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Special Counsel Robert Mueller To Testify Before House Committees Next Month


Former special counsel Robert Mueller has agreed to testify publicly before the House Judiciary Committee next month. That's according to the committee's chair, Democrat Jerry Nadler. NPR's Ryan Lucas joins us now to talk about this big development. Hi, Ryan.


SHAPIRO: Nadler just announced this in the last hour. Tell us what happened.

LUCAS: So yeah, Nadler, who's the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, and Adam Schiff, the Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Committee - they put out a statement saying that Robert Mueller has indeed agreed to testify. Now, this is something that the committees have been in talks with Mueller about for weeks. Ultimately this agreement came in response to subpoenas that the committees issued to compel Mueller to come forward and testify. As you noted, this will be in public. It will be before journalists and certainly a packed hearing room and, importantly, TV cameras. It's scheduled to take place on July 17.

Schiff and Nadler said that Americans have demanded to hear directly from Mueller so that they can understand what Mueller and his office looked at, what they found out, what they determined about Russia's interference in the 2016 election and, you know, what they've also discovered about Trump campaign's acceptance of help, as they talked about it, from Russia and the president's alleged obstruction of the investigation.

SHAPIRO: Are there any parameters for the testimony or limitations on what Mueller will be able to talk about?

LUCAS: You know, it's not entirely clear at this point. Schiff and Nadler said in the letter that they put out after they announced this that they understand about sensitivities around ongoing investigations. Remember; there are about a dozen investigations that were kind of spun out of Mueller's central Russia probe. We don't know what those are about in Mueller's long 448-page report. Those were redacted, so we don't know what those investigations are about.

The committee chairman said that they will work with Mueller to address his legitimate concerns about preserving the integrity of his work in the investigation. So we don't know whether certain things are kind of off-limits at this point in time. It's just not clear.

SHAPIRO: Mueller has publicly said that his testimony is in the report. He spent two years conducting this investigation, put out this very lengthy, partially redacted report. What more can we expect to learn from testimony?

LUCAS: You know, that's a good question. Mueller has only spoken once publicly about the investigation. That was a news conference that he gave in May. As you noted, he made clear then that he did not want to get dragged into the political fight. He didn't want to testify before Congress. The report is my testimony, he said. And he said quite explicitly, I would not provide information beyond that which is already public in any appearance before Congress.

But we may not learn anything new, but for Democrats, this is a big get. They really wanted to get Mueller to testify before the cameras, before the public. This allows them to kind of bring everything that is in the Mueller report, even if he's just stating those things again, and put it before the American public.

SHAPIRO: That's NPR's Ryan Lucas. Thanks, Ryan.

LUCAS: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.