US President Donald Trump said Sunday that Special Counsel Robert Mueller “should not testify” before Congress on his Russia election meddling inquiry, setting up a confrontation with Democrats already irate over what they view as increasingly brazen administration stone-walling.
Trump’s statement represented a reversal; he had said two days earlier that he would leave the matter up to Attorney General William Barr, who had raised no objection to Mueller testifying.
“There was no crime, except on the other side (incredibly not covered in the Report), and NO OBSTRUCTION. Bob Mueller should not testify,” Trump tweeted.
“No re-dos for the Dems!” The report actually cited 10 “episodes” of potential obstruction of justice by the president, but it offered no verdict on whether he should be charged. Jerry Nadler, the Democratic chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, has invited Mueller to appear before the panel “no later than May 23” to testify about the findings of his 22-month-long investigation.
Trump’s comment might have been prompted by a remark earlier Sunday from a Democratic member of the committee, David Cicilline, who said on Fox that Mueller was tentatively set to testify on May 15.
Cicilline later stepped back from that, tweeting that “nothing has been agreed to yet.” Regardless, Trump’s tweet represented a hardening of his own position and seemed certain to infuriate Democrats already angered by administration moves to impede a series of congressional inquiries.