Juan Williams: GOP in a panic over Mueller

Welcome to Congress, 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.

We’ve got questions for you.

But before we begin, the most important questions are for House Republicans.

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Why are you so upset about having Mr. Mueller here?

President TrumpDonald TrumpMyPillow CEO to pull ads from Fox News Haaland, Native American leaders press for Indigenous land protections Simone Biles, Vince Lombardi and the courage to walk away MORE says the Mueller report cleared him, so why don’t you want to hear from its author?

Are you worried that once the former special counsel says to your face that Russia twisted the 2016 presidential campaign in Trump’s favor, you’ll be forced to join Democrats in sounding the alarm?

After all, Trump has done nothing to stop Russia from screwing with the 2020 election.

By the way, can you believe the president recently said he’d have no problem doing it all again — taking damaging “information” on a future political opponent from a foreign country?

And did you see the president sharing a dismissive laugh about continued interference with the man responsible for damaging our last election, Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinDemocrats find a tax Republicans can support Biden officials pledge to confront cybersecurity challenges head-on Biden says Russia spreading misinformation ahead of 2022 elections MORE?

But back to Mueller’s upcoming testimony.

Initially scheduled for this Wednesday but now postponed for a week, it’s coming sooner or later.

Once the former special counsel repeats that Justice Department policy kept him from laying out federal criminal charges against a sitting president, will you agree that it is now up to Congress to hold the president responsible?

After all, we know of more than two dozen meetings between Trump campaign figures and Russians. Mueller detailed how the president tried to fire the special counsel and made several other efforts to derail the investigation.

Based on his May press conference, Mueller is almost certain to say he believes “the constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing.”

That “other” process is called impeachment.

And you all know that your fellow conservative, Rep. Justin AmashJustin AmashAmash warns of turning lawmakers like Cheney into 'heroes' Cheney set to be face of anti-Trump GOP Biden: 'Prince Philip gladly dedicated himself to the people of the UK' MORE of Michigan, took the time to read the Mueller report. He concluded it was time to begin impeachment proceedings.

So, House Republicans: Are you willing to join a hard-right leader, a co-founder of the Freedom Caucus, and put love of country above fear of being bullied by Trump?

Or is Rep. Steve ChabotSteven (Steve) Joseph ChabotWe must address the declining rate of startup business launches Lobbying world OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Biden administration to evacuate Afghans who helped US l Serious differences remain between US and Iran on nuclear talks l US, Turkish officials meet to discuss security plans for Afghan airport MORE (R-Ohio) right when he practically told his party colleagues to close their eyes, predicting that “a few people could change their opinion, but overall I think it’s not likely.”

That same talking point is coming from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellAn August ultimatum: No recess until redistricting reform is done After police rip Trump for Jan. 6, McCarthy again blames Pelosi The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - US gymnast wins all-around gold as Simone Biles cheers from the stands MORE (R-Ky.).

As far he is concerned, the whole Russia matter is “breathless conspiracy theorizing.” McConnell is in such a rush, he recently announced “case closed” because the special counsel did not indict Trump.

Former Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanRealClearPolitics reporter says Freedom Caucus shows how much GOP changed under Trump Juan Williams: Biden's child tax credit is a game-changer Trump clash ahead: Ron DeSantis positions himself as GOP's future in a direct-mail piece MORE (R-Wis.) was quoted last week as saying he quit Congress to “escape” from Trump. He said only party loyalty stopped him from wanting to “scold [Trump] all the time” because Trump “didn’t know anything about government.”

Will Mueller’s testimony compel Republicans still in Congress to come out of the closet and confirm that they, too, are troubled by the president’s conduct?

The sound of the special counsel’s voice — four or more hours of testimony — is sure to reach people who found his 400-page plus report too much to read.

Back in the days when television held power over public opinion, former White House counsel John Dean’s incriminating testimony helped change the narrative arc of the Watergate scandal in the 1970s.

So did then-Sen. Howard Baker’s (R-Tenn.) famous question: “What did the president know, and when did he know it?”

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Oliver NorthOliver Laurence NorthIs vaccine diplomacy the new 'soft diplomacy'? NRA head says in newly revealed recording that legal troubles have cost group 0 million Filing shows pay for top NRA officials surges as key program spending declined: report MORE’s combative congressional testimony during the Iran-Contra scandal shaped public opinion in the 1980s, confirming suspicions that the Reagan administration was covering up its illicit and illegal arms-for-hostages scheme.

There has been no such moment in the Trump-Russia affair. That has allowed Attorney General William BarrBill BarrTrump called acting attorney general almost daily to push election voter fraud claim: report Highest-ranking GOP assemblyman in WI against another audit of 2020 vote Native Americans are targets of voter suppression too MORE’s mischaracterization of the Mueller report to become a chant for the president: “No collusion, No obstruction.”

That’s why Mueller’s testimony is a danger to the Trump White House.

It has the power to break apart Trump’s echo chamber of blindly loyal support.

A Monmouth University poll in May found 49 percent of adults saying Russia interference in the 2016 election caused “a lot” of damage to “American democracy.”

The same poll found 44 percent saying they “definitely” believe Russia interfered, while an additional 29 percent said Moscow “probably” did so.

Now, with a delay in Mueller’s testimony, there will be renewed pressure from the administration for Mueller to never testify. The Justice Department is already instructing some of Mueller’s top aides not to do so.

Of course, the decision on whether to testify is up to Mueller.

But does he want to defy a subpoena?

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiCapitol riot defendants have started a jail newsletter: report On The Money: Biden asks Congress to extend eviction ban with days until expiration | Economic growth rose to 6.5 percent annual rate in second quarter Top Democrat: 'A lot of spin' coming from White House on infrastructure MORE’s (D-Calif.) House of Representatives already voted to hold Barr in contempt of Congress last month over his defiance of a subpoena over the unredacted version of the Mueller report.

Mueller, a 74-year-old career lawman, knows that his investigation of Trump and Russia will appear in the first sentence of his obituary.

His initial report was panned by liberals for being overly cautious.

Does Mueller really want to add defiance of a subpoena to his legacy? 

Juan Williams is an author, and a political analyst for Fox News Channel.