The House Judiciary Committee plans to hold a series of hearings on special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, beginning next week with former Nixon White House counsel John Dean, a key witness during Watergate, as the question of Mueller himself testifying still looms.
The committee announced that Dean, a CNN contributor, and other experts would testify next week, and additional hearings would be held as part of an effort to highlight the findings of the Mueller report as Democrats grapple with whether to launch an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.
When Mueller made a statement on his report last week, he said he did not wish to testify before Congress, but House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler has said he still wants the special counsel to appear.
“Given the threat posed by the President’s alleged misconduct, our first hearing will focus on President Trump’s most overt acts of obstruction,” Nadler said in a statement announcing the hearing with Dean. “In the coming weeks, other hearings will focus on other important aspects of the Mueller report.”
The committee hearings come as more than 50 Democrats have now said they back beginning an impeachment inquiry, including more than a dozen who did so after Mueller’s announcement last week.
But that’s still a minority of the House Democratic caucus, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has stood firm that Democrats need to have the public on their side before they take up impeachment.
Nadler has also not yet said he supports beginning an impeachment inquiry.
“The American people right now do not support it because they don’t know the story,” Nadler said last week on WNYC’s “The Brian Lehrer Show.” “They don’t know the facts. We have to get the facts out, we have to hold a series of hearings, we have to hold the investigations.”
Nadler and other Democratic committee chairmen have been frustrated by the White House’s resistance to their investigations, including blocking former officials from testifying before the panel.
Nadler is now threatening to hold former White House Counsel Don McGahn – a key voice in the Mueller report – in contempt for not testifying last month, and he’s issued subpoenas to former White House communications director Hope Hicks and former McGahn deputy Annie Donaldson to appear later this month.
But in lieu of hearing directly from the officials who were cited in the Mueller report, Nadler is now turning to bringing in other officials like Dean to try to shine a spotlight on the special counsel’s report.