President Trump sharply questioned Friday why Democrats want special counsel Robert S. Mueller III to testify before Congress, a shift in posture from earlier this month when he said he would let Attorney General William P. Barr decide if Mueller should appear.
Trump voiced his opinion in a morning tweet that also significantly mischaracterized the findings of Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
“I don’t know why the Radical Left Democrats want Bob Mueller to testify when he just issued a 40 Million Dollar Report that states, loud & clear & for all to hear, No Collusion and No Obstruction (how do you Obstruct a NO crime?),” Trump wrote. “Dems are just looking for trouble and a Do-Over!”
Asked at a White House event on May 9 whether he would let Mueller testify, Trump said: “I’m going to leave that up to our very great attorney general.” Barr has said that he has no objections to Mueller personally testifying.
Mueller has been in discussions with House Democrats about how much of his congressional testimony regarding his report would take place in public and how much would take place in private.
During a television appearance Thursday night, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) said Mueller told him he is willing to make a public opening statement but wants to offer most of his testimony behind closed doors.
“We think it’s important for the American people to hear from him and to hear his answers to questions about the report,” Nadler said during an appearance on “The Rachel Maddow Show” on MSNBC.
“He envisions himself correctly as a man of great rectitude and apolitical, and he doesn’t want to participate in anything that he might regard as a political spectacle,” Nadler added. “I’m speculating, really.”
In his report, Mueller said his nearly two-year investigation identified numerous links between individuals with ties to the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump campaign. But he said the evidence was not sufficient to charge any member of the Trump campaign in connection with conspiring with representatives of the Russian government to interfere in the election.
Mueller made no decision about bringing charges against Trump related to possible obstruction of the investigation. The special counsel’s report cited multiple instances of potential obstruction and said, “If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state.”
Barr later decided not to pursue obstruction charges against Trump.