Hoyer calls for Mueller to testify

Hoyer calls for Mueller to testify
© Stefani Reynolds

House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerDemocrats press Schumer on removing Confederate statues from Capitol House Democrats set 'goal' to vote on infrastructure, social spending package next week Holding back on defensive systems for Israel could have dangerous consequences MORE (D-Md.) is calling on Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE to testify before Congress, putting pressure on the special counsel to appear on Capitol Hill after he said he did not want to testify.

Hoyer weighed in hours after Mueller said during a press conference Wednesday morning that he could not consider charges of obstruction of justice against Trump based on current Justice Department guidelines.

The special counsel reiterated that while his team could not recommend charges against the president, his report also did not exonerate Trump. He also said that any testimony he would give would be limited to the contents of the report.

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“In his remarks, Special Counsel Mueller made it clear that charges were not brought against President TrumpDonald TrumpGraham says he hopes that Trump runs again Trump says Stacey Abrams 'might be better than existing governor' Kemp Executive privilege fight poses hurdles for Trump MORE because of a Justice Department policy that a sitting president cannot be charged with a crime,” Hoyer said in a statement.

“Given that the President has not been cleared of wrongdoing, and given the seriousness of Russia’s interference in our democracy, I believe that the American people deserve to hear testimony from the Special Counsel about his report and the report's conclusions.”

Hoyer also called for Attorney General William BarrBill BarrTrump pushes back on book claims, says he spent 'virtually no time' discussing election with Lee, Graham Woodward: Milley was 'setting in motion sensible precautions' with calls to China Barr-Durham investigation again fails to produce a main event MORE to release an unredacted version of the special counsel's report to Congress, something Democrats have demanded for weeks. Barr released a partially redacted version of the 448-page report last month.

The Democratic leader said the House would continue its oversight probes in order to “fulfill our constitutional obligation to hold the Administration accountable.” His statement did not include a direct mention of pursuing impeachment proceedings.

Democrats in both chambers of Congress have been clamoring for Mueller’s testimony since he filed his report in late March, though the special counsel indicated Wednesday he would like to avoid any further public appearances. 

“I hope and expect this to be the only time that I will speak about this matter,” he said at his press briefing. “The report is my testimony.”

Hoyer called last month for Mueller to appear before lawmakers to talk about his probe's findings, but the Democratic leader's statement Wednesday carries new weight as Democrats mull whether to seek a subpoena to compel the special counsel's testimony.

Rep. Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerBiden to raise refugee cap to 125,000 in October Ocasio-Cortez, Bush push to add expanded unemployment in .5T spending plan Angelina Jolie spotted in Capitol meeting with senators MORE (D-N.Y.), the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, sidestepped a question Wednesday over whether he would subpoena Mueller for testimony, telling reporters “Mr. Mueller told us a lot of what we need to hear today.”

Mueller reported in April that there was insufficient evidence that Trump conspired with Russia to meddle in the 2016 election but declined to make a prosecutorial judgement over whether he obstructed subsequent probes. He outlined 10 “episodes” of possibly obstructive behavior, but declined to bring any charges, pointing to the Justice Department regulations. 

“If we had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said that,” the special counsel said Wednesday.