When Congressman David Cicilline stated a week ago that he was hoping Special Counsel Robert Mueller would testify before the House Judiciary Committee on May 15th, he stressed that this was merely a tentative date, and that Mueller had not yet agreed to it. Now Jerry Nadler, the committee chairman, is telling reporters that Mueller will not testify on the 15th. This is setting off a panic among some observers.
Does this mean that Donald Trump has magically found a way to prevent Robert Mueller from testifying? Absolutely not. No matter how loudly certain TV pundits keep claiming that Trump is trying to block Mueller’s testimony, the facts make clear that Trump has made no move at all to try to block Mueller from speaking. That’s because, while Trump can try to exert executive privilege over portions of the Mueller report, Trump literally can’t stop Mueller from showing up to Congress and testifying. So what’s really going on here?
The short answer is that Robert Mueller is going to have to resign from the Department of Justice before he testifies. His employment status is the one thing that Trump and William Barr can try to hold over his head. Since Mueller’s work is already done anyway, and his spokesman announced last week that Mueller will be leaving the job in the coming days, we all know what comes next. Mueller resigns, and then he testifies. For whatever reason known only to him, Mueller hasn’t resigned quite yet, so he’s not going to testify quite yet.
There is still a 100% chance that Robert Mueller testifies before the House Judiciary Committee – and there is every reason to expect it to happen soon. Donald Trump literally does not have any method for even trying to stop this from happening, short of sending someone to tie Mueller’s shoelaces together. In the meantime, the polls show that the number of Americans who want impeachment keeps going up, which means House Democrats are winning this.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report