Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) is urging Robert Mueller to testify in public following reports that the special counsel was pushing for a closed-door appearance with members of Congress in negotiations with House Democrats.
“I understand that Mr. Mueller doesn’t want it to become a media circus if he decides to testify, but the American public has a right to hear directly from him,” Kennedy said in a statement released by his office on Tuesday. “His investigation cost the American taxpayers more than $25 million. They don’t want a filtered version of his testimony spun by members of Congress with partisan agendas.”
Democrats have been trying to get Mueller to testify before congressional committees in the wake of his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. They’d also like to hear directly from Mueller about his reasons for not making a prosecutorial judgment on whether President Donald Trump obstructed justice as the probe proceeded.
Most Republicans, however, say it’s time to move on from the special counsel’s investigation, calling it an expensive waste of resources that ultimately exonerated Trump. (That is not, in fact, what the report says.) Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), for example, declared “case closed” on the Mueller report earlier this month.
But Kennedy, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, maintains that the public would benefit from hearing from Mueller himself ― even though he agrees with his colleagues who say Trump and his campaign did nothing wrong.
“I have great confidence in the American people,” Kennedy said in the statement. “They may not read Aristotle every day because they’re busy earning a living and raising their children, but they have good judgment. Let them hear his full testimony and draw their own conclusions.”
Mueller would prefer to make only his opening statement before the public, according to House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.). Nadler surmised in an interview on MSNBC earlier this month that the special counsel “doesn’t want to participate in anything that he might regard as a political spectacle.”