Special Counsel Robert Mueller speaks in the Justice Department, May 29, 2019
Robert Mueller, the Special Counsel who led the Trump-Russia investigation, has agreed to testify in public before Congress next month.
House Democrats said Tuesday that Mueller will appear on July 17 before the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees.
Mueller, whose report was published in April after almost two years of collection of evidence, has resisted testifying. On May 29, in his only public statement during and after the investigation, he said that the 448-page report should speak for itself.
But the two committees issued subpoenas, and Mueller accepted them.
The committee chairmen, Reps. Jerrold Nadler and Adam Schiff, wrote to Mueller on Tuesday:
The American public deserves to hear directly from you about your investigation and conclusions. We will work with you to address legitimate concerns about preserving the integrity of your work, but we expect that you will appear before our committees as scheduled.
Donald Trump issued his template reply on Twitter:
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 26, 2019
The Mueller Report found “numerous contacts” between Russian officials and Trump’s 2016 campaign and transition, but said that they did not constitute a criminal conspiracy. The Special Counsel and his team concluded that in 8 of 10 cases, there was evidence for Trump’s obstruction or attempted obstruction of justice; however, Mueller did not press charges because the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel said a sitting President cannot be indicted.
But Trump’s Attorney General William Barr, appointed in February, has tried to limit and even bury the report. He pre-empted it with statements insisting that it established “No Collusion” and that there was no substantial evidence of obstruction of justice.
The White House has tried to hold the line against any damage to Trump by ordering witnesses not to comply with subpoenas from House committees.
Schiff and Nadler said in a joint statement:
Americans have demanded to hear directly from the special counsel so they can understand what he and his team examined, uncovered, and determined about Russia’s attack on our democracy, the Trump campaign’s acceptance and use of that help, and President Trump and his associates’ obstruction of the investigation into that attack.
Schiff told reporters that he expects the House Intelligence Committee to meet privately with Mueller’s staff, after the Special Counsel’s testimony, to answer additional questions about classified portions of the report.