House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffTrump: Dems are getting nothing done in Congress Seven key allies for Pelosi on impeachment Democrats claim victory as Trump gets battered in court MORE (D-Calif.) said Wednesday that lawmakers “look forward” to Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerThe Hill’s 12: 30 Report: Trump orders more troops to Mideast amid Iran tensions Trump: Democrats just want Mueller to testify for a ‘do-over’ Graham: Mueller investigation a ‘political rectal exam’ MORE’s testimony, despite the special counsel’s stated reluctance to testify on Capitol Hill.
“We look forward to Mueller’s testimony before Congress. While I understand his reluctance to answer hypotheticals or deviate from the carefully worded conclusions he drew on his charging decisions, there are, nevertheless, a great many questions he can answer that go beyond the report, including any counterintelligence issues and classified matters that were not addressed in his findings,” Schiff said in a statement Wednesday afternoon.
Earlier in the day, Mueller made his first public remarks since beginning his now-completed investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. He reiterated some of the findings from his 448-page report and explained in further detail why he did not reach a decision on whether President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrat to announce Senate bid Wednesday against Lindsey Graham Harris praises Amash for calling for Trump’s impeachment: He has ‘put country before party’ NY Times reporter wears wedding dress to cover Trump in Japan after last-minute dress code MORE obstructed justice.
Mueller also made clear that he does not want to testify before Congress — something Democrats have demanded — and that he expects his public remarks on Wednesday to be his last regarding the 22-month investigation.
“I hope and expect this to be the only time that I will speak about this matter. I am making that decision myself — no one has told me whether I can or should testify or speak further about this matter,” Mueller said. “The report is my testimony.”
Schiff’s panel, along with the House Judiciary Committee, has sought Mueller’s testimony as Democratic lawmakers pursue their own investigations into Trump and his administration.
If Mueller resists congressional testimony, Democrats could subpoena him — an option House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerSeven key allies for Pelosi on impeachment Democrats are running out of stunts to pull from impeachment playbook Trump asks if Nadler will look into Clinton’s ‘deleted and acid washed’ emails MORE (D-N.Y.) has said is on the table.
But Nadler sidestepped questions about that possibility during a news conference Wednesday, saying, “Mr. Mueller told us a lot of what we need to hear today.”
The Judiciary panel has sought public testimony from Mueller. However, he would likely testify before the Intelligence panel behind closed doors, as lawmakers are likely to question him about sensitive details of his investigation and contacts between the Trump campaign and Moscow.
Schiff on Wednesday also said Mueller issued a “direct rebuke” of Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrComey: Trump peddling ‘dumb lies’ Amash doubles down on accusing Barr of ‘deliberately’ misleading the public on Mueller report Barr’s probe could play right into the Kremlin’s hands MORE by stating that he was unable to consider whether to charge Trump with criminal obstruction because Justice Department policy prohibits prosecutors from indicting a sitting president.
“After that investigation, if we had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said that,” Mueller said in his remarks, without noting whether he would have charged Trump with a crime were it not for the policy.
Mueller also said the Constitution “requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting President of wrongdoing.”
Barr has suggested that the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel opinion was not the driving factor in Mueller’s failure to reach a decision on obstruction.
The Russia report compiled by Mueller and his team examined nearly a dozen episodes in which Trump may have obstructed justice, but the special counsel’s office did not reach a conclusion on the matter. In a four-page memo laying out Mueller’s findings in March, Barr said that he and then-Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinWhy Mueller may be fighting a public hearing on Capitol Hill Jake Tapper fact-checks poster Trump admin created describing Mueller investigation Jeffrey Rosen officially sworn in as deputy attorney general MORE judged the evidence to be insufficient to accuse Trump of a crime.
Trump and his allies have seized on Barr’s judgment as vindicating him of allegations of obstruction, even as Mueller’s report does not explicitly exonerate Trump.
“[Mueller] made clear that, because of the Department’s own policy, it is left it to Congress—not the Attorney General—to evaluate and further investigate the president’s misconduct,” Schiff said Wednesday.