WASHINGTON - Donald Trump looked to forestall perhaps the most keenly awaited event in Washington in decades — a congressional hearing with special counsel Robert Mueller — saying “Bob Mueller should not testify. No redos for the Dems!”
The president’s comment, in a pair of Twitter postings on Sunday, came hours after a Democratic member of the House Judiciary Committee said that a “tentative date” of May 15 had been set for testimony by the former FBI director to discuss his investigation into the 2016 election.
“We hope the special counsel will appear,” Rep. David Cicilline of Rhode Island, said on “Fox News Sunday.” “We think the American people have a right to hear directly from him.”
Democrats have been eager for Mueller to testify since last month, when his report on Russian election interference and Trump’s subsequent actions to squelch the investigation became public.
An appearance by Mueller, 74, whose public utterances during the two-year investigation consisted of court filings, would promise to be a dramatic day in the nation’s capital, with Democrats pushing him to expand on his inability to exonerate Trump on obstruction of justice and his differences with Attorney General William Barr over the presentation of his findings.
Cicilline said a Mueller representative has agreed to the appearance, “but obviously until the date comes, we never have an absolute guarantee.” In a later tweet, the lawmaker clarified that the committee had proposed the date “but nothing has been agreed to yet.”
The committee’s chairman, Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York, had previously said he was hoping for an appearance by Mueller on that date.
Trump wondered if Democrats were “looking for a redo because they hated seeing the strong NO COLLUSION conclusion.”
“The White House has so far indicated they would not interfere with Mr. Mueller’s attempt to testify,” Cicilline said during his Fox appearance.
He also said that if Barr doesn’t comply with the committee’s demands for Mueller’s report and underlying documents by the Monday 9 a.m. EDT deadline, he thinks Nadler “will ask the committee to move forward with a contempt citation.”