Special Counsel Robert Mueller is resisting congressional Democrats’ request that he testify publicly about details of his investigation that were not included in his final report, the Washington Post first reported Tuesday.
Mueller and his representatives have reportedly reached an impasse in their negotiations with House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerry Nadler, who would like him to speak publicly about a range of issues, including whether the president could be charged with obstruction of justice absent Department of Justice guidelines that prohibit the indictment of a sitting president.
As they navigate the question of whether the obstructive behavior attributed to Trump in the Mueller report warrants impeachment, a number of top Democrats have repeatedly insisted that lawmakers must hear from Mueller himself before a decision can be made. They have also suggested that they would like to question Mueller about whether he believes Attorney General William Barr’s summary of his report misrepresented its findings.
Barr told the Wall Street Journal that he has no problem with Mueller testifying before Congress, but Democrats have accused the Department of Justice of intentionally delaying negotiations over any such testimony. Trump has said it is Barr’s decision whether Mueller can appear before Congress.
News of the impasse comes hours after former White House counsel Don McGahn failed to appear before the House Judiciary Committee to answer questions about Trump’s alleged efforts to interfere in the Mueller probe.
“Let me be clear: This committee will hear Mr. McGahn’s testimony, even if we have to go to court to secure it,” Nadler said after the hearing.
During the Tuesday hearing, Representative Doug Collins of Georgia, the ranking republican on the Judiciary Committee, accused Democrats of delaying Mueller’s testimony out of a reticence to accept his findings.
“We’ve subpoenaed the documents, we’ve subpoenaed the underlying documents, we’ve subpoenaed stuff that we can’t get, but the one thing that we seem to avoid is Mr. Mueller himself, the one who wrote it,” Collins said. “We’ve asked since April about Mr. Mueller coming. But every time we seem to get close to Mueller, Mueller just gets pushed on a little bit. Haven’t seen a subpoena here, and this is what’s really amazing — we’ll get back to subpoenas in a moment — but just think about that. You wanted the work of the author, but you don’t want to talk to the author.”
The House Intelligence Committee, led by Chairman Adam Schiff (D., Calif.), is also currently in negotiations to secure Mueller’s public testimony.
“I feel very confident saying Mueller’s going to testify,” Schiff told ABC News. “There’s no way that he cannot, and the public won’t stand for it. I think the Justice Department knows they’re on the poorest of ground in trying to prevent his testimony.”