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Adam Schiff: Robert Mueller Didn’t Want to Testify to Congress But ‘Will Respect the Subpoena’

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow that Special Counsel Robert Mueller was reluctant to testify to Congress about his report on President Donald Trump and his campaign’s ties to Russian election interference but that he and his staff “will respect the subpoena” and appear before the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees.

The news of Mueller’s scheduled testimony sent shock waves through Washington and will no doubt be one of the most highly anticipated Congressional hearings in years. But if Mueller had his way, it would never happen.

“I don’t think the Special Counsel’s office would characterize it as a friendly subpoena. He did not want to testify. He made that very clear,” Schiff explained. “Nonetheless, they will respect the subpoena. He will appear. He’ll be testifying before our committee in open session. Each of our members will have an opportunity to ask questions of the Special Counsel. And the American people get a chance to hear directly from him and have their questions answered. So I think it’s a good result. July 17th is the date we expect him to appear.”

Maddow asked about the logistics of Mueller appearing before two different House committees. Schiff said the current plan was for Mueller alone to testify sequentially, first to one committee, then the other. This testimony, he added, will be “followed by private discussions or private testimony in executive session with his staff, but the open portions of the hearing will be back to back in the two committees.”

Mueller’s reluctance to appear before Congress was countered by the Special Counsel’s unique role as well as the controversial was the report was rolled out by the Justice Department, Schiff said.

“As Bob Mueller was the first to point out in his own report, he didn’t make a traditional prosecutorial judgement,” Schiff said. “We have taken it up in our referral and it’s important in our view we have an opportunity to flesh out what the Russians did, how they did it, what the role of the Trump campaign personnel were… where are the findings, all of these questions and a great many more the American people should have the opportunity to pose through their representatives to Mueller himself. We never felt it was sufficient to rely simply on a written report or a 10-minute statement without the ability to follow up with questions.”

Watch the video above, via MSNBC.

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