The House Judiciary Committee announced Tuesday that next week it will hear public testimony from a Justice Department antitrust official and from a former member of special counsel Robert Mueller’s team.
The two officials, John Elias and Aaron Zelinsky, will describe the “unprecedented politicization of the Department under President Trump and Attorney General William Barr,” according to the committee press release.
Zelinsky, an assistant U.S. States attorney in Maryland, stayed at the Justice Department after the Mueller probe closed shop and continued to lead the Roger Stone prosecution. He withdrew from Stone’s case as the Justice Department, under Barr’s direction, sought to water down the sentencing recommendation that he and the other career prosecutors on the case had filed. A committee staffer confirmed to the New York Times that Zelinsky will testify about the Stone sentencing fiasco.
Less is clear about the subject of Elias’ testimony. He is a career official in the antitrust division, according to the New York Times, and also has served as acting chief of staff to Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim, who led the DOJ’s front office, according to a 2018 DOJ web page. In a statement, Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler said that Elias can describe “improperly motivated activity by the Antitrust Division.”
They were subpoenaed for their testimony, according to the release, and the hearing is currently scheduled for June 24.
Joining them for the hearing is former U.S. Deputy Attorney General Donald Ayer, who was Barr’s deputy when Barr led the George H.W. Bush Justice Department. Ayer has been publicly critical of some the actions Barr has taken as President Trump’s attorney general.
A Justice Department spokesperson declined to comment. It is unclear whether the Department will take action to block or limit the testimony of the two current DOJ officials.