Attorney General William Barr offers Robert Mueller a way out of testifying before Congress

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Barr questions purpose of public hearing; chief intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge reports from Washington.
Attorney General William Barr said the upcoming congressional hearing in which former special counsel Robert Mueller will testify is likely to be a “public spectacle.”
“I don’t think Mueller should be treated that way or subject himself to that,” Barr said in an interview with the Associated Press.
Mueller has only spoken once since the special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election concluded, and has not taken any questions on the final report’s contents.
Mueller is slated to testify in both public and closed settings before the House committees on Intelligence and the Judiciary on July 17.

EDGEFIELD, S.C. (AP) — Attorney General William Barr on Monday accused Democrats of trying to create a “public spectacle” by subpoenaing former Special Counsel Robert Mueller to testify before Congress about the Russia investigation.

Mueller is slated to appear before both the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees on July 17, participating in public and private settings.

Barr says Justice Department and Mueller sparred over “legal analysis” in Russia report

Read more: The House just voted to hold Attorney General William Barr and former White House counsel Don McGahn in civil contempt

In an interview with the Associated Press, Barr said the Justice Department would support Mueller if he decides he “doesn’t want to subject himself” to congressional testimony. Barr also said the Justice Department would seek to block any attempt by Congress to subpoena members of the special counsel’s team.

“I’m not sure what purpose is served by dragging him up there and trying to grill him,” Barr said. “I don’t think Mueller should be treated that way or subject himself to that, if he doesn’t want to.”

Mueller no longer works for the Justice Department, but the department could attempt to limit his testimony about decisions he made as special counsel. In a May statement, Mueller said any testimony would not reveal information that has not already been made public in the special counsel report.

House Democrats have been feuding with Barr for months, going as far as to hold him in contempt of Congress for refusing to hand over an unredacted copy of the special counsel report as well as underlying evidence. Barr has also been under intense scrutiny from other committees for failing to cooperate with mounting investigations into the Trump administration.

Republicans on both committees are gearing up to to hammer Mueller for accusations of bias and dragging out the investigation that lasted nearly two years, according to GOP aides. President Donald Trump himself has routinely criticized Mueller, who he characterizes as unfair for hiring investigators sympathetic to Democrats.

Meanwhile, Democrats openly backing impeachment proceedings for Trump are reportedly banking on Mueller’s testimony to give their cause a boost.

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