Former special counsel for the Russia investigation Robert Mueller has accepted a subpoena issued out by two congressional committees, agreeing to testify next month about his eponymous report.
While the work he and his team of investigators laid out provided ample evidence of wrongdoing by President Donald Trump, many believe that the optics of seeing Mueller testify and speak on the issue, in public, could lead Americans overall to favor inquiries into the president’s behavior to continue on.
Here’s a few details about the events that transpired on Tuesday evening, and what’s in store in the future for the special counsel…
The subpoenas, and subsequent agreement from Mueller to speak
The special counsel agreed on Tuesday evening to speak before the House Intelligence Committee and the House Judiciary Committee, after both had voted to subpoena testimony from him.
Mueller had initially been resistant to such plans. At the end of last month, when he announced his departure from the special counsel’s office, Mueller stated that he felt the report he and his team compiled “speaks for itself.”
Mueller will speak to the committees on July 17, the New York Times reported.
The public wants to hear from Mueller — some believe it’s necessary to change minds
Polling on the topic of whether Mueller should speak publicly about his report tends to demonstrate that most Americans want him to do so.
Seventy-three percent of respondents in a Monmouth University poll back in mid-May demonstrated a preference for Mueller to testify, and 58 percent said he should do so in a public way.
Some are hopeful that Mueller speaking out will set the record straight, while others want him to give a more definitive answer on the question of whether Trump should face repercussions to his actions — specifically on the question of obstruction of justice. In Mueller’s report, several instances of possible obstruction are laid out for consideration.
Mueller made it “inevitable that politics would overwhelm the substance of [his] probe,” columnist E.J. Dionne wrote in an opinion piece published on June 2. He “opened the way for Trump and [Attorney General William] Barr to try to bury the very issues [Mueller wanted] the public and Congress to consider.”
The president responds
He only said two words in a tweet following the announcement on Tuesday, but most understood that Trump was upset with the outcome.
“Presidential Harassment!” Trump wrote in his social media posting.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 26, 2019
Trump’s tweet received plenty of response, including from Rep. Ted Lieu (D-California) who wrote in his own tweet that the president is upset because “the American people will hear directly from Special Counsel Robert Mueller.”
Not every Republican is as upset about the matter as the president is. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy response was markedly less dramatic than the president’s was.
While McCarthy believes that all Democrats “want to do is try to impeach the president,” he also suggested that Mueller’s testimony could be beneficial. “I think there’s a lot of information that Republicans can actually get out of it,” McCarthy said, per reporting from Politico.
What happens next
While there’s not much that can be learned between now and July 17, anticipation to the event will likely increasingly grow leading up to the day.
One can probably expect the president to issue a series of tweets on Wednesday in response to the announced plans to hear from Mueller on Capitol Hill, with more details on why Trump is upset about the developments. He may also extend his misgivings beyond that day, speaking to reporters or whoever else is willing to listen to him.
Other leaders in Washington will likely weigh in on the matter too, with those who have demonstrated support for Trump likely deriding the choice by Democrats to subpoena Mueller to testify.