Update: House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) told reporters on Wednesday that the committee has agreed to hear testimony from Special Counsel Mueller sometime in May, although a specific date has yet to be set.
Original text below.
During a press conference prior to last month’s release of the redacted Mueller report, Attorney General William Barr was asked whether he would permit Special Counsel Robert Mueller to testify before Congress.
“I have no objection to Bob Mueller personally testifying,” he said.
But as many have come to suspect over the past month — and as seems to have been revealed definitively Tuesday night — Barr shares an aversion to the truth with the president who appointed him. It shouldn’t be surprising, then, that he is now trying to prevent, or at least to delay, Mueller from appearing before Congress. According to House Democrats who spoke to the Daily Beast, Mueller is willing to testify, but the Justice Department “has been unwilling to set a date for it to happen.”
Democrats have called for the special counsel to testify since the release of the redacted Mueller report, but hearing from him directly became more urgent Tuesday night, when the Washington Post reported that he had sent a letter to Barr expressing concern over the “principal conclusions” the attorney general released barely 48 hours after the report was submitted. In the letter, which was obtained by the Post, Mueller wrote that Barr’s four-page summary “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance” of the investigation. Mueller later aired his concerns to Barr over the phone.
The full letter was made public Wednesday morning.
Here’s the Mueller letter to Barr pic.twitter.com/VqUrluMJqe
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) May 1, 2019
In his initial assessment of Mueller’s report, Barr emphasized the special counsel’s decision not to bring charges against the president for conspiracy or obstruction of justice while omitting the reasoning behind those decisions. He also took it upon himself to clear the president of obstruction of justice, despite Mueller placing the onus on Congress to respond to the multiple instances of obstruction detailed in the report.
President Trump used Barr’s conclusions to claim repeatedly that the report exonerated him from any wrongdoing. In his letter to Barr, Mueller referenced the skewed perception of his findings. “There is now public confusion about critical aspects of the results of our investigation,” he wrote. “This threatens to undermine a central purpose for which the Department appointed the Special Counsel: to assure full public confidence in the outcome of the investigations.”
While testifying before Congress on April 20th, Barr said he didn’t know whether Mueller supported his conclusions about the report.
On April 20th, I asked Barr, “Did Bob Mueller support your conclusion?” His answer was, “I don’t know whether Mueller supported my conclusion.”
We now know Mueller stated his concerns on March 27th, and that Barr totally misled me, the Congress, and the public. He must resign. pic.twitter.com/rod404BbYo
— Chris Van Hollen (@ChrisVanHollen) May 1, 2019
A few weeks earlier, it was reported that members of Mueller’s team had expressed frustration over how Barr characterized the investigation’s findings. On April 9th, Barr was asked by Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL) if he knew to what these reports were referring. Barr said he didn’t.
CRIST: Reports have emerged that Mueller's team is frustrated with your letter. Do you know what they're referencing?
BARR: "No I don't." pic.twitter.com/2jXrsVk3ny
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) May 1, 2019
Barr will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.
As for Mueller, we’ll see.
This post has been updated.