Mueller Report Hearing Included Witnesses Who Served At Obama DOJ At Start Of Russia Probe

Mueller Report Hearing Included Witnesses Who Served At Obama DOJ At Start Of Russia Probe 1 NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

WASHINGTON—The House Judiciary Committee hearing Monday related to the Mueller report findings, where Watergate witness John Dean appeared, included two additional witnesses for the Democrats who previously worked for the Obama Justice Department at the time of the Russia probe.

Joyce White Vance was nominated by President Obama as the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama from 2009 to 2017.
Barbara McQuade was also nominated by Obama in 2010 as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan until 2017.

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“My Democratic colleagues have called three witnesses two of those witnesses were part of the Obama Justice Department when it started the false conspiracy allegation to opine against the very same target of the false conspiracy investigation and the third witness is Mr. Dean,” Texas Republican Rep. John Ratcliffe said.

Arizona Republican Rep. Debbie Lesko called the hearing a “total joke.”

Ratcliffe also pointed out that since Dean was disbarred since his conviction after Watergate, he was legally prohibited from giving his opinion about obstruction.

The title of the hearing was “Lessons from the Mueller Report: Presidential Obstruction and Other Crimes.” The witnesses gave their opinions about why the findings in the 448-page report support the Democrats’ case that the president obstructed justice, but much time was also devoted to criticizing and defending the credibility and quality of the witnesses themselves.

Ranking committee member Doug Collins noted that the witnesses were never part of the Mueller investigation and likely knew as much about the probe as the members themselves did. He added that their value as witnesses was no better than TV pundits who appear on cable news programs.

Dean, himself, is a CNN contributor who Collins mentioned could give his testimony on television and his presence at the hearing Monday was unnecessary. Referencing President Obama’s jab at Mitt Romney during the 2012 presidential campaign, when Romney warned about the Russian threat, Collins said:

“Before, President Obama said, ‘You know, the 80s are asking for their foreign policy back.’ Well, guess what? This committee is now hearing from the ’70s and they want their star witness back.”

Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert grilled Dean, who called for the impeachment of George W. Bush and accused other Republicans of being worse than Richard Nixon.

“There are similarities, you’re right, with regard to Watergate,” Gohmert said. “In both, an administration was seeking to illegally spy on another candidate. In both, people were hired to attempt to gather evidence that could be used against a candidate. In Watergate, the Committee to Reelect the President hired burglars to break into the DNC headquarters. In Watergate, administration officials tried to find ways to use federal dollars to pay for their criminal spying.”

Mueller Report Hearing Included Witnesses Who Served At Obama DOJ At Start Of Russia Probe 2
Photo by Pete Souza/The White House via Getty Images

At one point Gohmert asked Dean if he ordered the Watergate break-in to which Dean answered, “no.”

“Since Watergate, Dean has solidified himself as an unethical political opportunist who hasn’t met a recent Republican president who he didn’t want to impeach,” an RNC spokesman said in a statement when the hearing began. “Yet, Democrats want him to testify before the House. For what reason? No one really knows.”

Arizona Republican Rep. Debbie Lesko called the hearing a “total joke.”

“This is supposed to be a hearing supposedly previewing the Mueller report but they have witnesses that they brought forward that have been totally outspoken slamming the president of the United States. These are such biased witnesses,” she said.

Republican members pointed out that the Democratic witnesses’ own tweets made their testimony unreliable.

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Vance,  an MSNBC contributor, had made many biased tweets against the president, in fact.  One such tweet Vance made was on May 20 when she compared President Trump to a Mob boss.

Former U.S. attorney and MSNBC legal analyst Barbara McQuade had her own tweets scrutinized by Republicans as well.

Democrats read excerpts from the 448 page report and asked McQuade, Vance, and Dean their reactions to these excerpts.

Both McQuade and Vance came to similar conclusions saying that the Mueller report did not have the legal ability to indict Trump on any charges, but it left the job for Congress to impeach him instead.