In what appears to be an effort to shift focus away from impeachment, the House Intelligence Committee is set to hold a hearing about Russian election meddling, Newsweek reports.
As chairman of the committee, Democrat Adam Schiff, explained in a statement, the hearing is meant to address the concerns raised in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report. Mueller, who spent more than two years investigating whether the Trump campaign had coordinated with Russia to defeat Hillary Clinton, found no proof of a Trump-Russia conspiracy.
The special counsel’s office, however, detailed “sweeping” Russian election interference efforts, ranging from online disinformation campaigns to hacking attempts. But according to Schiff, Mueller’s report “implicated deep counterintelligence concerns over the potential compromise of U.S. persons,” which will be discussed at the House hearing slated for Wednesday.
Among others, Stephanie Douglas and Robert Anderson, two former FBI officials, will discuss Mueller’s findings and related matters. “Our Committee’s goal will be to explain to the American people the serious counterintelligence concerns raised by the Mueller Report,” Schiff said, adding that the goal of the hearing is to “produce prescriptive remedies” to ensure that no foreign power succeeds in meddling in U.S. elections.
As Newsweek notes, the decision to hold a hearing about the Mueller report appears to be an attempt by the Democrats to shift focus away from impeachment, which Mueller himself had implicitly called for. Pelosi, Schiff, and other top Democrats have refrained from calling for impeachment, however, defying many of their Democratic colleagues.
When Democrats reclaimed the House, most agreed on Pelosi’s strategy. But now it’s becoming ever more clear that impeachment might be the only way to effectively investigate an administration that refuses to cooperate. https://t.co/oqt8eDd4qE— The New Republic (@newrepublic) June 7, 2019
Furthermore, the Democrats have vowed to subpoena Robert Mueller if necessary, which should come as no surprise given that they appear to have dedicated much of their energy to his Russia probe. Mueller said during his impromptu press conference held last week, however, that he would not be testifying — the report, Mueller said, is his testimony.
Schiff’s is not the only House committee to announce a Mueller-related hearing.
As CBS News reported, the House Judiciary Committee will hold a series of hearings as well. According to Chairman Jerry Nadler, the first hearing will feature testimony by Watergate figure John Dean.
House Democrats appear to be pinning their hopes on Mueller yet again. According to Politico, more than 60 Democrats have come out in support of impeachment, but many of them claim getting Mueller to testify publicly is crucial.
Mueller does not want to testify, and the Democrats appear hesitant to subpoena him. Until they do, hearings like Nadler and Schiff’s will have to suffice, it seems.