In what represented the latest piece of sabre-rattling from Democrats seeking to scrutinise an administration trying to put up the shutters, congressman Jerry Nadler told reporters he was confident the special counsel would appear on Capitol Hill, though it will not take place next week, as had originally been anticipated.
“We’re talking to the department of justice. We’re talking to Mueller. Hopefully he will come in. It won’t be next week,” said Mr Nadler, chair of the House of Representative’s judiciary committee.
Mr Nadler said he and his colleagues were hoping not to have to issue a witness summons to force the former FBI Director come to testify about his two-year investigation into Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign, but that they were prepared to do so if required.
He added: “He will come at some point. If necessary, we will subpoena him and he will come.”
Following the release of Mr Mueller’s report, which said it found no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia but did not exonerate the president on the question of potential obstruction of justice, Democrats have been seeking to obtain documents they say are being denied to them, and testimony from White House officials.
They requested an unredacted copy of Mr Mueller’s report from William Barr, the attorney general who, with his deputy, decided the report did not make a clear case for indicting Mr Trump for obstruction of justice. They were turned down.
They have also sought the testimony of former White House counsel Don McGahn. Mr Nadler repeated plans to hold Mr McGahn in contempt if he does not appear before the committee to testify on May 21 under an existing subpoena.
“He knows that if he doesn't testify on the 21st without a court order, which he won't get, he'll be subject to a contempt citation,” he said.
The White House earlier this week had directed Mr McGahn not to comply with an earlier summons, or to provide documents.
Last month, Mr Barr cut short his testimony on Capitol Hill after it was revealed Democrats wanted to have him quizzed by lawyers as well as legislators.
Mr Trump previously said he believed Mr Mueller ought not to testify, but this week changed his stance, claiming the decision was up to Mr Barr.
Additional reporting by Reuters
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