Mueller won't testify next week, says US House Judiciary chair

Jerrod Nadler says Mueller won't appear before his panel next week, despite the hope that he'd testify on May 15.

     Special Counsel Robert Mueller delivered his report on alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election to William Barr in March [Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images/AFP]
    Special Counsel Robert Mueller delivered his report on alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election to William Barr in March [Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images/AFP]

    US Special Counsel Robert Mueller will not testify before Congress next week, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler said on Friday.

    Nadler told reporters that he hopes not to have to subpoena Mueller to appear before members of Congress, but that he would do so if necessary. He declined to characterise ongoing negotiations between his committee, Mueller and the Justice Department.

    "We're talking to the Department of Justice. We're talking to Mueller. Hopefully, he will come in. It won't be next week," the New York Democrat said. "He will come at some point. If necessary, we will subpoena him and he will come."

    The House Judiciary Committee has never set a date for Mueller to testify, but members have spoken tentatively about May 15.

    Nadler reiterated plans to hold former White House Counsel Don McGahn in contempt if he does not appear before the committee to testify on May 21 under an existing subpoena.

    "He knows that if he doesn't testify on the 21st without a court order, which he won't get, he'll be subject to a contempt citation," the chairman said. 

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    The White House earlier this week had directed McGahn not to comply with an earlier summons.

    House Democrats are seeking Mueller's testimony as part of a number of investigations launched in the wake of his report released on April 30. The Mueller probe, which lasted more than two years, was examining allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election and potential obstruction by President Donald Trump and his campaign.

    Mueller's team of prosecutors detailed extensive contacts between Trump's campaign and Moscow but concluded there was insufficient evidence to show a criminal conspiracy between Russia and the campaign. They also outlined several instances in which the president tried to impede the special counsel's investigation, but avoided a conclusion on whether or not Trump obstructed justice.

    US Attorney General William Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein subsequently concluded Trump did not break the law.

    Nadler's comments on Friday come two days after the House Judiciary Committee voted to hold Barr in contempt for failing to produce the full, unredacted Mueller report. The next step is a full House vote. 

    SOURCE: News agencies