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Mueller to testify publicly on July 17

Special counsel Robert Mueller will publicly testify in front of the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees on July 17 following a subpoena, the panels’ chairmen said 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,” Rep. Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerThis week: Congress races to wrap work for the year Top Republicans praise Trump's Flynn pardon Democratic impeachment leaders blast Trump's pardon of Flynn MORE (D-N.Y.), the chairman of the Judiciary panel, and Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffBarr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Trump pardons Flynn | Lawmakers lash out at decision | Pentagon nixes Thanksgiving dining hall meals due to COVID-19 Democratic impeachment leaders blast Trump's pardon of Flynn MORE (D-Calif.), the chairman of the Intelligence panel, said in a joint statement issued late Tuesday. 

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"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 TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says GOP senators have called to congratulate him Biden: Trump attending inauguration is 'of consequence' to the country Biden says family will avoid business conflicts MORE and his associates' obstruction of the investigation into that attack," Nadler and Schiff said.

Both panels had been negotiating for Mueller’s voluntary appearance for several weeks but hadn’t reached an agreement; Mueller signaled his unwillingness to testify publicly before Congress in his first public remarks on his investigation into Russia's election interference last month.

Mueller also said last month that any public testimony he gave would not go beyond the four corners of his 448-page report.

Nadler and Schiff issued separate subpoenas for Mueller’s public appearances on Tuesday, writing in a letter to the special counsel, “We have consistently communicated our Committees' intention to issue these subpoenas, if necessary, and we now understand it necessary to do so.”

Nadler and Schiff acknowledged "certain sensitivities" stemming from Mueller’s testimony, noting that the special counsel’s office referred multiple criminal investigations to other districts, some of which are still being investigated.

“We will work with you to address legitimate concerns about preserving the integrity of your work, but we expect that you will appear before our Committees as scheduled,” they wrote.

Mueller’s appearance before Congress on July 17 is certain to be a spectacle of historic proportions.

It will mark his first public appearance related to the Russia investigation since delivering his 10-minute statement on May 29, during which he outlined his conclusions and explained his decision not to reach a conclusion on whether President Trump obstructed justice. Mueller stepped off the Justice Department podium after the brief statement, declining to take questions from reporters and making clear he hoped the remarks would be his last on the investigation.

Next month, Democratic and Republican lawmakers will have the opportunity to question Mueller publicly on his findings for several hours, setting the stage for a momentous day of testimony on Capitol Hill.

"I think there's a lot of he can shed light on in terms of the course of his investigation," Schiff told The Hill on Tuesday evening, "but also things that are beyond the report that involve other witnesses, other relevant issues. We know very little, for example, about the role of the counterintelligence investigation that was taking place contemporaneous with the criminal probe." 

Mueller, who remained intensely quiet throughout his two-year investigation despite constant attacks from Trump, detailed an elaborate plot by Russia to interfere in the election in his exhaustive report.

Mueller also laid out dozens of contacts between the Trump campaign and Kremlin-linked figures; however, he said the investigation found insufficient evidence to charge members or associates of the campaign with conspiring with Russia to interfere in the election.

Many Democrats are eager to question Mueller publicly about the various episodes he examined as potentially obstructive efforts by Trump. It remains unlikely Mueller will say much more than what is laid out in his report, however. 

Attorney General William BarrBill BarrBiden says GOP senators have called to congratulate him Trump campaign, RNC announce 0 million post-election fundraising haul Michigan voter fraud hearing goes viral for alleged flatulence, unruly witness MORE and then-Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinTrump turns his ire toward Cabinet members Ex-deputy attorney general says Justice Dept. 'will ignore' Trump's threats against political rivals The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Trump's erratic tweets upend stimulus talks; COVID-19 spreads in White House MORE reviewed the evidence laid out in the volume of the special counsel’s report examining obstruction and determined it was insufficient to accuse Trump of criminal wrongdoing. Trump has cheered that result, as well as the lack of conspiracy charge resulting from the investigation, as completely vindicating him.

Still, the facts as laid out in the report paint a damning picture of Trump’s efforts to gain control of and apparently thwart the special counsel’s investigation, as well as his associates’ willingness to engage with Russia-connected figures during the campaign. 

House Democrats are certain to shine a spotlight on the more unsavory details of the report in the public hearing with the special counsel. The Judiciary and Intelligence panels have already held a handful of hearings on the investigation with expert witnesses; however, the appearances have received little airtime compared to other high-profile congressional hearings.

Some Republicans have also welcomed Mueller’s appearance while also accusing Democrats of trying to re-litigate the special counsel’s probe in their own investigative and oversight pursuits.

In a statement issued Tuesday, the Judiciary panel’s top Republican, Doug CollinsDouglas (Doug) Allen CollinsGeorgia's Perdue, Kemp to appear with Fox News's Laura Ingraham Five things to know about Georgia's Senate runoffs Sunday shows - Health officials warn pandemic is 'going to get worse' MORE (R-Ga.), said, “I hope the special counsel's testimony marks an end to the political gamesmanship that Judiciary Democrats have pursued at great cost to taxpayers. May this testimony bring to House Democrats the closure that the rest of America has enjoyed for months, and may it enable them to return to the business of legislating.”

Collins accused “many” of “willfully” misrepresenting the special counsel’s findings and said Democrats have “neglected their responsibility to safeguard future elections from foreign influence.”

Juliegrace Brufke contributed to this report.