Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller arrives to make a statement about the Russia investigation on May 29, 2019 at the Justice Department.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller arrives to make a statement about the Russia investigation on May 29, 2019 at the Justice Department. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

"No Excuse Left": Critics Say Mueller Can't Wriggle Out of Testimony to House

 "The report isn't enough. Robert Mueller should testify before Congress."

Eoin Higgins

Robert Mueller may not want to testify to Congress about the findings of his two-year long probe into the President Donald Trump administration's relationship with Russia and the president's subsequent treatment of that investigation, but, as progressive commentators and advocacy groups pointed out Wednesday, that's not really for him to decide.

In remarks to the media Wednesday morning, Mueller said that he would prefer not to appear before Congress and that, if he was called to testify, he would simply repeat the findings of his 448-page report, delivered on April 18.

"There has been discussion about an appearance before Congress," said Mueller. "Any testimony from this office would not go beyond our report."

Mueller added that he was hesitant to testify based on his belief that doing so would be unseemly.

"I do not believe it is appropriate for me to speak further about the investigation or to comment on the actions of the Justice Department or Congress," Mueller said. 

In a statement, progressive advocacy group Common Cause called for Congress to subpoena Mueller anyway, citing the need to air the findings of the report in public, irrespective of Mueller's reluctance.

"It is time that the public hears from the source," said Common Cause president Karen Hobert Flynn. "Despite reports of Special Counsel Mueller's reservations about testifying publicly, we hope that he will weigh in because the American people deserve the unvarnished truth, not spin."

People for the American Way's senior legislative counsel Paul Gordon agreed, adding that the House should walk and chew gum by getting Mueller on record and continuing to look into the many issues surrounding the administration.

"The House Judiciary Committee should continue to work to bring Mr. Mueller before the body to answer reasonable questions about his report," said Gordon. "More broadly, at a time when the administration is openly defying congressional subpoenas, House committees must continue their investigations into the corruption and criminality around Trump and defend Congress against Trump's assault on the oversight powers of a co-equal branch of government."

Jeffrey Isaac, the James H. Rudy professor of political science at Indiana University, wrote in a column for Common Dreams Wednesday that Mueller's statement is irrelevant to the law. 

"He might not want to testify. He might truly believe that the report is his testimony," Isaac wrote. "But that is not for him to decide."

That point was echoed by Esquire's Charlie Pierce. In a column reviewing the special counsel's remarks, Pierce delivered a clear rebuke to Mueller's stated indifference to testifying. 

"He has no excuse left," wrote Pierce. "He is a private citizen now."

It's unclear whether or not Mueller will be subpoenaed. Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), who, as head of the House Judiciary Committee, has the power to subpoena the special counsel, was lukewarm and noncommittal to the prospect during comments Wednesday afternoon. 

"Mr. Mueller told us a lot of what we need to hear today," Nadler said in response to a reporter's question on whether or not the committee would subpoena Mueller. 

But, as The New Republic's Alex Shephard pointed out on Twitter, that's insufficient for Americans who want to hear from the special counsel. 

 "The report isn't enough," said Shephard. "Robert Mueller should testify before Congress."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

... We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Biden Drilling Report Blasted as 'Shocking Capitulation to the Needs of Corporate Polluters'

"Greenlighting more fossil fuel extraction, then pretending it's OK by nudging up royalty rates, is like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic," said one campaigner.

Jessica Corbett ·


UNESCO Members Adopt First Global AI Ethics Agreement 'To Benefit Humanity'

"We're at a critical juncture in history," said Ethics in Tech founder Vahid Razavi. "We need as humans to come together and decide what is the best course of action to take with these technologies before they surpass us in their abilities."

Brett Wilkins ·


Progressive US Lawmakers Mark Black Friday With Calls to Pass the PRO Act

"The right to organize, fight for better working conditions, and fair pay must always be protected."

Jessica Corbett ·


'We Are Fighting Back': Global Black Friday Strikes and Protests Seek to #MakeAmazonPay

"We are workers and activists divided by geography and our role in the global economy but united in our commitment to Make Amazon Pay fair wages, its taxes, and for its impact on the planet."

Kenny Stancil ·


'It Was Entirely Avoidable': Rich Countries Blamed as New Covid Variant Sparks Global Alarm

"Allowing new variants to emerge and spread, 13 months into the vaccine era, is a policy choice by the rich world."

Jake Johnson ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo