May 5, 2019

Trump says Mueller shouldn't testify as House Democrats close in on date

President Trump tweeted on Sunday that special counsel Robert Mueller should not testify before Congress, arguing that Democrats are "looking for a redo" after the investigation failed to establish that his campaign conspired with Russia.

After spending more than $35,000,000 over a two year period, interviewing 500 people, using 18 Trump Hating Angry Democrats & 49 FBI Agents - all culminating in a more than 400 page Report showing NO COLLUSION - why would the Democrats in Congress now need Robert Mueller to testify. Are they looking for a redo because they hated seeing the strong NO COLLUSION conclusion? There was no crime, except on the other side (incredibly not covered in the Report), and NO OBSTRUCTION. Bob Mueller should not testify. No redos for the Dems!

Why it matters: Trump has previously said that he will not prevent Mueller from testifying and that he will leave it up to Attorney General Bill Barr to decide. Barr — despite being accused by many Democrats of obfuscating and spinning the Mueller report's findings in favor of Trump — has said the Justice Department has no issue with Mueller testifying. The House Judiciary Committee is in negotiations with Mueller's team and is hoping to bring him in to testify on May 15.

  • Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a staunch Trump ally, has said he will not bring Mueller in to testify unless he has objections to how Barr characterized their phone call.

Reality check: Mueller did not conclude that Trump did not obstruct justice, and in fact specifically chose not to exonerate him in his report. The special counsel laid out extensive evidence of episodes in which Trump may have obstructed justice, with Attorney General Barr later taking the matter into his own hands to clear the president.

  • In the end, the Mueller investigation will likely not cost $35,000,000 — as Trump claimed in his tweet — thanks to the millions of dollars in restitution seized from former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, who is now in prison.

Go deeper

Trump hits back at Mattis: "I gave him a new life"

President Trump speaks at the White House. Photo: Doug Mills - Pool/Getty Images

President Trump unloaded on his former defense secretary via Twitter on Wednesday, hours after James Mattis condemned him for making a "mockery of our Constitution" in his response to mass protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing.

What he's saying: "Probably the only thing Barack Obama & I have in common is that we both had the honor of firing Jim Mattis, the world’s most overrated General. I asked for his letter of resignation, & felt great about it. His nickname was 'Chaos', which I didn’t like, & changed it to 'Mad Dog'"

Obama praises young protesters, urges mayors to pursue police reforms

Former President Barack Obama called on all mayors to review their use-of-force policies and commit to policing reform in a virtual town hall Wednesday hosted by the Obama Foundation's My Brothers Keepers Alliance.

Why it matters: Obama has addressed the killing of George Floyd and the nationwide protests that followed on social media and in a Medium post, but this was his first time speaking about the past week's events on camera. His voice will add weight to the growing pressure on local, state and federal officials to pursue policing reforms.

James Mattis condemns Trump as a threat to the Constitution

Mattis on Fox in Septemnber 2019 in New York City. Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis condemned President Trump for making a "mockery of our Constitution" in a statement to The Atlantic on Wednesday, saying he was "appalled" at the president's response to mass protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing.

Why it matters: Trump’s former defense secretary had refrained from publicly criticizing his former boss since resigning in 2018.