WATCH LIVE: Robert Mueller Testifies Before Congress About Findings Of His Report
Former special counsel Robert Mueller is appearing today in two separate hearings before the House judiciary and intelligence committees. Though Mueller has said his report on Russian interference in the 2016 election is his testimony, lawmakers have insisted that he testify in person.
The House judiciary and intelligence committees have scheduled hearings for 8:30 a.m. and noon.
The Democrats who have negotiated for months to get Mueller to appear, and wound up compelling him with a subpoena, want Americans to watch the former special counsel tell his story on Wednesday in TV-friendly soundbites that erode support for President Trump.
The Republicans who've excoriated Mueller, his investigation, the Justice Department and FBI for months will have their Public Enemy No. 1 captive before them in the witness chair. They want to tar and feather him before closing the books on what they've called the Russia "hoax."
Watch the proceedings live below.
Mueller didn't want to testify before Congress. The former special counsel said in a brief statement at the Justice Department this year that his report was his testimony and that he didn't think it would be appropriate for him to star in a big set piece event on Capitol Hill.
Democrats, however, insisted. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., says it'll be valuable simply for more Americans to see and hear Mueller on TV describing what he found in his investigation, given that many people haven't read his report.
Mueller documented a vast wave of interference by Russia's government in the 2016 presidential election with the object of hurting candidate Hillary Clinton and helping Trump get elected. The special counsel's office also documented many contacts between Trump's campaign and Russians during that time but did not establish a criminal conspiracy related to the election.
Volume II of Mueller's report details a number of instances that Democrats and other critics have called obstruction of justice, including attempts by Trump to remove Mueller himself — and then cover up those same efforts.
Trump and his aides insist they're unconcerned about Mueller's testimony.
The special counsel's office closed without bringing any more criminal charges against Trump's inner circle, and Trump has stressed that he views Mueller's report — which explicitly does not exonerate the president — as an exoneration.
Trump's private lawyer, Jay Sekulow, said the legal team won't have a "war room" running to countermessage Mueller's testimony. Trump allies inside and outside the White House say they believe the former special counsel won't stray beyond his report.
"Bob said his report is his report," Sekulow said. "I expect his testimony will be his report. So I don't expect anything new."
Trump has revisited some of his old attacks on Mueller as being "conflicted" and a "never Trumper" but also sought to appear calm about the hearings.
The hearing is scheduled to start at a time when Trump often watches TV and posts on Twitter, and he offered his own commentary about the pre-gavel coverage before Mueller's opening statement on Wednesday.
NO COLLUSION, NO OBSTRUCTION!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 24, 2019
The only thing on Trump's schedule for Wednesday is a private fundraiser later in the day in West Virginia.
The president had said he wasn't planning to tune in to see Mueller — and then also said, "Maybe I'll see a little bit of it."
NPR White House correspondent Tamara Keith contributed to this report.