Robert Mueller’s investigation may be complete, but House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff says the special counsel owes one final duty to the nation: congressional testimony.
“Bob Mueller has one more service to provide to the country, much as he appears reluctant to do so, and that is he really should testify before the Congress,” the California Democrat told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on “Anderson Cooper 360” on Wednesday night.
Earlier Wednesday, Mueller offered his first public remarks since the special counsel report’s release, largely reiterating his team’s written findings of extensive Russian election interference and emphasizing that his team would have cleared President Donald Trump of obstruction had they “had confidence that the President clearly did not commit a crime.”
Schiff implied that Mueller’s aversion to testifying before Congress stemmed from potential criticism from Trump.
“He clearly doesn’t want to, and you know, who can blame him at this point?” Schiff told Cooper. “He knows that he will be savaged by the White House for anything that he says that’s critical of the President and he wants to resist being drawn into this.”
Dive deep into the Mueller report
Mueller referred to his requested congressional appearance during his remarks Wednesday morning.
“There has been discussion about an appearance before Congress,” he said. “Any testimony from this office would not go beyond our report. It contains our findings and analysis, and the reasons for the decisions we made. We chose those words carefully, and the work speaks for itself.”
“The report is my testimony,” he added. “I would not provide information beyond that which is already public in any appearance before Congress.”
Schiff argued that Mueller’s testimony would make explicit, and ultimately hammer home, the points in the report.
“But if he wants his report to be fully understood – if he wants the seriousness of the allegations in the report about the Russian interference in our affairs, as well as a full understanding of all these connections between the Trump campaign and how they wished to make use of the Russian help – even if it fell short of that standard of the Department of Justice that they needed proof beyond a reasonable doubt in order to seek prosecution, then he ought to testify,” Schiff said.
“I think that’s the last duty that he’s called upon to make,” he added.
While investigating potential conspiracy between Trump associates and Russian actors, Mueller found that members of the Trump campaign knew they would benefit from Russia’s illegal actions to influence the election but didn’t take criminal steps to help.
CNN’s Jeremy Herb and Laura Jarrett contributed to this report.