WASHINGTON — House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., said Wednesday that he’s “confident” special counsel Robert Mueller will come speak to Congress soon, and that he’s prepared to issue a subpoena to bring him in, if necessary.
“Let's just say that I’m confident he’ll come in soon,” Nadler said when asked where things stand on the former special counsel's testimony.
Asked if he would need to issue a subpoena to compel Mueller's testimony, Nadler said: “We may. We will if we have to” — and suggested that he won’t wait too much longer to take that action.
“He has said ... he's willing to come and testify, make an opening statement and then testify only behind closed doors. We're not willing to do that,” Nadler said about Mueller. “We want him to testify openly. I think the American people need that. I think, frankly, it's his duty to the American people. And we'll make that happen.”
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Ever since the 448-page redacted report was released in April, lawmakers have been in talks with Mueller so that he could testify before Congress publicly. But when Mueller spoke publicly for the first time about the Russia investigation last week, he indicated that he did not want to testify before Congress. “I hope and expect that this is the only time that I will speak to you in this manner,” he said then.
“There has been discussion about an appearance before Congress. Any testimony from this office will not go beyond our report. It contains our findings and analysis and the reasons for the decisions we made,” he added. “The work speaks for itself. The report is my testimony.”
Nadler, for his part, has stopped short of calling for an impeachment inquiry, like half the members of the Democrats on his Judiciary Committee have. On Wednesday, he told reporters about impeachment, “I don't know about inevitable, but it's quite, it's quite possible.”
Pelosi also weighed in on impeachment at her weekly press conference Wednesday, in which she appeared to dismissed criticism about why she’s still wavering on the idea.
“Make no mistake. We know exactly what path we’re on. We know exactly what actions we need to take. And while that may take more time than some people might want it to take, I respect their impatience,” she said.
She added that she travels often throughout the country and said that most people don’t know how the impeachment process works and have the wrong impression about the outcome.
“Do you know most people think that impeachment means you’re out of office? Did you ever get that feeling or are you just in the bubble here?” she said to reporters. “They think that you can impeach, you’re gone. And that is completely not true. I may have thought that myself ... 50 years ago.
"You get impeached and it’s an indictment. When you’re impeaching somebody, you want to make sure you have the strongest possible indictment. Because it’s not the means to the end people think. ... All you do, you impeach, bye, bye birdie. It isn’t that. It’s an indictment.”
Pelosi also suggested that the tariffs President Donald Trump has threatened to impose on Mexico are meant to distract from the Mueller report and Democratic investigative efforts.
“Let’s face what it is: It’s a distraction from the Mueller report. And it served its purpose, here we are,” she said.