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Juan Williams: GOP in a panic over Mueller

Welcome to Congress, Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerWhy a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel CNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump 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 TrumpTrump announces new tranche of endorsements DeSantis, Pence tied in 2024 Republican poll Lawmakers demand changes after National Guard troops at Capitol sickened from tainted food 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 PutinWhite House calls Microsoft email breach an 'active threat' As gas prices soar, Americans can blame Joe Biden How to think about Russia 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 AmashRepublicans eye primaries in impeachment vote Michigan GOP lawmaker says he's 'strongly considering' impeachment Newly sworn in Republican House member after Capitol riot: 'I regret not bringing my gun to D.C.' 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 ChabotREAD: The Republicans who voted to challenge election results House Republicans who didn't sign onto the Texas lawsuit Top GOP lawmaker touts 'more flexible' PPP loans in bipartisan proposal 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 McConnellMcConnell makes failed bid to adjourn Senate after hours-long delay Paul Ryan to host fundraiser for Cheney amid GOP tensions Senate Democrats near deal to reduce jobless boost to 0 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 RyanPaul Ryan to host fundraiser for Cheney amid GOP tensions Boehner book jacket teases slams against Cruz, Trump CPAC, all-in for Trump, is not what it used to be 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 BarrPolitics in the Department of Justice can be a good thing Majority of Republicans say 2020 election was invalid: poll Biden administration withdraws from Connecticut transgender athlete case 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 PelosiLawmakers demand changes after National Guard troops at Capitol sickened from tainted food Andrew Yang condemns attacks against Asian Americans Congress in lockdown: Will we just 'get used to it'? 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.