Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) suggested Sunday that former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III may be invited to testify before his panel, although Graham did not give any details on the timing of any potential invitation.
Graham’s statement came one day after Mueller defended his office’s prosecution of Roger Stone, President Trump’s longtime friend and political adviser, in a Washington Post op-ed.
Trump commuted Stone’s 40-month prison sentence on Friday, using his presidential authority to undermine the unanimous finding by a jury that Stone broke the law multiple times by lying to Congress and obstructing justice.
In his statement Sunday, Graham suggested that he had reconsidered his position on allowing Mueller to testify in light of the former special counsel’s op-ed.
“Apparently Mr. Mueller is willing — and also capable — of defending the Mueller investigation through an oped in the Washington Post,” Graham said. “Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee have previously requested Mr. Mueller appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee to testify about his investigation. That request will be granted.”
Taylor Reidy, a Graham spokeswoman, said a formal invitation to Mueller is in the works but did not provide details on the timing of any potential testimony. There are only about three dozen legislative days remaining for the Senate before the November election.
A spokesman for Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Graham’s statement.
Mueller testified before two House committees last year, answering questions about his investigation of Trump and Russian interference in the 2016 election. At the time, some Republicans criticized Mueller’s performance, seizing on his halting replies to some questions and his at-times confused demeanor.
Trump’s commutation of Stone’s sentence has triggered a flood of criticism, with Democrats — and a handful of Republicans — in recent days arguing that the move amounted to an abuse of presidential power and an effort to undermine the justice system.
On Sunday, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) said that “anyone who cares about the rule of law in this country” should be “nauseated” by Trump’s actions in the Stone case.
“The president through this commutation is basically saying, ‘If you lie for me, if you cover up for me, if you have my back, then I will make sure that you get a get-out-of-jail-free card,’ ” Schiff said in an interview on ABC News’s “This Week.” “Other Americans, different standards. Friends of the president’s, accomplices of this president, they get off scot-free.”
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