In a column for Bloomberg (subscription required) Jonathan Bernstein suggested that House Democrats who have finally convinced special counsel Robert Mueller to answer questions in two public hearings in July shouldn't expect any bombshells -- but they may not need any major revelations to expand investigations into President Donald Trump.
According to Bernstein, the benefit of getting the reticent Mueller on national TV is two-fold: To allow the public to hear directly from him how his investigation was conducted and to allow lawmakers to ask carefully-worded questions that might elicit important information that may open new avenues of Congressional investigations.
As he writes, "For one thing, the hearings are certain to draw serious media attention, which at least gives Democrats a high-profile way to illustrate the report’s main findings – which are far more damning than Trump’s “no collusion, no obstruction” mantra suggests. Because of the way information now spreads, the testimony could have a greater impact than the publication of the report itself."
However, he notes, the Democrats need to have a disciplined game plan going in so their time is not wasted by members who want to grandstand for the cameras.
"What the Democrats should do is eliminate the standard practice of giving each committee member five minutes for questions. Instead, they should designate a small number of questioners to pursue different topics, then lengthen the blocks of time allotted to each party (perhaps to half-hour stretches)," he suggested. "That would give each questioner time to develop their points, instead of rushing through a random series of questions. It would also discourage lawmakers from trying to produce attention-grabbing sound bites to get themselves onto the news."
Bernstein offered that, by narrowing down specific lines of questioning, Democratic lawmakers might reap important information that could help their own investigators.
"Even if there are no bombshell revelations during the hearing, the House could wind up with new leads to follow in its own investigations," he wrote -- including more information on Russian involvement in the 2016 election that helped propel Trump to the Oval Office
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