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'Tentative Date' of May 15 Agreed for Mueller to Testify Before Congress
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=19204"><span class="small">Victoria Bekiempis, Guardian UK</span></a>   
Sunday, 05 May 2019 13:10

Bekiempis writes: "Robert Mueller may be one step closer to being questioned in public on Capitol Hill, with a representative of the special counsel saying he has agreed to testify before Congress, according to a Democratic congressman on Sunday."

Special Council and former FBI director Robert S. Mueller III. (photo: AP)
Special Council and former FBI director Robert S. Mueller III. (photo: AP)

'Tentative Date' of May 15 Agreed for Mueller to Testify Before Congress

By Victoria Bekiempis, Guardian UK

05 May 19

Democratic congressman says: ‘We hope that the special counsel will appear’ while Trump tweets: ‘Bob Mueller should not testify’

obert Mueller may be one step closer to being questioned in public on Capitol Hill, with a representative of the special counsel saying he has agreed to testify before Congress, according to a Democratic congressman on Sunday.

Rhode Island congressional Representative David Cicilline said a “tentative date has been set of May 15” for Mueller to testify, he told host Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday.

“We hope that the special counsel will appear,” he said at first.

Pressed on whether Mueller had actually agreed to testify, he added that “a representative for the special counsel has”.

Cicilline couched his remarks by saying that “obviously”, Congress would not know definitely that Mueller is testifying on this date until the day comes.

He appeared to wobble on his declaration a little later, tweeting: “Just to clarify: we are aiming to bring Mueller in on the 15th, but nothing has been agreed to yet. That’s the date the Committee has proposed, and we hope the Special Counsel will agree to it. Sorry for the confusion.”

On Sunday afternoon, the president said on Twitter that “Bob Mueller should not testify”.

Trump posted, in part, in two back-to-back tweets: “Why would the Democrats in Congress now need Robert Mueller to testify? Are they looking for a redo because they hated seeing the strong NO COLLUSION conclusion?”

Mueller’s report last month had found a lot of evidence of interactions between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 election, but did not conclude that any of it amounted to criminal conspiracy. Mueller also found multiple instances where Trump tampered with the investigation and would have obstructed further if he had had his way and not been protected by those around him.

The special counsel ultimately did not rule on whether the crime of obstruction had been committed by Trump, leaving that decision for others, while saying he could not exonerate the president. His redacted report also left questions unanswered.

Attorney general William Barr and departing deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein decided there had been no criminal obstruction, while Democrats in Congress are insisting on more information and investigation before they decide on further action.

Cicilline’s statements about Mueller’s possible testimony come amid heightened tensions between Congress and the Department of Justice, especially its head, US attorney general William Barr over the report resulting from an almost two-year investigation into allegations of collusion between the Trump 2016 campaign and Russia, and obstruction of justice.

Barr has been widely criticized for presenting an overly rosy view of Trump in his four-page summary of Mueller’s report last month. Several Democrats, especially House speaker Nancy Pelosi and several 2020 presidential candidates, led by Elizabeth Warren, have called for his resignation.

Pelosi also accused Barr of lying to Congress about statements he made regarding criticism of his handling of the report by Mueller, with the senior Democrat declaring last week: “That’s a crime.”

Barr has been accused of casting the 448-page report to make it seem as if Mueller definitively determined that there was no cooperation or collusion between the president, his campaign and the Russian government.

The Mueller report, however, contains numerous details about ties between Trump associates and the Russian government, and at least 11 attempts by Trump to block Mueller’s investigation.

Barr’s appearance before the Senate judiciary committee on Wednesday was characterized as seeming defensiveness, after it was revealed that Mueller had privately criticized his initial public summary of the report.

During Barr’s testimony, he called Mueller’s letter “a bit snitty”, and intimated that it might have been penned by one of the special counsel’s staff.

Barr was a no-show at a congressional oversight hearing on Thursday due to a dispute over questioning protocol. Barr reportedly took issue with both parties’ plans to have their counsels question him, rather than the members of congress themselves.

House judiciary committee chairman Jerrold Nadler, Democrat of New York, has given Barr a Monday deadline of 9am ET to turn over additional portions of the report and the evidence behind it.

Cicilline told Wallace that if Barr doesn’t comply, Nadler appears poised to push forward with contempt proceedings.

“There has not been compliance yet,” Cicilline said of Barr turning over these documents. “I think if the attorney general does not, the chairman will ask the committee to move forward with a contempt citation.”

“I hope the attorney general will comply,” Cicilline said, later adding, “If Mr Barr agrees to turn over what we’re requested in a reasonable way, nobody on the committee is interested in moving forward with contempt.”

A request for comment from the DoJ did not bring an immediate response.

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-9 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-05-05 15:25
This is a pretty weak commitment. What is Mueller afraid of? Maybe Congress should subpoena his ass and put him in front of congressional staff attorneys for the day. Mueller did not create this mess; his good friend Jim Comey did. Or maybe it was before Comey in the authors and funders of the Steele Dossier. But Mueller could have put it to a very quick end by announcing just what he announced in his final report -- nearly two years late. He could have said "there's no there there."

The obstruction of justice claims about Trump were caused by the process that Mueller inherited and ran. Had there been no FBI, FISA, DOJ, CIA spying on and investigation of Trump, there would have been no appearances of obstruction.

Mueller has a lot to answer for. I hope he shows up. If he does not, he should be subpoenaed and federal marshalls should to do his house and frog march him into the congress.

Barr has nothing to contribute. Mueller wrote the report. He can tell what he did for himself. Mueller can turn over all his notes and transcripts.
+9 # Texas Aggie 2019-05-05 22:54
You will notice that Mueller isn't the one who has problems with him talking to Congress. The obstacles in his way are the Fat Boy and Wm. Barr. Those are the people trying to prevent him from testifying. Well you may ask why they are fighting his appearance tooth and nail.
-1 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-05-06 17:07
I think I heard after this article came out, that in fact Mueller did not say he would appear. Some assistant suggested he might. But Mueller has not talked to anyone in congress. Democrats in congress are now walking back the statement that Mueller has tentatively agreed to testify. He has not said anything. Historically, Mueller has a lot of contempt for congress. He does not respond to them. He may come and he may not.

I personally hope he does testify. He's got a lot to explain.
+2 # Texas Aggie 2019-05-05 22:57
So has the House now gotten a commitment for Mr. Mueller to testify? Lindsey in the Senate said he would let him testify if the questions were restricted to his complaints with Barr's "four page not a summary."
+1 # RLF 2019-05-07 05:07
Why is congress so weak with their supoenas? Seems like congress needs an enforcement mechanism here but the Dems. will do their usual "I'm too afraid of what might happen in the future!" while the Republicans bull ahead and do whatever it takes and deal with the problems later. Dems have a real problem with thinking too much and balls! Don't negotiate terms under which they testify...put their asses in the chair and question them and if the won't then send the US marshals for them.