Trump: ‘Mueller should not testify’


President Donald Trump’s tweet on Sunday could set up the most consequential legal battle related to special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe. | Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images

Congress

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President Donald Trump said on Sunday that Robert Mueller “should not testify” before Congress, hours after a Democratic lawmaker confirmed that the House Judiciary Committee was still seeking to schedule a hearing with the special counsel later this month.

“Bob Mueller should not testify. No redos for the Dems!” the president wrote on Twitter, following a post in which he excoriated Mueller’s 22-month investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

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“After spending more than $35,000,000 over a two year period, interviewing 500 people, using 18 Trump Hating Angry Democrats & 49 FBI Agents — all culminating in a more than 400 page Report showing NO COLLUSION — why would the Democrats in Congress now need Robert Mueller … to testify,” Trump tweeted.

“Are they looking for a redo because they hated seeing the strong NO COLLUSION conclusion? There was no crime, except on the other side (incredibly not covered in the Report), and NO OBSTRUCTION,” the president added.

Attorney General William Barr has previously told Congress that he has no objection to Mueller, who is technically a Justice Department employee, testifying before lawmakers. Peter Carr, the special counsel’s spokesman, declined to comment on the president’s tweet.

Earlier Sunday, a Judiciary Committee member, Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), told “Fox News Sunday” that Mueller was tentatively scheduled to testify on May 15, but he later walked back that remark on social media.

“Just to clarify: we are aiming to bring Mueller in on the 15th, but nothing has been agreed to yet,” Cicilline wrote online. “That’s the date the Committee has proposed, and we hope the Special Counsel will agree to it. Sorry for the confusion.”

The House Judiciary chairman, Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), has previously said the committee was eyeing May 15 for Mueller to testify. The committee did not immediately respond to Cicilline’s comments.

The White House, Cicilline said in the Fox interview, has indicated it will not interfere with Mueller’s attempt to testify and “we hope that won’t change.”

Trump’s tweet — if interpreted by the attorney general as a direct order to stifle Mueller’s testimony — could set up the most consequential legal battle of the entire special counsel’s probe: Whether executive privilege can be used to halt executive branch employees from testifying about their investigation into the president.

The president’s post also aggravates a partisan fight over Mueller’s findings that was already underway Sunday morning, when Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) criticized the special counsel for not revealing sooner that he found no evidence of a criminal conspiracy by the Trump campaign to aid the Kremlin’s meddling in the 2016 election.

“It couldn’t have taken Bob Mueller that long to find that out,” King told a New York radio show. “The reports we get are that they knew a year ago there was no collusion. Well, didn’t he have an obligation to tell the president of the United States that? To let the world know?”

Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney, later tweeted a news report on King’s comments, adding: “More evidence that Mueller probe was part of a political plan,ie., insurance policy, to remove or hurt ⁦@realDonaldTrump⁩. They failed because people wouldn’t lie.”

It is possible that Mueller could also soon appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee, after Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) asked him in a letter Friday whether he “would like to provide testimony regarding any misrepresentation” by Barr concerning an exchange he had with Mueller about the special counsel’s report.

Zachary Warmbrodt and Darren Samuelsohn contributed to this report.