Special Envoy Robert Mueller has agreed to testify before Congress on July 17 on his investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, the House Judiciary Committee and the House Intelligence Committee said Tuesday night.
In a joint statement, House House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler and House House Intelligence Secretary Adam Schiff stated that Müller had agreed to testify in an open session. He and his team examined, uncovered, and identified Russia's attack on our democracy, the acceptance and use of this aid by the Trump campaign, and the obstruction of the investigation into this attack by President Trump and his staff. "
The committees issued summonses on Tuesday to force Mueller's statement, the joint statement said. The decision to force Mueller to testify is a milestone that will put an end to a months-long saga on Capitol Hill, where legislators have been struggling for weeks to gain access to information about whether President Trump is obstructing justice.
Part of the congressional efforts that have taken place in recent months have been to request documents relating to the president and to summon former Trump officials to testify about their time working with the president. However, the White House has set the strategy to block Congress at every step, to exercise the executive's privilege and to prevent former officials and officials from testifying.
Democratic aides have told The Daily Beast in recent months that they could at least persuade Müller to testify publicly about the report if all else fails. "That's all we need," said one adjutant earlier this month, adding that Democrats could win if the former special adviser answered questions on the report in a public atmosphere. "Most Americans have not read the Müller report," said another adjutant.
But the negotiations to include Müller in Congress proved more difficult than some legislators had expected. On Tuesday, the committees Müller wrote in a letter that they had "consistently communicated" their intention to issue summons, if necessary. "We now understand that it is necessary to do this," the letter said, while recognizing the former Special Representative's preference not to testify before the Congress.
"Nevertheless, the American public deserves to hear directly from you their inquiries and conclusions," the letter says.
The Committee has been working with the Ministry of Justice in negotiating conditions for Muller's performance in recent weeks The negotiations were prolonged in part because of Müller's announcement to leave the Ministry of Justice and retire to private life, and in his press conference last month announcing his resignation, Müller said he did not want to appear before the congress.
"I hope and expect that this is the only time I will speak to you in this way, I will make that decision myself. No one has told me if I can or should testify or continue to speak," said Mueller at the time in a prepared opinion. "There were discussions about a performance before Congress this position would not go beyond our report. It contains our findings and analyzes as well as the reasons for the decisions we have made. We carefully selected these words and the work speaks for itself. And the report is my testimony. "
But the press conference of Müller made the legislature on Capitol Hill ask for more. In his statement, Mueller also said: "If we had the confidence that the President clearly did not commit any crime, we would have said so too."
This remark sparked a firestorm of demands by the Democrats on the Hill, stating that the House went on to impeach and said that Mueller's dismissal of Trump was what they needed to move ahead. (Mueller and his team had also written in the report that they could not free the president from misconduct.)
The negotiations on the possible occurrence of Mueller were initially conducted between the Judiciary Commission and representatives of the DOJ. After a few weeks, the committee began working directly with Müller. Negotiations included extensive talks about how Muller would testify, including the possibility that he would appear behind closed doors.