Donald Trump is reportedly very worried about special counsel Robert Mueller testifying before Congress, according to multiple reports.
After weeks of hostility between Attorney General William Barr and congressional Democrats, who have expressed displeasure at the way Barr has downplayed the special counsel’s two years of work, Mueller has tentatively agreed to testify before Congress on May 15. His testimony would be a matter of national significance, especially as Barr has been accused of obfuscating the report to the president’s advantage. It is the first time that Americans, apart from getting access to a redacted report penned by Mueller, will hear the special counsel’s opinions on the investigation directly from him, as reported by The Week.
This development has the president concerned, as he is reportedly perturbed about the media coverage Mueller’s testimony will invariably generate. According to the Associated Press, Trump believes that Mueller has been “unfairly lionized” by the media, and would only get more attention when he comes out to speak in front of Congress. For this reason, sources familiar with Trump’s behavior told the AP that the president has “stewed for days” about the impending testimony, worried that the American media will lap up the special counsel’s words.
"The president stewed for days about the prospect of the media coverage that would be given to testimony from Mueller, a man Trump believes has been unfairly lionized across cable news and the front pages of the nation’s leading newspapers for two years" https://t.co/m8MaQdurpr
— Jonathan Lemire (@JonLemire) May 7, 2019
The report goes on state that Trump is particularly worried that Mueller’s testimony will attract the same kind of media attention that the testimony of his former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, did, fearing that “Americans would be captivated by seeing” Mueller speak in front of the Congress.
It is for this reason that Trump tweeted that Mueller “should not testify” on Sunday, just days after suggesting that it would be up to William Barr to decide whether or not the special counsel should testify in front of the Congress. Since Trump tweeted his desire for Mueller not to testify, there has been a lot of speculation about whether the president would be inclined to use his executive privilege to stop him from testifying, but so far, there has been little indication beyond the tweet to suggest so. Politico reported that Trump’s tweet was “more bluster than a live-wire legal showdown,” citing informal advisers who say Trump was “not signaling anything.”
The New York Times also indicated that although Trump has privately discussed not wanting Mueller to testify for days, he is unlikely to make a move which would prevent the special counsel from doing so. At this point, it seems highly probable that Mueller is set to speak to Congress for the first time about his investigation, and while Trump might not want it, many American people do.