Jerry Nadler Says Robert Mueller 'Wants to Testify in Private': 'We'd See a Transcript'

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler revealed Thursday evening that Robert Mueller indicated he "wants to testify in private" before the committee, which has been investigating President Donald Trump since the release of the special counsel's report in March.

During Nadler's appearance on The Rachel Maddow Show, Maddow asked the New York congressman why Mueller had not yet testified despite the expectations that he would.

"You have talked repeatedly about hoping to get him in to testify about his own findings, today was in fact one of the days that you had put on the calendar as a hopeful date that he might come in. What's going on?" Maddow asked.

"We want him to come in and testify. We want others to come in and testify. There are a lot of people who should come in and testify, who the [Trump] administration is saying they will not permit to testify. A blanket stonewalling of Congress and the American people," Nadler said. "Mueller, I think I can say at this point, he wants to testify in private."

Maddow immediately asked why.

"I don't know why. He's willing to make an opening statement but he wants to testify in private," Nadler responded. "We're saying we think it's important for the American people to hear from him and to hear his answers to questions about the report."

"We'd see a transcript," Nadler added.

When Maddow asked Nadler whether he had any indication of why Mueller might want that, Nadler explained: "He envisions himself, correctly, as a man of great rectitude and apolitical, and he doesn't want to participate in anything that he might regard as a political spectacle.

"Especially if Republicans on the committee start asking him questions about this stuff, about the beginning of the investigation," Nadler continued, before adding that he was "speculating" in his comments.

House Democrats have been negotiating with Mueller over the past few weeks to get him before the committee. Nadler hoped for a May 15 testimony date for Mueller, but the committee's vote to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress earlier this month for declining to comply with a subpoena for the special counsel's full report, without redactions, appeared to have stalled negotiations with Mueller.

Nadler had previously said Democrats would subpoena Mueller to testify if he continued to stall, but his comments to Maddow on Thursday were the first time the option of a possible closed-door hearing had been mentioned.

Barr said on several occasions that he did not object to Mueller testifying to Congress. In a tweet bashing Democrats earlier this month, the president opposed the move, saying Mueller "should not testify. No redos for the Dems!"

Mueller has not offered any comments on the report since it was submitted to the attorney general on March 22, two days before Barr delivered his four-page summary of the special counsel's findings. Barr wrote in his summary that the special counsel's investigation neither exonerated nor indicted Trump on whether he had obstructed justice, and Barr said he saw no grounds to move forward with criminal proceedings against the president.

The release of Mueller's redacted 448-page report almost a month later painted a more damning picture of Trump's actions. Although the special counsel did not directly accuse the president of a crime, the report outlined ample evidence of wrongdoing by Trump and his inner circle, dating from his 2016 campaign to his time in office.

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Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) on Thursday night told Rachel Maddow that special counsel Robert Mueller wants to testifying privately. MSNBC/Screenshot