Former special counsel Robert Mueller has declined an invitation to testify about the Russia investigation before the Senate Judiciary Committee, according to Chairman Lindsey Graham.
“He says he doesn’t have enough time,” the South Carolina Republican said Wednesday evening on Fox News host Sean Hannity’s show.
Graham is leading a congressional investigation into Crossfire Hurricane, the code name for the FBI’s counterintelligence inquiry into ties between President Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russia, which was wrapped into Mueller’s special counsel investigation in May 2017.
Democrats had pushed the chairman to invite Mueller to testify about his report as Graham set his sights on dozens of other officials from the Obama and Trump administration who were involved in the Russia investigation.
Graham said he would agree to invite Mueller to testify in July after the former FBI director wrote an opinion article in the Washington Post arguing that Roger Stone, a longtime friend and adviser to Trump, “remains a convicted felon, and rightfully so.” This was after Trump commuted Stone’s sentence on seven felony crimes.
Mueller has not testified about his report since the summer of 2019, and even then he only spoke to two House committees. Graham said he was interested to hear the former special counsel and others respond to a Justice Department inspector general report released in December that said the investigation was properly predicated but also criticized some aspects of the FBI’s work.
In addition, Graham said former FBI Director James Comey, who oversaw the Crossfire Hurricane investigation before he was fired by Trump in May 2017, has agreed to testify, without the use of a subpoena, on Sept. 30.
The committee is “negotiating” with Comey’s former deputy, Andrew McCabe, about appearing for testimony, Graham added.
Graham has said his inquiry, which has already taken in testimony from former Deputy Attorneys General Rod Rosenstein and Sally Yates, is intended “to find out how the Department of Justice and the FBI got Crossfire Hurricane so wrong, why they lied to the FISA court, [and] to make sure it never happens again.”
As for investigating whether any crimes were committed, the senator said that is up to U.S. Attorney John Durham, who is conducting a criminal inquiry into the Russia matter.