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- Democrats on multiple House committees want to haul in former FBI Director Robert Mueller to testify on his findings in the special counsel probe.
- The House Judiciary Committee has been trying to bring Mueller in, but have delayed attempts over multiple roadblocks.
- According to a recent survey from Morning Consult and Politico, 56% of voters want to hear from Mueller directly.
- Attorney General William Barr has expressed openness to allowing Mueller to testify, while President Donald Trump has rejected it.
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WASHINGTON – Both the House committees on Intelligence and the Judiciary are making moves to have former FBI Director Robert Mueller testify on his team’s findings in the special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
But so far, it has proven to be an uphill battle, as both committees have faced multiple roadblocks to obtaining documents and the testimony of other witnesses, leaving it open-ended as to when, if at all, Mueller will come in for what could be one of the largest blockbuster congressional hearings in recent history.
The House Judiciary Committee had been planning to bring Mueller in for a hearing on Wednesday, but failed to reach an agreement. Mueller is still technically an employee of the Justice Department, leaving many decisions in the hands of Attorney General William Barr.
Barr suggested he would be open to letting Mueller testify. In addition, the Daily Beast reported Mueller has indicated willingness to testify, according to committee Democrats.
Many Republicans are also seeking Mueller’s testimony. Before the final special counsel report had even been released to the public or Congress, Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, the ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, asked Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler to push for Mueller to testify.
“If you seek both transparency and for the American public to learn the full contours of the Special Counsel’s investigation, public testimony from Special Counsel Mueller himself is undoubtedly the best way to accomplish this goal,” Collins wrote in an April 8 letter to Nadler.
And polling suggests Americans want Mueller to testify. According to a recent survey from Morning Consult and Politico, 56% of voters want to hear from Mueller directly.
Who is standing in the way of Mueller testifying?
While Barr has expressed openness to allowing Mueller to testify, President Donald Trump has explicitly said he should not.
“Are they looking for a redo because they hated seeing the strong NO COLLUSION conclusion? There was no crime, except on the other side (incredibly not covered in the Report), and NO OBSTRUCTION,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “Bob Mueller should not testify. No redos for the Dems!”
The committee is also seeking materials and other witness testimony before talking to Mueller. Democrats have subpoenaed for the entire, unredacted Mueller report, which Barr has declined to provide, prompting them to draft and pass a criminal contempt resolution.
While the contempt resolution for Barr has yet to receive a full vote on the House floor, Democrats are potentially looking at another contempt resolution related to their probe of the Mueller report and whether or not Trump obstructed justice.
The Judiciary Committee has subpoenaed former White House counsel Don McGahn to testify, setting a May 21 deadline. If he refuses to show due to being blocked by the White House, Nadler is prepared to hold him in contempt of Congress.
Other top Republicans have dismissed the idea of hearing from Mueller, including Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham.
“I’m not going to do anymore,” Graham told reporters on Capitol Hill. “Enough already. It’s over.”
Graham did write a letter to Mueller asking him if he would like to clarify anything regarding a phone call between him and Barr about the summary of the Mueller report.
It’s not just House Judiciary that wants to bring in Mueller
The House Intelligence Committee is prepared to bring Mueller in for testimony, according to its chairman, Rep. Adam Schiff of California.
“I am convinced it’s going to happen. That is inexorable,” he said in an ABC News interview. “The American people have every right to hear what the man who did the investigation has to say and we now know we certainly can’t rely on the attorney general who misrepresented his conclusions… so he is going to testify.”
Schiff has also written a letter to Mueller asking him to agree to a date for testimony sometime in May.
But these committees keep facing more obstacles, especially from a White House with no interest in litigating the Russia probe any further. For Trump and his closest allies, the issue is “case closed.”