Mueller Agrees to Testify Before House Judiciary Committee on May 15

Trump said it will be up to Barr to decide whether Special Counsel Robert Mueller, author of the report on Russian interference in the 2016 USA election, will testify to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which wants to hear from him.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi accused the top law-enforcement officer in the USA of committing a crime by lying to Congress, escalating the showdown between Donald Trump's administration and the Democrats investigating him.

This week, Barr balked at testifying before a Democrat-run House committee.

The committee has been seeking to hear from Mueller amid disagreements about whether Attorney General William Barr mischaracterized the special counsel's report in his congressional testimony and statements.

Partisan Democrats, undeterred, made a spectacle of the hearing by placing a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken in the empty chair.

Trump told reporters in the Oval Office last week that testimony from Mueller was "up to our attorney general".

Additionally, President Trump and top White House officials - who have been pleased with Barr's handling of the Mueller situation and his testimony before the Senate this week - have instructed surrogates to go out and defend Barr as much as possible.

Barr defended the president and ignored the people, according to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

House Democrats are treating the report as a guide book for more investigations.

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The veteran Washington lawyer, 68, encouraged hopes that, under his leadership, the Justice Department would shake off the taint of politicization in the first two years of Trump's presidency. The effort to dismiss the Mueller report's findings could also put Nunes and Jordan at odds with other members of the GOP, who have accepted Mueller's work as a legitimate record of events.

But Barr, who called Mueller's letter "a little bit snitty", said Mueller's reaction was different in a follow-up phone conversation. Nor would it guarantee criminal charges against Barr: House approval of the contempt citation would send a criminal referral to the USA attorney for the District of Columbia, a Justice Department official who is likely to defend the attorney general.

"I think we are truly in a new phase of this entire situation, that is deeply, deeply destructive to the Constitution, and the foundations of our democracy", she said Thursday.

Barr appeared to testify, both in House and Senate committees in April, that he was unaware of any misgivings Mueller had over his four-page summary.

Barr sat in front of Congress and told lawmakers Mueller and his team didn't object to his four-page summary.

Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd sent a letter to Nadler earlier in the week declaring that Congress was not entitled to the information because the committee's request was "not legitimate oversight". Barr testified on the Justice Department's investigation of Russian interference with the 2016 presidential election.

The contempt threat comes a day after Barr skipped a Judiciary panel hearing on Mueller's report amid a dispute over how Barr would be questioned.

Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler said Barr's no-show followed a dispute between House Democrats and Barr over whether Barr would publicly face questions from committee staff attorneys.

  • Sonia Alvarado