Pelosi, Schumer Call for Mueller Testimony ‘as Soon as Possible’

(Bloomberg) -- Congress’s top two Democrats called for Special Counsel Robert Mueller to testify on Capitol Hill “as soon as possible,” saying it’s needed to restore public trust after Attorney General William Barr’s “regrettably partisan” handling of Mueller’s report set for release Thursday.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Barr’s four-page summary of the report last month, his testimony last week before Congress and his plan to hold a press conference hours before Mueller’s redacted report is made public has resulted “in a crisis of confidence in his independence and impartiality.”

Pelosi, Schumer Call for Mueller Testimony ‘as Soon as Possible’

“We believe the only way to begin restoring public trust in the handling of the Special Counsel’s investigation is for Special Counsel Mueller himself to provide public testimony in the House and Senate as soon as possible,” the two said in a joint statement. “The American people deserve to hear the truth.”

The report will provide the fullest portrait yet of Mueller’s secretive 22-month probe, providing new insights into his findings, analysis and reasons for his conclusions on whether anyone in President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign conspired with Russia to interfere in the election and whether Trump engaged in obstruction of justice, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein are holding a news conference Thursday at 9:30 a.m. in Washington to discuss the release. The report will be delivered to Congress -- on compact disc -- between 11 a.m. and noon, according to a Justice Department official.

Democrats blasted Barr’s plan to brief reporters ahead of releasing the report, with five House chairmen releasing a joint statement calling on Barr to cancel the news conference and “let the full report speak for itself.”

Barr will address executive privilege and whether it was invoked, White House interactions with the Justice Department since the last letter to Congress and the redaction process, Justice spokeswoman Kerri Kupec told reporters Thursday.

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