Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) told Fox News Sunday that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is "tentatively" expected to testify in front of the House Judiciary Committee on May 15 — a reversal from Mueller's earlier pledge to remain publicly mum on the contents of his final report, issued last month.
Neither Mueller nor the House Committee itself could confirm that Mueller plans to attend the scheduled May 15 hearing, Politico reports, so it is not immediately clear what inspired Cicilline's assertion. House Judiciary Committee chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) told media last week that his office had been communicating with Mueller's office, and that he and others on the committee were "eyeing" May 15 as a tentative date for Mueller's testimony, but nothing had been set in stone.
"A tentative date has been set for May 15 and we hope the Special Counsel will appear," Cicilline, said during his interview. "We think the American people have a right to hear directly from him."
Cicilline called the agreement "tentative," he said, because "the representative for the Special Counsel has" signed off on the scheduled hearing but that "until the day comes, we never have an absolute guarantee."
Last week, Attorney General William Barr had reportedly agreed to testify in front of the same House Committee but did not show up the day of the hearing after discovering that Democrats intended to question Barr through legal counsel, similar to how the Senate Judiciary Committee questioned then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh over claims that he sexually assaulted a high school classmate decades ago.
Apparently sensing that Democrats intended to turn the hearing into a circus, Barr simply skipped the hearing altogether. A Democratic committee member placed a plastic chicken behind Barr's name placard at the witness table instead, giving focus to Democrats who spent the hearing making independent proclamations.
Democrats are desperate to question Mueller over both the conclusions reached in his report on collusion between the Trump 2016 presidential campaign and Russian officials looking to alter the outcome of the 2016 presidential elections, and over statements made last week indicating that he felt his conclusions, particularly on the subject of President Donald Trump's attempted "obstruction of justice," were twisted by members of the media.
Convinced that Attorney General Barr also "misled" Congress on the subject of obstruction of justice, CNN reports, Democrats are also interested in asking Mueller how he feels about Barr's interpretation of his report, both in a letter issued the weekend Mueller's report was completed and in subsequent statements Barr made to lawmakers.
The White House has said it will not object ot Mueller speaking in front of any Congressional committee, and Cicilline told "Fox News Sunday" that the White House has "so far indicated they would not interfere with Mr. Mueller's attempts to testify."
Although Mueller's conclusions about "collusion" aren't really in question, Democrats have said they intend to re-run Mueller's 22-month deep dive into whether Trump aides communicated and coordinated with Russian officials looking to make an impact on the 2016 presidential election. Although Democrats have initiated more than 60 individual investigations into the Trump White House, the Trump campaign, and Trump businesses, their primary focus appears to be on the president's campaign team.