What does Robert Mueller have to say about all of the drama around his report? We’ll find out shortly, CNN reports:
JUST IN: Special Counsel Robert Mueller will make a statement on the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election today at 11 a.m. ET https://t.co/q1crzE7trV pic.twitter.com/N97tnZbfps
— CNN (@CNN) May 29, 2019
This might well get Super Bowl-level ratings, in part because his report has become a sport in itself. Jerrold Nadler has tried to serve as host for this spectacle for weeks, only to come up empty after the special counsel made it plain that he had no desire to become anyone’s political football. Nadler now has to decide whether he wants to force Mueller to testify by issuing a subpoena without any idea what Mueller might actually have to say.
Today’s presser might not clarify those matters much. The Department of Justice, which will host the presser, has already announced that Mueller will not take any questions. He will only give a statement before the cameras, and thus far it’s not at all clear as to why. He could just as easily have opted to release a written statement, or to appear before Nadler’s committee. Maybe Mueller realizes that people want to see him speak for himself, and so he will — but only under the most controlled circumstances possible.
If anything leaks ahead of the statement, we’ll update this post. Given the tight nature of the Mueller investigation, though, we probably won’t know what Mueller has to say until he says it.
Update: CNN also reports that the White House got a heads-up about the statement last night. They won’t comment until after Mueller’s remarks, but is Trump’s lack of Twitter commentary this morning a sign that this may play well for the White House?
Update: Politico’s Andrew Desiderio notes the Nadler issue:
A reminder that there is still no agreement for Mueller to testify on Capitol Hill. Jerry Nadler said last week that Mueller preferred to testify in private — but Dems are pushing for public testimony.
— Andrew Desiderio (@desiderioDC) May 29, 2019
It’s possible that Mueller’s statement will only address this issue. Don’t be surprised if Mueller uses this presser to argue that his report speaks for itself and that he has nothing further to add to it.
A person familiar with the matter said Mueller will deliver a “substantial” statement, but declined to provide more details.
The person said the statement is not a response to reporting about Michael Wolff’s soon-to-be-released book on the Trump administration, “Siege.” According to The Guardian, which obtained an early copy of the book, Wolff claimed that the special counsel’s office had drafted an obstruction of justice indictment against President Trump. A Mueller spokesman has denied the claim.
Hmmm. What could be more “substantial” than Mueller’s report? The fact that the DoJ is hosting this could mean that it’s not going to be substantially critical of AG William Barr, but that’s not set in stone either.
Update: It won’t take too long, ABC reports:
— ABC News (@ABC) May 29, 2019
In other words, don’t expect a complex legal argument, except perhaps to explain either (a) why he doesn’t want to testify in public, or (b) why his report is his testimony. Since the White House appears pretty sanguine so far about this event and the DoJ is hosting it while Barr’s in Alaska, I’d keep expectations low for a Muellermas.