Special counsel Robert Mueller, who in May claimed he would have nothing else to say about his investigation that disproved allegations President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign colluded with Russia, has agreed to speak to two House committees investigating Trump.
The House Judiciary and House Intelligence committees, which have supoenaed Mueller, will each hear his testimony on July 17, according to a release issued by the committees on Tuesday.
“Pursuant to subpoenas issued by the House Judiciary and House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence tonight, Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III has agreed to testify before both committees on July 17 in open session,” according to the release.
ABC News reported the current plan is to have two separate hearings, one for each Democrat-dominated panel.
“We are pleased that the American people will hear directly from Special Counsel Mueller,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California said in a statement.
“The Mueller Report revealed that the Russians waged a ‘sweeping and systematic’ attack on our elections, and America’s top intelligence and law enforcement officials have warned that the Russians will attack our elections again.”
Although Mueller’s report cleared the Trump campaign of any collusion with Russia, it did not definitively address the issue of whether Trump obstructed the probe, which Trump adamantly opposed and often publicly labeled a “witch hunt.”
As such, House Democrats have called for Mueller to appear in hopes of using his testimony to launch an obstruction of justice case against the president.
The House Intelligence Committee is chaired by Rep. Adam Schiff of California. Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York chairs the Judiciary Committee.
They portrayed Mueller’s upcoming testimony as an opportunity to hear about wrongdoing inside the Trump White House.
“Americans have demanded to hear directly from the special counsel so they can understand what he and his team examined, uncovered, and determined about Russia’s attack on our democracy, the Trump campaign’s acceptance and use of that help, and President Trump and his associates’ obstruction of the investigation into that attack,” Nadler and Schiff said in a statement, The New York Times reported.
Trump issued a two-word response Tuesday night, tweeting, “Presidential Harassment!”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 26, 2019
He followed that up in a Wednesday interview with Maria Bartiromo of Fox Business Network by saying, “It never ends.”
Trump attacked the roots of the investigation into the discredited claims of Russian collusion.
“They got caught and they’re running around going wild trying to do everything they can, but they spied on my campaign, it’s as simple as that,” Trump said.
“It’s so illegal, it’s probably the biggest political scandal in history and they got caught doing it.”
Jay Sekulow, the attorney who represented Trump during the Mueller probe, said Mueller has already foreshadowed anything he would say under oath.
“Bob Mueller agreed to testify. He already said his testimony will be his report. We expect his testimony will be the report,” he told ABC.
Republicans said House Democrats’ effort to use Mueller to get at Trump will fail.
“The bottom line is, after all of your looking and all the time you had and all the money you spent, did Trump collude with the Russians? No. Do you stand by your report? Yes,” Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina told Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Monday.
“It is ‘case-closed’ for me. They can do anything they want to in the House, and I think it will blow up in their face,” Graham added.
Trump and Republicans have said that the rules were skirted during the launch of the surveillance on Trump’s associates, points one expert said are sure to be raised during Mueller’s appearance.
“He can’t refuse to answer questions about the FISA application,” retired Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz told Fox’s Laura Ingraham on Tuesday, referring to the use of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to conduct open surveillance of the Trump campaign during the waning months of the Obama administration.
“Those are the kind of questions that I think Republicans will be very well prepared to ask. Those are the kind of questions which are currently under investigation by the inspector general whose report we are waiting for. But those are not in any way precluded. So I think that they will regret having called him,” Dershowitz said.
That perspective was shared by Fox News contributor Geraldo Rivera.
“I think that the price that this testimony will cost the Democrats will be grievous to them,” Rivera said.
“They will rue the day that Nadler and Schiff let their ambition get ahead of their common sense, their political science, and drag this man back into center stage of the American public.”
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