WASHINGTON — The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee says special counsel Robert Mueller won’t appear before his panel next week, despite the committee’s hope that Mueller would testify May 15.
New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler said Friday that negotiations continue with Mueller and the Justice Department about the testimony. He wouldn’t characterize those talks.
Nadler said he expects Mueller to appear, and if he won’t agree the committee will attempt to compel him.
“If necessary we’ll subpoena him and he’ll come,” Nadler said.
The negotiations over Mueller’s appearance come as Democrats are clashing with the Justice Department over access to Mueller’s full report on the Trump-Russia investigation. The Judiciary panel on Wednesday voted to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress after he defied the committee’s subpoena for an unredacted version of the report.
The next step for holding Barr in contempt is a vote on the House floor. With Democrats sending several subpoenas to the Trump administration, including two on Friday for President Donald Trump’s tax returns, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested they could wait and combine several contempt resolutions into one package. Trump has said he will fight “all the subpoenas.”
On Friday, Nadler sent a new letter to Barr signaling that he was still willing to negotiate.
“Notwithstanding the president’s admitted intent to block all congressional subpoenas, this committee remains prepared to meet with the department to ascertain if accommodation can be reached,” Nadler wrote.
The Justice Department had no immediate response.
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