Democrats were handed a loss after nearly two years of having a special counsel investigate President Trump only for the investigation to turn up empty-handed. No collusion. No obstruction.
Despite Special Counsel Robert Mueller doing his best to dodge the mainstream media spotlight and to keep from politicizing his near two-year investigation, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler claims Mueller now does want to testify.
But Mueller wants to keep the testimony behind closed doors, the Washington Examiner reports.
“We want him to come in and testify,” Nadler said during an MSNBC interview. “Mueller, I think I can say at this point, that he wants to testify in private.”
When pressed on why Mueller doesn’t want to speak publicly, Nadler said, “I don’t know why.”
Nadler later said he was speculating but guessed that Mueller did not want to be part of a political spectacle.
“We’d see a transcript,” Nadler said when asked if the public would hear Mueller’s answers to the committee’s questions. Nadler said there would also be a public opening statement by Mueller.
Mueller’s lengthy report on his team’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election was released with redactions, but congressional Democrats are pushing the Justice Department for full access.
According to the report, Nadler initially formally summoned Mueller to testify by Thursday, May 23, but has delayed that order.
“I don’t know why the Radical Left Democrats want Bob Mueller to testify when he just issued a 40 Million Dollar Report that states, loud & clear & for all to hear, No Collusion and No Obstruction (how do you Obstruct a NO crime?)” Trump tweeted on Friday morning. “Dems are just looking for trouble and a Do-Over!”
A potential Mueller testimony comes amid a growing effort by House Democrats to formally and officially begin filing articles of impeachment, Politico reports:
The shift in focus comes as Speaker Nancy Pelosi grapples with a growing chorus of Democrats — including many Judiciary Committee members — who are eager to see the House formally launch impeachment proceedings against the president, citing Trump’s resistance to their myriad investigations targeting his administration and his personal finances.
“We can’t just impeach based on allegations in the Mueller report or proof that’s cited in the Mueller report, and then take that over to the Senate for the trial. We’ve got to compile that record meticulously,” Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), a senior member of the Judiciary Committee, said in an interview.
“It may appear to be slow and coming without any immediate gratifying result. But nonetheless, that is what we must do,” Johnson acknowledged.
The Washington Post reports the tweet signals a “shift in posture” for Trump:
President Trump sharply questioned Friday why Democrats want special counsel Robert S. Mueller III to testify before Congress, a shift in posture from earlier this month when he said he would let Attorney General William P. Barr decide if Mueller should appear.
Trump voiced his opinion in a morning tweet that also significantly mischaracterized the findings of Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Asked at a White House event on May 9 whether he would let Mueller testify, Trump said: “I’m going to leave that up to our very great attorney general.” Barr has said that he has no objections to Mueller personally testifying.