Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) said Sunday that he will grant Democrats’ request to have former special counsel Robert Mueller testify about his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election before the committee.
Graham’s surprising statement came a day after Mueller broke his silence to defend his office’s prosecution of President Trump’s longtime friend Roger Stone in an op-ed published by the Washington Post.
Stone was convicted of crimes that included lying to Congress, prosecutors alleged, to protect the president, but had his sentence commuted by the president just days before he was set to report to federal prison. Mueller wrote in his op-ed that Stone is still a convicted felon and “rightly so.”
“Apparently Mr. Mueller is willing – and also capable – of defending the Mueller investigation through an oped in the Washington Post,” Graham tweeted. “Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee have previously requested Mr. Mueller appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee to testify about his investigation. That request will be granted.”
Graham had previously expressed that he was “done with the Mueller report,” echoing the sentiments of many Republicans who have said it’s time to move on from the investigation, while Democrats have pushed to have Mueller testify before the committee. But during a Judiciary Committee meeting last month, Graham shifted in saying it is “not an unreasonable request” to have somebody from Mueller’s team come before the committee.
“I’m not adverse to having somebody from the Mueller team come and tell the committee what they did and how they did it, as a matter of fact I think that’s a really good idea. I’m not so sure Mr. Mueller would be the best person now,” Graham said. He later added that he would call Mueller, if that’s what the committee wanted, but he implored members to “think twice about that.”
But Democrats have expressed skepticism of Graham’s intentions.
“I suspect all Lindsey Graham wants to do is continue his counterfactual, that is that Donald Trump was somehow the victim when Donald Trump was the one inviting Russians to help him get elected in the first place,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Representative Adam Schiff (D., Calif.) said in an appearance on CNN.
In the op-ed, Mueller, who had remained silent since he testified under subpoena to Congress last July, defended those involved in the investigations and prosecutions, saying they acted with the “highest integrity.”
“We made every decision in Stone’s case, as in all our cases, based solely on the facts and the law and in accordance with the rule of law. The women and men who conducted these investigations and prosecutions acted with the highest integrity. Claims to the contrary are false,” Mueller wrote.