The House intelligence committee will hold a public hearing Wednesday on counterintelligence lessons gleaned from the special counsel’s report into the 2016 election, kicking off Mueller week on Capitol Hill.
While Robert Mueller won’t be testifying, Democrats will begin ramping up their focus his two years of work investigating President Trump, as they begin to lay the ground for possible impeachment.
Matters will kick off Monday in the Judiciary Committee, which has its first “lessons learned” hearing looking at presidential obstruction. The key witness will be John Dean, who was White House counsel under President Nixon, who resigned as impeachment was ramping up in 1974.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff on Friday added his own hearing to the list, scheduling a Wednesday meeting to hear from former FBI national security branch directors.
“Our committee’s goal will be to explain to the American people the serious counterintelligence concerns raised by the Mueller Report, examine the depth and breadth of the unethical and unpatriotic conduct it describes, and produce prescriptive remedies to ensure that this never happens again,” Mr. Schiff said.
The hearings are not being done under color of impeachment, though an increasing number of Democrats view them as the precursor.
Rep. Doug Collins, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, said Friday he’s worried the Monday meeting could spiral out of control with anti-Trump rhetoric.
In a letter to Chairman Jerrold Nadler he said House rules generally prohibit impugning a president’s ethics, motives, integrity patriotism or loyalty.
Those rules are relaxed if the House is pursuing impeachment of a president, because that necessarily involves accusations of wrongdoing and lawbreaking.
But Mr. Collins said until Democrats begin impeachment, their anti-Trump sentiments aren’t allowed.
Even the title of Monday’s hearing, “Lessons from the Mueller Report: Presidential Obstruction and Other Crimes,” treads the line, Mr. Collins said.
The Georgia Republican said he’s let things slide in recent weeks, but made clear that’s over.
During a debate on immigration in the House chamber earlier this week Mr. Collins asked the chair to admonish lawmakers who accused Mr. Trump of “racist” behavior or “xenophobic threats.”
Rep. Pete Aguilar, the Democrat presiding in the speaker’s chair for the debate, warned members to “refrain from engaging in personalities toward the president,” but would not deem their remarks out of bounds.
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