President Trump says Robert Mueller shouldn't testify before Congress

By Jason Silverstein

/ CBS News

President Trump said Sunday that Special Counsel Robert Mueller should not to testify before Congress — reversing his position from days ago, when he said he'd defer to Attorney General William Barr. Across two tweets, Mr. Trump wrote, "why would the Democrats in Congress now need Robert Mueller…to testify. Are they looking for a redo because they hated seeing the strong NO COLLUSION conclusion?"

Mr. Trump added, "Bob Mueller should not testify. No redos for the Dems!"

Mr. Trump's tweet came soon after Democratic Rep. David Cicilline, who sits on the House Judiciary Committee, announced that he is working on arranging Mueller's testimony. The Rhode Island congressman said he is hoping to bring Mueller in on May 15, but a date hasn't been confirmed.

Just to clarify: we are aiming to bring Mueller in on the 15th, but nothing has been agreed to yet. That’s the date the Committee has proposed, and we hope the Special Counsel will agree to it. Sorry for the confusion. https://t.co/FfR8ReLmkp

— David Cicilline (@davidcicilline) May 5, 2019

Mr. Trump said last week that he would let Barr decide on Mueller's testimony. During Barr's own testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee last Wednesday, the attorney general said he had "no objection" to letting Mueller testify.

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The Justice Department didn't immediately comment on Mr. Trump's tweets.

Some House Democrats pushed back against the president, saying Mueller will end up testifying one way or another.

"Today, Trump announced he is opposed to Mueller testifying before Congress. Before the American people," Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said on Twitter. Schiff pointed out that Mr. Trump has also opposed letting former White House counsel Don McGahn testify.

"They will testify. The American people deserve the truth," Schiff said.

Today, Trump announced he is opposed to Mueller testifying before Congress. Before the American people.

He also opposes letting McGahn appear.

Barr’s testimony alone — designed to protect Trump — isn’t going to cut it.

They will testify. The American people deserve the truth.

— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) May 5, 2019

Mueller's testimony would mark his first public comments since giving the Justice Department his report on Russian election interference and President Trump's potential obstruction of justice. Since the release of the redacted report, there have been open conflicts between Mueller's team and Barr about the investigation's conclusions. Mueller did not make a judgment on whether Mr. Trump obstructed justice, but Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein cleared the president.

More conflicts erupted last week during Barr's Senate testimony. Democrats on the committee accused Barr of minimizing actions described in the report that Mueller said could be counted as obstruction. In one instance, the report said McGahn defied an order from the president to remove Mueller from the investigation.

A letter leaked the day before Barr's testimony showed that Mueller objected to Barr's initial four-page summary of the report. Mueller said Barr's letter "did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance" of the findings.

Barr had previously said in congressional testimony that he was not aware of Mueller's reaction. After his Senate testimony, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Barr committed a crime by lying to Congress.

First published on May 5, 2019 / 6:11 PM

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