Zebley can be there to advise Mueller, however the particular counsel would be the just one answering the committee questions, the supply mentioned. Democrats solely plan to swear in Mueller as a witness.
Mueller made the last-minute request to have his deputy sworn in for Wednesday’s blockbuster hearings earlier than the Judiciary and Intelligence Committees on the Mueller report, in case he wanted to assist with any questions the particular counsel couldn’t totally reply himself, in keeping with a supply accustomed to the matter.
Republicans on the Home Judiciary committee instantly raised issues that Democrats had been making a serious, last-minute change to the listening to to have Zebley to testify alongside the particular counsel, much less 24 hours earlier than the hearings are scheduled to start.
The prospect that Mueller’s deputy might seem alongside the particular counsel is a last-minute twist in one of the crucial extremely anticipated hearings in years. Even when Zebley was there simply as a counsel to assist Mueller, it might nonetheless change the dynamic of Mueller’s testimony Wednesday earlier than the committees.
The Justice Division objected to Zebley or any others testifying alongside Mueller as a result of it wasn’t approved, in keeping with an individual accustomed to the matter. The division’s follow usually precludes line attorneys from testifying.
However the backside line is that Zebley and plenty of others who had been on Mueller’s workers are non-public residents now, and the Justice Division can not do a lot aside from object.
A spokesman for Mueller has not responded to requests for remark.
Democrats have pushed to listen to from Zebley together with one other Mueller deputy, James Quarles, behind closed doorways after Mueller testified. However the Division of Justice additionally resisted that request, and Lawyer Common William Barr mentioned he would oppose a subpoena if Congress tried to compel their testimony.
The committee’s prime Republican, Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, accused Democrats of including “a shock witness” and mentioned that permitting Zebley to testify could be a “unprecedented resolution to permit a witness’s counsel to each advise him privately and concurrently testify alongside him.”
“If Democrats consider it’s the particular counsel’s accountability to testify to his report, they don’t have any floor for outsourcing that obligation on the expense of our committee’s integrity,” Collins mentioned within the assertion.
Zebley has lengthy been an aide by Mueller’s aspect, serving Mueller’s chief of workers when he was FBI director. He additionally labored with Mueller on the non-public legislation agency Wilmer Hale earlier than becoming a member of his staff after Mueller was appointed particular counsel.
This story has been up to date with extra developments Tuesday.