Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office and senior Justice Department officials are still debating with the House Judiciary Committee how much of his expected congressional testimony will be in public, and it is not clear whether the DOJ or Mueller himself are balking over whether he should appear on national television.
The Washington Post, quoting people familiar with the matter, reports the DOJ is deferring to Mueller because he wants discussions beyond what’s in his report that’s been released publicly to be held behind closed doors.
However, another source said the DOJ, not Mueller, wants his testimony, if it happens, to be in a closed hearing.
Democrats, led by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, want to hear from Mueller directly if he thinks President Donald Trump should be charged with obstruction, and if he agrees with how Attorney General William Barr acted on the findings in his report.
According to Mueller’s report, there was no collusion between Trump’s 2016 campaign team and Russia to influence the election. Mueller did not reach a conclusion, however, on whether Trump and his associates obstructed justice. Instead, the report lists evidence that Barr and then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein determined was not enough to launch a prosecution.
Democrats also want information a letter Mueller sent to Barr, accusing him of not presenting “the context, nature, and substance” of his work in summary to lawmakers.
Barr said he called Mueller after he got his letter, and said the special counsel told him that his concern wasn’t with Barr’s accuracy, but that he “wanted more out there to provide additional context to explain his reasoning and why he didn’t reach a decision on obstruction.”