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 NadlerNadler: DOJ directive to Mueller is part of 'ongoing cover up' from Trump administration Harris, Nadler introduce bill to decriminalize marijuana Why are we permitting federal child abuse at our border? MORE (D-N.Y.), the chairman of the Judiciary panel, and Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffPelosi, Democrats launch Mueller messaging blitz Mueller testimony could be frustrating for both parties Hillicon Valley: Equifax to pay up to 0M over data breach | Settlement invites criticism from lawmakers | Microsoft settles bribery case | Election security to take back seat at Mueller testimony 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 Trump5 things to know about Boris Johnson Conservatives erupt in outrage against budget deal Trump says Omar will help him win Minnesota 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 BarrWilliam Pelham BarrGraham says he will call Papadopoulos to testify Pelosi, Democrats launch Mueller messaging blitz The Hill's Morning Report — Trump applauds two-year budget deal with 0 billion spending hike MORE and then-Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinKey numbers to know for Mueller's testimony 10 questions for Robert Mueller What to expect when Mueller testifies: Not much 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 CollinsPelosi, Democrats launch Mueller messaging blitz Mueller testimony could be frustrating for both parties 3,100 to be released from prison under criminal justice reform law 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.