Nadler: Mueller wants to testify privately

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerHouse to vote on bill to ensure citizenship for children of overseas service members As impeachment goes public, forget 'conventional wisdom' What this 'impeachment' is really about — and it's not the Constitution MORE (D-N.Y.) said special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerSpeier says impeachment inquiry shows 'very strong case of bribery' by Trump Gowdy: I '100 percent' still believe public congressional hearings are 'a circus' Comey: Mueller 'didn't succeed in his mission because there was inadequate transparency' MORE wants to testify privately about his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Nadler, appearing on “The Rachel MaddowRachel Anne MaddowBiden town hall on CNN finishes third in cable news race Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, Elijah Cummings's widow, will run for his House seat 'Anonymous' gets media frenzy without pesky scrutiny for new book MORE Show” on MSNBC Thursday night, said he doesn’t know why Mueller wants to testify privately as opposed to publicly.

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“He is willing to make an opening statement, but he wants to testify in private,” Nadler said. “We’re saying we think it's important for the American people to hear from him and to hear his answers to questions about the report.”

Nadler noted that a private Mueller testimony would still come with a transcript that would be publicly made available.

“We’d see a transcript,” he told Maddow.

Nadler and other Democrats have been pushing Mueller to publicly testify for weeks now following the release of his report on the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. But reports surfaced earlier this week that Mueller was hesitant to appear publicly out of concerns it would seem political.

“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 said.

“Especially if Republicans on the committee start asking him questions about this stuff, about the beginning of the investigation,” he added.

Nadler has previously said he would subpoena Mueller to testify if the two sides cannot come to an agreement but did not discuss that option Thursday night on Maddow’s show.

Mueller had been largely silent during his 22-month investigation that concluded earlier this year.

A public appearance before the committee would mark his first comments on the investigation and report, which did not find evidence to conclude that the Trump campaign engaged in criminal collusion with Russia, and would give lawmakers an opportunity to ask follow-up questions for the first time as well.