Democratic New York Rep. Jerry Nadler told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on Thursday that former special counsel Robert Mueller was ready to testify, but that he doesn’t want a public hearing.
Maddow asked Nadler about the possibility of getting Mueller to testify, noting that he had been silent and, for the most part, absent from the public view since his report was released.
“It’s been just over 60 days since Mueller’s investigation was ended and since he submitted his report. We have seen hide nor hair of Robert Mueller in that time. I don’t know where he is, I hope he’s well,” Maddow said, omitting the fact that one of her own colleagues had ambushed Mueller as he left Easter Sunday mass.
Nadler replied that the House Judiciary Committee, where Mueller was initially expected to testify in mid-May, was working to make arrangements that would be acceptable to all parties. (RELATED: Nadler Schedules Vote To Hold Barr In Contempt Of Congress)
“We want him to come in and testify,” Nadler said. “We want others to come in and testify. There are a lot of people who should come in and testify who the administration is saying they will not permit to testify … Mueller, he — I think I can say at this point, that he wants to testify in private.”
“Why?” Maddow asked.
“I don’t know why. He wants — he’s willing to make an opening statement but he wants to testify in private,” Nadler explained. “We’re saying he ought to — we think it’s important for the American people to hear from him and to hear his answers to questions about the report.”
Adding that there would be a transcript of Mueller’s testimony made available to the public, Nadler continued, “He envisions himself correctly as a man of great rectitude and apolitical and he doesn’t want to participate in anything that he might regard as a political spectacle, especially if Republicans on the committee start asking him questions about the beginning of the — about this stuff, the beginning of the investigation. I’m speculating really.”
Chaiman Nadler says Mueller is reluctant to testify because “he doesn’t want to participate in anything that he might regard as a political spectacle.” Why would the special counsel think the House Judiciary Committee has devolved into a stage for political spectacle? pic.twitter.com/BNtefSDpEC
— Rep. Doug Collins (@RepDougCollins) May 24, 2019
Public testimony would also restrict both Mueller and those asking him questions to refrain from addressing classified information — and many of the questions many still have are related to the redacted portions of Mueller’s report. Private testimony would allow both Mueller and the committee members more freedom to address those issues.