Republican lawmakers plan to derail the highly anticipated hearing where special counsel Robert Mueller will testify on his investigation of President Donald Trump.
The president's GOP allies in the U.S. House of Representatives are signaling that they intend to undermine Mueller's credibility and seek to portray him as a biased operative leading a "coup" against Trump, reported Politico.
“He’s done some irreparable damage to some things and he’s got to answer for them,” said Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), who will take part in back-to-back hearings of the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees.
The Texas Republican said the special counsel's report did not change his long-held negative opinion of the FBI director.
“It reinforced the anal opening that I believe Mueller to be,” Gohmert said, using an apparent euphemism to slur Mueller.
Some of the president's top allies in Congress -- Reps. Jim Jordan (OH), Matt Gaetz (FL), Devin Nunes (CA) and Andy Biggs (AZ) -- will take part in the hearings, and they intend to steer the subject away from Mueller's findings, which Democrats hope to present to a public that has largely not read the report.
“It becomes reader’s theatre,” said Biggs, who sits the Judiciary Committee.
Biggs said he hopes the hearing backfires on Democrats, and Jordan said he plans to keep the focus on the investigators themselves, and not their findings.
“The obvious question is the one that everyone in the country wants to know: when did you first know there was no conspiracy, coordination or collusion?” Jordan said. “How much longer did it take Bob Mueller to figure that out? Did he intentionally wait until after 2018 midterms, or what?”
Jordan has a line of questioning prepared about FBI agents Lisa Page and Peter Strzok, who Mueller removed from his team after learning of text messages the pair exchanged that were critical of Trump ahead of the election.
“How did he handle all that? What did he ask Mr. Strzok?” Jordan said he would ask. “Did he really check into how biased he was and how it impacted his work? I think that’s a pretty good line of questioning.”
However, those who know Mueller doubt that Republicans will rattle the former FBI director.
“He gets impatient, agitated, and he’s not one who abides fools lightly," Michael Zeldin, who served under Mueller in the Justice Department's Criminal Division. But I can’t imagine the GOP questioning will make him nervous, because there’s there nothing to expose."