US Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham said that he will ask former special counsel Robert Mueller to testify before the panel over the latter’s probe into the alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Graham’s announcement on Twitter on Sunday granted a request repeatedly pushed by Senate Democrats to let Mueller testify before the Republican-controlled upper chamber, reports Xinhua news agency.
It also came in the wake of Mueller’s op-ed published in Te Washington Post in which he defended the legitimacy and integrity of the Russia probe.
“Apparently Mr. Mueller is willing — and also capable — of defending the Mueller investigation through an op-ed in the Washington Post,” Graham said in his tweet.
“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.”
In the op-ed on Saturday, Mueller said investigators looking into the interactions between President Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign and the Russian government “acted with the highest integrity. Claims to the contrary are false”.
Mueller wrote that Roger Stone, Trump’s long-time political confidant who was involved in the Mueller investigation, “remains a convicted felon, and rightly so”, even though Trump on July 10 commuted his 40-month jail term, which would otherwise begin on Tuesday.
Stone was convicted in November 2019 of all the seven felony counts he was charged with, including lying to Congress, witness tampering and obstructing an official proceeding.
He has maintained his innocence and tried to appeal his conviction, most recently pursuing a pardon or a commutation, citing the risk of contracting the coronavirus while in jail.
“We made every decision in Stone’s case, as in all our cases, based solely on the facts and the law and in accordance with the rule of law,” Mueller said.
The Mueller investigation, concluded in the spring of 2019, found no evidence of the Trump campaign colluding with Russia, but “identified numerous links between the Russian government and Trump campaign personnel — Stone among them”, Mueller wrote in the op-ed.
The Department of Justice released a redacted version of the Mueller Report on April 18, 2019.
Graham told the media at the time that he didn’t think testimony from Mueller would be necessary.