The plan had been simple. After a dramatic reading of the Mueller Report, Fat Jerry Nadler’s committee was set to hear from Robert Mueller himself. This was to be a counterpoint to the contempt citation the House Judiciary Committee had voted on Attorney General Bill Barr over the refusal of the Department of Justice to deliver up a complete copy of Mueller’s report and the refusal by the White House to allow former White House Counsel Don McGahn testify. The narrative was supposed to be: Candid Saint Robert Mueller vs. the duplicitous Trump administration.
The wheels began to come off this past Wednesday. Originally, it had been reported that Mueller would testify on that date (see Mueller Agrees To Testify Before Congress But What Can He Say That Isn’t In His Report?). There had been sturm und drang, as with anything involving President Trump. Trump had said he did not want Mueller to testify, but he’d leave the matter up to Barr. Earlier this week, Barr said he had no objections to Mueller testifying.
Mysteriously, even with no legal or procedural impediment, Mueller elected to not testify an the earliest he will testify is next month. This even though Barr has seemed to throw down the gauntlet to Mueller by his direct criticism of Mueller’s unethical stunt of devoting half his report to allegedly investigating “obstruction” by President Trump and then failing to arrive at a conclusion.
House Democrats are backing away from plans to hold a blockbuster hearing this month with Robert Mueller after talks stalled out with the special counsel and his representatives.
Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) and a senior Democratic committee aide told POLITICO on Friday that there’s no Mueller hearing planned for next week, though that could also change at a moment’s notice if the special counsel said he’s ready to testify.
“I would assume not,” Nadler replied when asked whether Mueller would be appearing before the upcoming Memorial Day recess, which starts next Friday.
Some Democrats are saying they doubt that Mueller will ever testify:
Now, some frustrated Democrats say his testimony could slip into June, while others are beginning to doubt he’ll ever show, saying Mueller has no desire to become a political pawn in an ugly, partisan fight that’s become a proxy battle for the 2020 presidential race.
“He doesn’t want to be trashed by the Republicans,” said Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), who serves on the House Intelligence Committee and is close to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a fellow California Democrat.
“Does anyone want their reputation dragged through the mud falsely? You’ve seen Jim Jordan [R-Ohio] in action. He can handle his own, but they’ll ask questions like ‘Why didn’t you look at this, and why didn’t you look at that?’ I mean, talk about a thankless job,” Speier added.
It could be that Mueller just wants to say above the fray. It could be that Mueller wants to avoid the epic fiasco of having to take the Fifth during his testimony.
Right now the US Attorney for Conncticut, John Durham, has been tapped by the Attorney General to determine how the Russia hoax investigation came to be. One of the obvious lines of inquiry there will be what did Mueller know about the roots of the investigation, the provenance of the Steele Dossier, and the amazing coincidence that found him hiring a Hillary Clinton partisan, Andrew Weissmann, as his deputy an detailing to his team people who had been involved in pushing the Steele Dossier for months. What makes Durham’s investigation different from that of DOJ IG Michael Horowitz is that Durham is conducting a criminal investigation and if Mueller is a subject in that investigation, he’d be an idiot to allow the GOP members to put him on the hot seat. If Mueller knew, as I suspect he did from minutes after his appointment, that the dossier was fabricated then he owes the nation an answer as to why he didn’t announce it. There is really no good answer for why he continued to investigate allegations he knew to be bogus.