Washington, Jul 24: Former US Special Counsel Robert Mueller will publicly testify on Wednesday before the Judiciary and Intelligence panels of the US House of Representatives about the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Mueller’s testimony before the House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to begin at 8.30am local time (1230 GMT) and will last for three hours. After a brief recess, Mueller is scheduled to testify before the House Intelligence Committee at noon.
In his highly anticipated though reluctant appearance, Mueller will face questions about his office’s examination of contacts between the Trump campaign and Russia and the obstruction-of-justice inquiry that investigated President Donald Trump’s efforts to curtail the special counsel’s investigation itself.
This will be the first time Mueller has publicly answered questions about the investigation. Mueller previously gave a statement to the press in May when he closed the special counsel’s office, but he did not take questions. Mueller said during the same press conference that if he was called to testify, he would not offer any information beyond the confines of the report. "The report is my testimony," Mueller said. The chairmen of the two committees hope Mueller will disclose more substantial information than what was in a report released by the special counsel’s office in April.
"All members - Democrats and Republicans - of both committees will have a meaningful opportunity to question the Special Counsel in public and the American people will finally have an opportunity to hear directly from Mueller about what his investigation has uncovered," committee chairman Jerry Nadler and Adam Schiff said in a joint statement earlier this month.
However, President Donald Trump continues to characterize the special counsel’s investigation as a “witch hunt” and also criticized Mueller for agreeing to testify in Congress after concluding the probe, saying the testimony will not yield any new information.
"Highly conflicted Robert Mueller should not be given another bite at the apple. In the end it will be bad for him and the phony Democrats in Congress who have done nothing but waste time on this ridiculous Witch Hunt. Result of the Mueller Report, NO COLLUSION, NO OBSTRUCTION!" Trump tweeted on Monday.
Mueller concluded his 22-month investigation in March by submitting a report to Attorney General William Barr. The report stated that there was no evidence that Trump's campaign conspired with the Russian government during the presidential election, but didn't conclude if the president had obstructed justice. (UNI)