Nadler: Mueller wants to testify privately

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerNadler apologized after repeatedly calling Hope Hicks 'Ms. Lewandowski' at hearing Hope Hicks: Trump campaign felt 'relief' after WikiLeaks released damaging info about Hillary Clinton House hearing marks historic moment for slavery reparations debate MORE (D-N.Y.) said special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerKamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Dem committees win new powers to investigate Trump Schiff says Intel panel will hold 'series' of hearings on Mueller report MORE wants to testify privately about his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Nadler, appearing on “The Rachel MaddowRachel Anne Maddow2020 primary debate guide: Everything you need to know ahead of the first Democratic showdown Hannity mocks NBC for making Maddow a debate moderator NBC announces five moderators for the first Democratic debate 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.