Calls for Mueller’s Public Testimony Intensify After It’s Revealed That He Wants to Avoid ‘Political Spectacle’

Mueller Amy Berman Jackson grilled Manafort authority

Demands for Special Counsel Robert Mueller to testify publicly before Congress have only increased after it was claimed that Mueller isn’t interested in participating in something he might consider a “political spectacle.”

In case you missed it, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) said Thursday night that it is his understanding that Mueller “doesn’t want to participate in anything that he might regard as a political spectacle.” This is to say, Mueller doesn’t want a live hearing.

We already knew that Mueller and House Democrats were experiencing difficulties when it comes to agreeing on the parameters of possible testimony on Capitol Hill.

The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that Mueller wants his public testimony to only cover subjects that come from his publicly issued Russia report. Democrats, of course, want to question Mueller about whether he thinks Trump obstructed justice and to determine what the special counsel thought of Attorney General William Barr‘s handling of Mueller’s report. Last month, it was revealed that Mueller sent a letter to Barr outlining that he thought Barr’s letter summarizing the report could undermine the public’s confidence in the investigation.

As CNBC noted, Mueller is interested in making an opening statement in public. Nadler said, however, that even if Mueller were to testify in private that testimony would still go public.

“We’re saying we think it’s important for the American people to hear from him and to hear his answers to questions about the report,” Nadler added.

In any event, this back-and-forth between Nadler and Mueller has only resulted in more people demanding that Mueller testify in public — “period.”

“Robert Mueller Needs to Testify in Front of the American People. Period,” blared a Friday Esquire headline on the matter.

Former SNDY U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, for one, offered the same response.

It will be interesting to see how this dispute is resolved, and whether Mueller will budge on this position.

Some have argued that if Mueller is permitted to testify behind closed doors, a transcript would be about as widely read as the Mueller Report (which is to say, not widely read). Others have characterized Mueller’s resistance to testifying at a live hearing as a commentary of sorts on House Democrats’ behavior of late.

[Image via Saul Loeb and AFP and Getty Images]

Matt Naham is managing editor of Law&Crime. He formerly worked as news editor and weekend editor at Rare.

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