One of the top Democrats in Congress said that he’s confident that special counsel Robert Mueller will testify before Congress soon despite Mueller’s recently expressed reluctance to keep speaking about his team’s report into 2016 election interference.
“Let’s just say that I’m confident he’ll come in soon,” House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) told NBC, an openly anti-President Donald Trump network, when asked about the latest status of Mueller’s possible testimony.
If Mueller doesn’t come in soon, then a subpoena is on the table, Nadler added. And he does not want Mueller to testify in private.
“He has said … he’s willing to come and testify, make an opening statement and then testify only behind closed doors. We’re not willing to do that,” Nadler said. “We want him to testify openly. I think the American people need that. I think, frankly, it’s his duty to the American people. And we’ll make that happen.”
Democrats want to speak to Mueller about the report his team submitted that examined whether Trump’s team colluded with Russia to win the 2016 presidential election. Mueller said his team could not establish conspiracy or cooperation between Trump or his team and Russian actors, puncturing a long-held theory promoted by the opposition party and a slew of media outlets, including NBC.
When Trump objected to the yearslong investigation against him, Mueller’s team tried exploring the objections as possible obstruction of justice. The team made the unusual decision not to say whether obstruction occurred, prompting Attorney General William Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to examine the evidence and conclude it didn’t conclusively show obstruction.
Mueller has been reluctant to speak about the report, finally appearing at the Department of Justice on May 29 to read a written statement and saying he wished never to speak again in public about the work.
“There has been discussion about an appearance before Congress. Any testimony from this office would not go beyond our report. It contains our findings and analysis, and the reasons for the decisions we made. We chose those words carefully, and the work speaks for itself,” he said.
Nadler’s latest comments come days after the House Judiciary Committee announced it would hold a series of hearing about the report, with or without Mueller.
“Russia attacked our elections to help President Trump win, Trump and his campaign welcomed this help, and the President then tried to obstruct the investigation into the attack. Mueller confirmed these revelations and has now left Congress to pick up where he left off,” Nadler said in a statement on June 3.
“No one is above the law. While the White House continues to cover up and stonewall, and to prevent the American people from knowing the truth, we will continue to move forward with our investigation. These hearings will allow us to examine the findings laid out in Mueller’s report so that we can work to protect the rule of law and protect future elections through consideration of legislative and other remedies.”
The first hearing will take place on June 10 and include former White House Counsel John Dean, in addition to former U.S. attorneys and legal experts, the committee said in a press release.
The committee previously tried to get Attorney General William Barr to appear and answer questions on May 2, but he declined, leading to the committee passing a resolution holding him in contempt. On May 20, former White House Counsel Don McGahn declined to appear before the committee.
The committee issued subpoenas for former White House communications director Hope Hicks and former chief of staff for McGahn, Annie Donaldson, on May 21. A White House lawyer told Nadler in a June 4 letter that neither could provide documents.
“Ms. Talley and Ms. Hicks do not have the legal right to disclose the White House records to third parties,” White House counsel Pat Cipollone wrote. “I would ask that the Committee direct any request for such records to the White House, the appropriate legal custodian.”