(Bloomberg) -- Donald Trump looked to forestall perhaps the most keenly-awaited event in Washington in decades -- a Congressional hearing with Special Counsel Robert Mueller -- saying “Bob Mueller should not testify. No redos for the Dems!”
The president’s comment, in a pair of Twitter postings on Sunday, came hours after a Democratic member of the House Judiciary Committee said that a “tentative date” of May 15 had been set for testimony by the former FBI director to discuss his investigation into the 2016 election.
“We hope the special counsel will appear,” Representative David Cicilline of Rhode Island, said on “Fox News Sunday.” “We think the American people have a right to hear directly from him.”
Democrats have been eager for Mueller to testify at least since last month, when his report on Russian election interference and Trump’s subsequent actions to squelch the investigation became public.
An appearance by Mueller, 74, whose public utterances during the two-year investigation consisted of court filings, would promise to be a dramatic day in the nation’s capital, with Democrats pushing him to expand on his inability to exonerate Trump on obstruction of justice and his differences with Attorney General William Barr over the presentation of his findings.
Cicilline said a Mueller representative has agreed to the appearance, “but obviously until the date comes, we never have an absolute guarantee.” In a later tweet, the lawmaker clarified that the committee had proposed the date “but nothing has been agreed to yet.”
The committee’s chairman, Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, had previously said he was hoping for an appearance by Mueller on that date.
Trump wondered if Democrats were “looking for a redo because they hated seeing the strong NO COLLUSION conclusion.”
“The White House has so far indicated they would not interfere with Mr. Mueller’s attempt to testify,” Cicilline said during his Fox appearance -- before Trump’s tweets opposing Mueller’s testimony.
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer responded to Trump by saying in a tweet of his own that the president first refused to be interviewed by the special counsel and “now he’s trying to silence” Mueller. During the investigation, Trump provided written answers to Mueller but didn’t agree to be interviewed in person.
“For a man who constantly proclaims his innocence, @realDonaldTrump is acting awfully guilty,” Schumer said, directing his comment to Trump’s Twitter handle. “Mueller must testify publicly before Congress.”
Democratic Representative Adam Schiff of California, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said Trump also is opposing having former White House counsel Don McGahn -- a prominent witness in Mueller’s report -- appear before Congress.
“Barr’s testimony alone -- designed to protect Trump -- isn’t going to cut it,” Schiff said in a tweet. “They will testify. The American people deserve the truth.”
Cicilline also said that if Barr doesn’t comply with the committee’s demands for Mueller’s report and underlying documents by the Monday 9 a.m. EDT deadline, he thinks Nadler “will ask the committee to move forward with a contempt citation.”
(Updates with comments from Schumer, Schiff from 10th paragraph.)
--With assistance from Mark Niquette.
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