Senate Democrats ask Graham to bring Mueller to testify

Senate Democrats ask Graham to bring Mueller to testify
© Greg Nash
 
Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinGOP's Kennedy sends warning shot to Trump nominee Menashi Democratic senators quietly hope Biden wins over rivals Grassley: Kavanaugh classmate didn't contact Senate panel MORE (Calif.), the top Democrat on the Judiciary panel, led other Democrats on the committee in sending Graham a letter Wednesday saying they thought the panel would "benefit greatly" from having Mueller testify.
 
"We therefore respectfully request a hearing so Members might have the opportunity to ask these and other questions of Special Counsel Mueller directly and receive his answers," the lawmakers wrote in the letter
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Democrats are clamoring for Mueller to testify after he wrapped up his two-year investigation into Russia's election meddling and the Trump campaign. Democrats have accused Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrDemocrats to seek ways to compel release of Trump whistleblower complaint Democrats press Nadler to hold Lewandowski in contempt The Hill's 12:30 Report: Questions swirl around Trump whistleblower complaint MORE, who testified before the panel last week, of mishandling Mueller's report and misleading the public about the underlying conclusions of the investigation.
 
"The Mueller report is a seminal document that caps the Special Counsel’s nearly two year investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.  However …  it’s clear there are many outstanding questions that remain unanswered. Having Special Counsel Mueller before the committee is necessary to get those questions answered," Democrats on the Judiciary panel wrote in their letter to Graham.
 
The GOP chairman initially ruled out calling Mueller to testify before the Judiciary Committee, even as House Democrats are engaged in negotiations to try to lock down a hearing with him.
 
But Graham sent Mueller a letter late last week asking if he wanted to testify about "any misrepresentation" of a call between the special counsel and Barr that took place after the attorney general released his four-page memo outlining the key findings of Mueller's Russia probe.
 
A spokeswoman for Graham said on Wednesday that they had not heard back from Mueller or his team in response to the letter.
 
Mueller sent Barr a letter shortly after he released the memo in late March saying it did not "fully capture the context, nature and substance of this office's work and conclusions." Barr, during his testimony last week, defended his actions, saying Mueller's concerns were not about the letter but the media coverage surrounding it.
 
The Senate Democrats, in their letter to Graham, signaled that if Mueller does testify they will expand the hearing beyond just his phone call with Barr, despite Graham's narrow invitation.
 
They noted that the dozens of listed questions they would like to ask Mueller were not exhaustive and that they could try to ask him about other things during a hearing. 
 
"We believe Robert Mueller would be best-suited to answer these and other questions," they wrote.
  
The questions span Russia's election interference, WikiLeaks's publication of hacked Democratic National Committee emails, communication between Trump campaign officials and Russians, obstruction of justice, business ties to Russia, President TrumpDonald John TrumpMarine unit in Florida reportedly pushing to hold annual ball at Trump property Giuliani clashes with CNN's Cuomo, calls him a 'sellout' and the 'enemy' Giuliani says 'of course' he asked Ukraine to look into Biden seconds after denying it MORE's degree of cooperation with Mueller's investigation and Trump's interactions with former White House counsel Don McGahn. 
 
Democrats want to know — absent the Justice Department's longstanding Office of Legal Counsel opinion that a sitting president can't be indicted — if Mueller would have reached a decision on obstruction of justice, and if or how the OLC opinion guided the Russia probe. 
 
Senate Democrats are also asking Mueller if he continues "to believe that the results of the investigation did not exonerate the President of possible criminal misconduct?"