, said he does not intend to watch the testimony. In a tweet on July 22 he alluded to his conviction that Mueller had conflicts of interest that should have barred him from being appointed to head the investigation (a claim discredited by the Department of Justice). He wrote, “Highly conflicted Robert Mueller should not be given another bite at the apple. In the end it will be bad for him and the phony Democrats in Congress who have done nothing but waste time on this ridiculous Witch Hunt. Result of the Mueller Report, NO COLLUSION, NO OBSTRUCTION!…”