House Intel to hold public hearing on counterintelligence implications of Mueller report

House Intel to hold public hearing on counterintelligence implications of Mueller report
© Greg Nash

The House Intelligence Committee plans to hold a public hearing on the counterintelligence implications of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerSpeier says impeachment inquiry shows 'very strong case of bribery' by Trump Gowdy: I '100 percent' still believe public congressional hearings are 'a circus' Comey: Mueller 'didn't succeed in his mission because there was inadequate transparency' MORE’s report next Wednesday featuring testimony from former FBI officials.

The hearing will feature testimony from Stephanie Douglas and Robert Anderson, two former FBI officials who worked in the bureau’s national security branch, the panel announced Friday. It will be the first in a series of hearings the committee plans to hold on Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and links between President TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP divided over impeachment trial strategy Official testifies that Bolton had 'one-on-one meeting' with Trump over Ukraine aid Louisiana governor wins re-election MORE’s campaign and Moscow.

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Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffGOP divided over impeachment trial strategy READ: Top NSC aide Tim Morrison's closed-door impeachment inquiry testimony Top NSC aide puts Sondland at front lines of Ukraine campaign, speaking for Trump MORE (D-Calif.) said Friday the goal of the hearing 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.” 

The announcement comes as the House Judiciary Committee is also planning a series of hearings focused on Trump’s potentially obstructive acts as detailed in the second volume of Mueller’s report.

Both committees have separately sought testimony from Mueller himself, but no deal has been announced by either committee. Mueller delivered rare public remarks on his investigation’s findings last week and signaled he did not want to testify publicly before Congress.

Schiff said earlier this week that the committee planned to hold hearings on the Mueller report but did not provide dates or a list of potential witnesses.

Douglas and Anderson, the witnesses at Wednesday’s hearing, are both former executive assistant directors of the FBI’s national security branch. The committee said future hearings will feature appearances from fact-based witnesses, national security experts and other individuals connected to Mueller’s investigation.

Both the Judiciary and Intelligence committees have also issued separate subpoenas for Mueller’s full report and underlying evidence as part of their investigations into Trump and his administration.

The Justice Department has thus far failed to satisfy the committees’ demands for Mueller’s full, unredacted report after Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrBarr defends Trump's use of executive authority, slams impeachment hearings GOP eager for report on alleged FBI surveillance abuse DOJ watchdog won't let witnesses submit written feedback on investigation into Russia probe: report MORE released it with roughly 10 percent redacted back in April. The full House plans to vote next week on a civil contempt resolution allowing Judiciary Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerHouse to vote on bill to ensure citizenship for children of overseas service members As impeachment goes public, forget 'conventional wisdom' What this 'impeachment' is really about — and it's not the Constitution MORE (D-N.Y.) to go to court to enforce the subpoena.

Meanwhile, the House Intelligence Committee reached an agreement with the Justice Department for the foreign intelligence and counterintelligence materials collected in the course of the investigation that the panel also sought in its subpoena. Schiff said at a Council on Foreign Relations event on Tuesday that the Justice Department had begun producing the materials “on a rolling basis.”

Schiff has signaled particular interest in finding out more about the original counterintelligence probe that proceeded Mueller’s investigation, saying that he has been unable to get an answer from the intelligence community as to what became of it.

Wednesday's hearing will come nearly two months after the release of Mueller’s report. Mueller’s closing documentation provided an exhaustive account of contacts between associates and members of the Trump campaign and the Kremlin, as well as episodes the special counsel examined as possible obstruction by Trump.

Mueller indicted or obtained guilty pleas from six Trump associates for various crimes in the course of the investigation, but did not find sufficient evidence to charge members or associates of the Trump campaign in a conspiracy with Russia to interfere in the election. Trump has seized on the findings as vindicating him of allegations of Russia "collusion," while lambasting the Democrat-led investigations as efforts to score political points against him ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

“Since the release of the Mueller report, the American public has learned much about the President's conduct, his campaign's interactions with Russia and that nation's interference in our election and affairs,” Schiff said in a statement Friday. “The evidence has been both criminal and non-criminal, and implicated deep counterintelligence concerns over the potential compromise of U.S. persons.” 

Mueller also did not reach a conclusion on whether Trump obstructed justice, though Barr later reviewed the evidence and deemed it insufficient to accuse Trump of a crime.