Aaron Zebley, Deputy Special Counsel during Robert Mueller’s investigation, will be by Mueller’s side during the hearing today. He’s the man that you see sitting next to Mueller during his testimony. Here’s what you need to know about Zebley.
1. Robert Mueller Requested Aaron Zebley To Help Answer Questions Today
Zebley is present to advise Mueller during the hearings, CNN reported. He won’t be answering questions, sources told CNN, but he will be sworn in before the House Intelligence Committee to help Mueller in case he can’t fully answer a question himself.
Mueller requested Zebley’s attendance at the last minute, because Zebley had day-to-day oversight of the investigations, said Jim Popkin, Mueller’s spokesman.
Popkin said that Zebley was Mueller’s deputy special counsel, The New York Times reported. Zebley was also Mueller’s chief of staff while Mueller was FBI director, and worked with him in private practice too.
2. Zebley Worked in Counterterrorism with the FBI for Seven Years
Zebley was a special agent in the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division for seven years. He was a former Assistant U.S. Attorney in the National Security and Terrorism Unit in Alexandria, according to his bio with WilmerHale. He once worked at WilmerHale and was senior counselor in the National Security Division of the Department of Justice. He left WilmerHale to work on the Russia investigation, taking what was likely a large pay cut to do so.
Zebley’s been involved in some major terrorism cases in the past, including helping track down an al-Queda member who was suspected of being responsible for the embassy bombings in East Africa in 1998, Vox reported. Zebley was part of the I-49 team, Wired reported. The group chased Osama bin Laden even before September 11.
3. Zebley Testified that 9/11 Might Have Been Stopped if the ’20th’ Hijacker Had Cooperated Sooner
In 2006, Zebley testified that if Zacarias Moussaoui, the “20th” hijacker arrested in August 2001, had cooperated sooner, 9/11 might have been uncovered before it happened. He said that if the FBI had used information that Moussaoui had, such as his phone records and money transfers, it might have stopped the attacks.
4. Zebley Once Represented Hillary Clinton’s Aide, Justin Cooper
Zebley was the lawyer who represented Hillary Clinton’s aide, Justin Cooper. Cooper played a role in setting up and managing Clinton’s private email server, CNN reported. Zebley himself is a cybersecurity expert, Vox reported.
Zebley represented Cooper in 2015 and 2016 when he was in private practice, Washington Examiner reported. FBI records note that “Cooper did recall two instances where he destroyed Clinton’s old mobile devices by breaking them in half or hitting them with a hammer.”
Cooper testified about Clinton’s server before a House Oversight Committee in September 2016. Cooper had been a White House aide to President Bill Clinton.
Zebley got his law degree in 1996 from the University of Virginia School of Law. His undergraduate degree is from the College of William & Mary.
5. Trump Tweeted that Zebley Was a ‘Never Trumper,’ But Zebler’s Political Affiliation Isn’t Known
President Donald Trump was not happy about the announcement. He tweeted: “Just got back only to hear of a last minute change allowing a Never Trumper attorney to help Robert Mueller with his testimony before Congress tomorrow. What a disgrace to our system. Never heard of this before. VERY UNFAIR, SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED. A rigged Witch Hunt!”
Trump didn’t name Zebley in the tweet, but Zebley was the only person Mueller requested to help during his testimony.
Trump later tweeted: “So Robert Mueller has now asked for his long time Never Trumper lawyer to sit beside him and help with answers. What’s this all about? His lawyer represented the ‘basement server guy’ who got off free in the Crooked Hillary case. This should NOT be allowed. Rigged Witch Hunt!”
Zebler’s political affiliation, however, isn’t actually known. According to Politifact, he’s registered to vote but doesn’t have a listed party affiliation.