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Justice Department tells Mueller to limit scope of congressional testimony

What to expect from Mueller's testimony

The Justice Department told former special counsel Robert Mueller to limit his highly anticipated congressional testimony to information contained in the public version of his report on Russian interference in the 2016 election.

In a letter released Monday, Bradley Weinsheimer, an associate deputy attorney general, wrote to Mueller in response to a request for guidance from the department about his testimony before two congressional committees on Wednesday. Weinsheimer reiterated the decision to testify was Mueller's to make.

"Should you testify, the Department understands that testimony regarding the work of the Special Counsel's Office will be governed by the terms you outlined on May 29 — specifically, that the information you discuss during your testimony appears in, and does 'not go beyond,' the public version of your March 22, 2019 report to the Attorney General or your May 29 public statement," Weinsheimer wrote. 

Mueller spoke publicly about his report for the first and only time on May 29, expressing his preference not to testify. His appearance Wednesday comes in response to a subpoena. 

Weinsheimer also said applicable laws and court orders prevented Mueller from discussing material that was redacted in the public version of his report. Notably, Weinsheimer wrote "it is the Department's longstanding policy not to discuss the conduct of uncharged third-parties" and said Mueller, who is no longer a Justice Department employee, must limit his testimony "because matters within the scope of your investigation were covered by executive privilege."

Mueller has prepared an opening statement for Wednesday's hearing before Congress, and it has not reviewed by the Justice Department ahead of time, according to Mueller spokesman Jim Popkin.

His testimony before the House intelligence and judiciary committees begins Wednesday morning, and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler said he expects Mueller to be asked about evidence of wrongdoing on the part of the president that was included in his report.

But the president may not be watching.

"No I'm not going to be watching, probably, maybe I'll see a little bit of it," the president told reporters in the Oval Office Monday. "I'm not going to be watching Mueller because you can't take all those bites out of the apple. We had no collusion, no obstruction. We had no nothing, we had a total no collusion finding. The Democrats were devastated by it they went crazy they've gone off the deep end they're not doing anything they're not doing health care."

Paula Reid contributed to this report.

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