Update, Sunday 3:16 p.m. ET: President Donald Trump unsurprisingly has weighed in on this issue on Twitter. The most “transparent” president in the history of transparency says Special Counsel Robert Mueller should not testify before Congress.
“Bob Mueller should not testify. No redos for the Dems!” Trump tweeted.
Update, Sunday, 1:42 p.m. ET: Rep. David N. Cicilline has walked back his comments on Fox News Sunday about Special Counsel Robert Mueller testifying before the House Judiciary Committee on May 15.
After several news outlets reported on the tentative date, Cicilline tweeted: “Just to clarify: we are aiming to bring Mueller in on the 15th, but nothing has been agreed to yet. That’s the date the Committee has proposed, and we hope the Special Counsel will agree to it. Sorry for the confusion.”
Here’s an idea: Perhaps hold off dropping such a headline-grabbing bit of news until you actually have a date nailed down? Just a thought.
Original post continues here:
As it now stands, May 15 is the date that Special Counsel Robert Mueller will appear before the House Judiciary Committee to testify about his investigation of Russian interference in U.S. elections and the president’s efforts to obstruct that probe.
Lawmakers also are expected to question him about Attorney General William Barr’s handling of Mueller’s 448-page report, including whether Barr misled the public and Congress about Mueller’s findings.
The date was announced on Sunday by Rep. David N. Cicilline, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, who appeared on Fox News Sunday.
Cicilline said a representative for Mueller agreed to the May 15 appearance, but “until the date comes, we never have an absolute guarantee.”
Cicilline also defended the decision by Democratic members of the committee to have legislative staff counsel question Barr at a hearing last Thursday. Barr used the hearing’s format as an excuse to not show up.
“He’s a master at evading,” Cicilline told Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace, referring to Barr. “And when you have five minutes that you go back and forth, Republican and Democrat, you sometimes can’t dig deep enough and really have follow-up questions.”
Barr did appear before the Republican-led Senate Judiciary Committee last Wednesday, which followed the five-minute format of questioning by lawmakers. Even so, Sen. Kamala Harris was able to trip up Barr when she asked if anyone in the White House had suggested or asked Barr to investigate anyone, particularly Donald Trump’s political enemies.
Barr, who had successfully dodged most of the other questions that day, couldn’t find a way around Harris’ questions, leaving him “trying to grapple with the word ‘suggest. ’”
Based on that exchange, Harris sent a letter to the Justice Department’s Inspector General seeking an investigation into whether Barr “has received or acted upon requests or suggestions, whether implied or explicit, to investigate the President’s perceived enemies.”
“Why is the attorney general afraid to come before the House Judiciary? What is he hiding?” Cicilline said on Sunday.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler this week gave Barr yet another deadline to submit to Congress an unredacted version of the Mueller report, along with underlying evidence. Barr has until 9 a.m. on Monday morning to do so.
What will happen if Barr blows off that subpoena, too? Cicilline said, “I think if the attorney general does not [comply with the subpoena], the chairman will ask the committee to move forward with a contempt citation.”
It’s unclear what type of contempt citation Nadler would invoke, but a misdemeanor criminal contempt citation would require a full vote in the House after passing committee, USA Today noted.
If approved, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would then turn it over to the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, whose office would need to call a grand jury, the newspaper said. But there’s a catch: The Justice Department, which Barr heads, decides whether or not to prosecute criminal contempt.
Another route is to seek a civil judgment in the courts, which is a lengthy process that could take months or years.
Lawmakers also could order that Barr be jailed until he provides the subpoenaed documents, but that hasn’t happened since the early 20th century.