President Trump seems to really not want Special Counsel Robert Mueller to testify before Congress, and he's reportedly fixated on how much news coverage the hearing would receive.
Following Attorney General William Barr's congressional testimony last week, Trump "stewed for days" about the media coverage that Mueller would get if he testified, especially considering he believes the special counsel has been "unfairly lionized" by the press over the past two years, The Associated Press reports.
Trump reportedly worries that Mueller's testimony would be a repeat of the testimony of his former lawyer Michael Cohen, which dominated the news as Trump was holding a summit with North Korea's Kim Jong Un. The president also "feared that Americans would be captivated by seeing" Mueller speak, AP reports, adding that there's a sense in the White House that Mueller's testimony would add weight to some of the damaging information in his report.
Trump tweeted over the weekend that Mueller "should not testify," a reversal from his previous statements that he would be fine with Mueller testifying. It was unclear whether this meant Trump would try to exert executive privilege to block Mueller's testimony, although Politico reports Trump's tweet could be "more bluster than a live-wire legal showdown," citing informal advisers who say Trump was "not signaling anything."
The New York Times' Maggie Haberman says Trump "wasn't simply popping off" on Twitter, though, because he'd privately "expressed desire to keep Mueller from testifying in days before the tweets."
Barr, for what it's worth, has not changed his view that Mueller should be allowed to testify in light of Trump's tweet, ABC News reports. This testimony could come in just over a week, as Democrats have agreed with Mueller on a tentative date of May 15.