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Mueller to Testify Before House Panels 06/26 06:12

   Special counsel Robert Mueller has agreed to testify publicly before 
Congress on July 17 after Democrats issued subpoenas to compel him to appear, 
the chairmen of two House committees announced.

   WASHINGTON (AP) -- Special counsel Robert Mueller has agreed to testify 
publicly before Congress on July 17 after Democrats issued subpoenas to compel 
him to appear, the chairmen of two House committees announced.

   Mueller's unusual back-to-back testimony in front of the House Judiciary and 
the Intelligence committees is likely to be the most highly anticipated 
congressional hearing in years, particularly given Mueller's resolute silence 
throughout his two-year investigation into Russian contacts with President 
Donald Trump's campaign . Mueller never responded to angry, public attacks from 
Trump, nor did he ever personally join his prosecutors in court or make 
announcements of criminal charges from the team.

   His sole public statement came from the Justice Department podium last month 
as he announced his departure, when he sought to explain his decision to not 
indict Trump or to accuse him of criminal conduct. He also put lawmakers on 
notice that he did not ever intend to say more than what he put in the 448-page 
report.

   "We chose those words carefully and the work speaks for itself," Mueller 
said May 29. "I would not provide information beyond what is already public in 
any appearance before Congress."

   Those remarks did little to settle the demands for his testimony. The two 
committees continued negotiations that had already been going on for weeks, 
saying they still wanted to hear from Mueller no matter how reluctant he was.

   "When you accept the role of special counsel in one of the most significant 
investigations in modern history you're going to have to expect that you're 
going to be asked to come and testify before Congress," House Intelligence 
Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., told reporters shortly after the 
announcement.

   Trump himself simply tweeted, "Presidential Harassment!"

   In the report issued in April, Mueller concluded there was not enough 
evidence to establish a conspiracy between Trump's presidential campaign and 
Russia, which was the original question that started the investigation. But he 
also said he could not exonerate Trump on obstruction of justice. The report 
examined several episodes in which Trump attempted to influence the 
investigation.

   Democrats say it is now the job of Congress to assess the report's findings. 
Lawmakers are likely to confront Mueller on why he did not come to a firm 
conclusion on obstruction of justice. They are also likely to seek his reaction 
to a drumbeat of incessant criticism from the president and ask for his 
personal opinion about whether Trump would have been charged were he not the 
commander-in-chief.

   Schiff and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler said they 
issued the subpoenas Tuesday, and Mueller agreed to testify pursuant to those 
subpoenas. In a letter to Mueller accompanying the subpoenas, the committee 
chairmen said "the American public deserves to hear directly from you about 
your investigation and conclusions."

   Schiff said there will be two hearings "back to back," one for each 
committee, and they will also meet with Mueller's staff in closed session 
afterward.

   The Justice Department declined to comment.

   Republicans have criticized Democrats for their continuing investigations of 
the president. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., questioned why 
they would still want to hear from Mueller after the lengthy report was issued. 
"He said he didn't want to talk to us anymore, didn't he?"

   But Georgia Rep. Doug Collins, the top Republican on the Judiciary panel, 
has said he has no objections to Mueller's testimony.

   "May this testimony bring to House Democrats the closure that the rest of 
America has enjoyed for months, and may it enable them to return to the 
business of legislating," Collins said.


(CZ)

 
 
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