House Democrats have become more insistent that special counsel Robert Mueller testify before the House, even if that means issuing a subpoena to compel him to do so.
However, Mueller’s refusal to agree to a testimony is largely the result of his view that it could be seen as a politically motivated move, which certainly poses a risk for Democrats. Namely, if the special counsel decided to appear before a House committee, his move could be interpreted as divisive.
House Democrats are nonetheless adamant that they would like to see Mueller testify, saying that they are prepared to use whatever means necessary to achieve that goal.
“I think he will have to be subpoenaed,” said Representative Jackie Speier, a member of the House Intelligence Committee. “He’s critical. He basically made the case for obstruction of justice and we need to hear from him.”
Representative Steve Cohen echoed her comments, saying also that Mueller’s testimony had to be heard because of its immense importance for the American public.
Representative Jerry Nadler, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, has said on multiple occasions that his committee would subpoena Mueller if the special counsel does not appear willing to testify. He had previously set a tentative date for May 15 to hear Mueller’s testimony, but it is increasingly more likely that would happen somewhere in June.
A number of Democrats have accused Attorney General William Barr of hindering Mueller’s potential appearance before the House since the special counsel remains an employee of the Justice Department. It is possible that part of Mueller’s testimony will be delivered behind closed doors, said Representative Madeleine Dean, a member of the Judiciary Committee.
Yet, while many Democrats have publicly said they support subpoenaing Mueller, others have expressed wariness about such a move.
President Donald Trump has voiced strong opposition to the special counsel delivering a public testimony, which is why another possibility is that Mueller testifies after leaving the Justice Department.
Should Mueller agree to testify, Democrats are most likely to grill him on obstruction of justice, while Republicans on the origins of the Russia probe.