Former special counsel Robert Mueller agreed to testify before the House judiciary and intelligence committees on July 17 following two subpoenas issued on Tuesday. Democrats claim they want Mueller’s first testimony after his 22-month investigation of President Donald Trump to satisfy Americans’ questions.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler said in a letter to Mueller, “The American public deserves to hear directly from you about your investigations and conclusions.”
The subpoenas issued come after two months of negotiations between the committees and Mueller. Mueller initially expressed cooperation with lawmakers’ questions in private, but in a press statement one month ago said he was reluctant to publicly testify. His 448-page report was sufficient testimony, he said, and he “would not provide information beyond that which is already public in any appearance before Congress.”
But the Democrats wanted a public testimony.
“We will subpoena him if we have to,” Nadler said in a CNN interview in May.
Nadler and Schiff expressed in their letter to Mueller they understood his hesitations of speaking publicly about his criminal investigation. They also understood that Mueller said the report should speak for itself.
Nevertheless, Nadler and Schiff said in a joint statement Tuesday, “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.”
If Mueller constrains his testimony to the contents of his report, Democrats seeking to build their case for Trump’s impeachment may have subpoenaed for naught. If Mueller does disclose secret details that could lead to impeachment, then maybe the report did not truly “speak for itself” after all.