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Judiciary committee butts heads over witnesses in Mueller report hearing

By Clyde Hughes & Danielle Haynes

June 20 (UPI) -- Republicans on the House judiciary committee criticized Democrats for holding a hearing on the Mueller report Thursday to question experts who had no direct knowledge of the special counsel probe.

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., said Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., wasted the time of the committee by calling the witnesses, which included Carrie Cordero of the Center for a New American Security; Richard Hasen of the University of California, Irvine School of Law; Alina Polyakova of the Brookings Institution; and Saikrishna Prakash of the University of Virginia School of Law.

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"Do any of the witnesses here have personal knowledge of the truth or falsity of a single material fact in the report," Gaetz questioned the panel of experts. "No witnesses have raised their hands."

Gaetz asked Nadler if he planned to subpoena special counsel Robert Mueller to testify about the report. Mueller has indicated he does not wish to face questioning from Congress about the investigation.

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Nadler refused to answer whether he plans to issue a subpoena.

He defended his decision to call Thursday's witnesses, citing efforts by the White House to prevent witnesses with firsthand knowledge, such as former White House counsel Don McGahn, from appearing before committees.

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"The person over whom the White House can assert no privilege is Robert Mueller," Gaetz said.

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Nadler also bickered with Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, over whether the so-called Steele dossier -- a report compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele -- was what led to the Mueller investigation.

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