Ex-federal prosector: Mueller has authority to expand on his report

Former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE has the authority to go beyond the content of his report during Wednesday's congressional testimony, according to former federal prosecutor Gene Rossi.

“Robert Mueller could expand on a lot of what’s in the report,” Rossi, a self-proclaimed life-long Democrat, told Hill.TV during an interview with "Rising" on Wednesday.

“He has the authority to do that — he has the permission to do that,” Rossi said, adding that he hopes Mueller is “not hesitant” and gives his opinion.

Rossi's remarks follow a report that the Justice Department this week directed Mueller to stick to his 448-page Russia report when he takes questions from lawmakers on Wednesday.

Rossi argued that Attorney General William BarrBill BarrWe haven't seen how low it can go Trump lashes out at Toomey, Romney after Roger Stone clemency criticism GOP senator says Trump commuting Stone was a 'mistake' MORE had already given Mueller the “green light” to offer his commentary, citing Barr’s four-page summary of the Russia report that was released a month before Mueller's findings were made public, minus some redacted portions.

Mueller expressed “frustration” to Barr in late March over what he called a lack of context in the attorney general’s four-page memo describing his investigation’s findings.

When asked about whether going beyond the report would be inappropriate, Rossi said Mueller's testimony presented a “perfect opportunity” for the former special counsel to exercise his duties as a former federal federal prosecutor.

“A prosecutor, under performance of their duties, can disclose grand jury information — I did that all the time,” Rossi told Hill.TV. “I can’t think of a more perfect opportunity for Robert Mueller to perform his duties as a federal prosecutor.”

However, in the days leading up to the highly anticipated testimony, the Justice Department directed Mueller to limit his congressional remarks to the findings already outlined in his report.

“Any testimony must remain within the boundaries of your public report because matters within the scope of your investigation were covered by executive privilege,” Associate Deputy Attorney General Bradley Weinsheimer wrote a letter to Mueller on Monday.

In his opening remarks Wednesday before the House Judiciary Committee, Mueller confirmed that he would abide by the Justice Department’s instructions and limit his testimony to the report.

“The Justice Department has asserted privileges concerning investigative information and decisions, ongoing matters within the Justice Department and deliberations within our office,” Mueller said. “These are Justice Department privileges that I will respect.”

—Tess Bonn