“It’s Bob’s call whether he wants to testify,” Barr told The Wall Street Journal Wednesday while traveling to El Salvador for a meeting about gang violence. “I’m trying to break away from Washington and do the real work of the attorney general.”
The Democratic-controlled House Judiciary Committee is seeking Mueller’s testimony about his far-reaching investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether President Donald Trump obstructed justice as the probe proceeded.
Democrats have accused Barr, whom Trump appointed to head the Justice Department in December, of spinning the special counsel’s report in favor of the president. Though Mueller stopped short of charging Trump with a crime, he outlined 10 instances of possible obstruction by the president.
Trump has said he will let Barr decide whether Mueller can testify before the House panel, though he tweeted earlier this month that he does not believe the special counsel should do so.
“There was no crime,” Trump tweeted. “Bob Mueller should not testify. No redos for the Dems!”
Barr has consistently said he has no objection to Mueller testifying.
House Democrats told The Daily Beast last month that Mueller had been willing to appear, but that the Justice Department was reluctant to set a date.
Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, sent a letter to the Justice Department last month requesting Mueller testify no later than May 23.
“We will subpoena him if we have to,” Nadler told CNN this month. “I certainly hope it doesn’t come to” that.
Democrats have threatened to hold Barr in contempt of Congress if he doesn’t comply with their subpoena for the release of a complete, unredacted version of Mueller’s 448-page report and underlying evidence from the investigation.