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Robert Mueller 'Did Not Want to Testify,' This Is Not a 'Friendly Subpoena' Says Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff

The subpoenas issued to special counsel Robert Mueller by the House judiciary and intelligence committees were not "friendly," according to the chairman of one, but the prosecutor has agreed to honor the request to testify on July 17.

Congressional Democrats want Mueller to testify on his final report from the two-year investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election because they have a number of questions about the evidence uncovered and decisions made by investigators.

But Mueller is reluctant, saying he has nothing to add beyond what's in his 448-page report, a position he reiterated during a brief public statement on May 29 to clarify his conclusions, his first and only comments since the document dropped in March.

"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," House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, a California Democrat, told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow on Tuesday night.

"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."

Mueller stated in his report that his investigation did not establish that President Donald Trump or his campaign conspired with Russia in its efforts to sway the election. He did, however, lay out evidence suggesting Trump attempted to obstruct justice by interfering in the investigation.

But Mueller did not reach a prosecutorial conclusion, citing Justice Department policy that a sitting president cannot be indicted. "Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him," the report states.

Schiff said Mueller will face each committee separately, one after the other, in open sessions. Mueller's staff will then appear in closed-door sessions to answer sensitive questions relating to intelligence, some of which is redacted in the public version of Mueller's report.

"I don't think either he or his staff are eager to come before the Congress. I think they are doing so because they are going to honor the subpoena that we have issued," Schiff told MSNBC.

The congressman continued: "But as Bob Mueller was the first to point out in his own report, he did not make a traditional prosecutorial judgement. He did refer this matter to Congress and we have taken up that referral.

"And it's fully appropriate, in our view, that we have the opportunity to flesh out what the Russians did, how they did it, what the roles of the Trump campaign personnel were, what were the counterintelligence issues, what was the process used to handle the counterintelligence concerns, 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."

Robert Mueller testify report Congress
Special Counsel Robert Mueller arrives to speak on the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election, at the US Justice Department in Washington, DC, on May 29, 2019. MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images
Robert Mueller 'Did Not Want to Testify,' This Is Not a 'Friendly Subpoena' Says Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff | Politics