The House Judiciary Committee will hold a series of hearings on former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election — even though it is still unclear if Mueller himself will appear.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler, who chairs the committee, announced the series of hearings on Monday. The first hearing, scheduled for June 10, will focus on obstruction of justice. It will feature several attorneys including John Dean, the former White House counsel who testified against Richard Nixon during the Watergate hearings. Dean has publicly said Mueller’s report is “more damning” than other presidential investigations, including Watergate.
Although the report laid out 11 instances of possible obstruction of justice, Mueller declined to either prosecute or exonerate the President in this matter.
“Given the threat posed by the President’s alleged misconduct, our first hearing will focus on President Trump’s most overt acts of obstruction. In the coming weeks, other hearings will focus on other important aspects of the Mueller report,” Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler said in a statement Monday.
Absent from the announcement on these hearings was any indication of whether Mueller would testify. Democrats have made clear that they want to hear from Mueller in a public setting. But Mueller, giving a rare public statement last week, said he was reluctant to do so, and that any testimony he would give would not extend beyond the contents of the report. “We chose those words carefully, and the work speaks for itself,” Mueller said. “The report is my testimony.”
Democrats however, still want to hear from him, and talks are still ongoing.
Nadler’s announcement about the hearings comes as calls for an impeachment inquiry continue to grow, particularly among his committee members. As the White House repeatedly stonewalls the committee’s requests for documents and witnesses, more members are becoming convinced kickstarting the process is the only way to obtain the necessary information to conduct oversight.
“There is a sense that the lawlessness and corruption of the White House leave us little choice,” Rep. Jamie Raskin, a committee member who supports an inquiry, told TIME. “People were catalyzed into action by the President’s order to the executive branch to stop cooperating with all legislative inquiries.”
While Nadler has explained his members’ viewpoint to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, neither have officially come out in support of an inquiry.