Democratic Congressional Leaders Ask Mueller To Testify

Charles Schumer and Nancy Pelosi
Alex Wong / Getty Images

Over the course of the nearly two-year probe, special counsel Robert Mueller has rarely appeared in public. He’s mostly only been photographed entering or leaving courtrooms, and during the time of the probe, most Americans have never heard his voice.

That may be about to change, however, with a request from Democratic leaders of Congress asking Mueller to testify.

According to a letter published Thursday morning, prior to the release of the Mueller Report and Attorney General William Barr’s press conference ahead of it, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called for the special counsel to provide public testimony to both houses of Congress.

The letter was posted to Schumer’s Twitter account.

“Attorney General Barr’s regrettably partisan handling of the Mueller Report, including his slanted March 24 summary letter, his irresponsible testimony before Congress last week, and his indefensible plan to spin the report in a press conference later this morning… have resulted in a crisis of confidence in his independence and impartiality.”

The solution, the congressional leaders go on to say, is for Mueller to testify before Congress. Schumer and Pelosi did not specify which committees would host testimony by Mueller.

Barr, who was appointed President Trump’s attorney general earlier this year, issued a four-page summary of the Mueller Report’s findings on March 24, in which he stated that the special counsel’s office had not found evidence that the president’s campaign colluded with the Russian government, but that it had not reached a conclusion on obstruction of justice.

A redacted version of the Mueller Report will be released to Congress, and eventually the public, on Thursday. Barr will appear for a press conference Thursday morning before the media will have seen the report.

Mueller, a former director of the FBI under both Democratic and Republican administrations, was appointed special counsel in 2017 following the firing of FBI Director James Comey and the recusal from the Russia investigation of then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions. His report has been eagerly anticipated for months, both by opponents of the president who were hoping for damning evidence and by supporters hoping for an exoneration.

The special counsel’s office has now completed its work and has essentially disbanded, with many of its staffers returning to their previous positions in government or the private sector. It’s unclear what Mueller’s plans are for the next phase of his career, although prior to the investigation he worked for the powerful law firm Wilmer Hale.