Attorney General Barr says Mueller testimony is meant to be a 'public spectacle'

William Barr.
(Image credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Attorney General William Barr still doesn't see the point of Robert Mueller's congressional testimony.

Ahead of the former special counsel's hearing before Congress next week, Barr told The Associated Press he is "not sure what purpose is served by dragging [Mueller] up there and trying to grill him." And if Mueller decides he "doesn't want to subject himself" to that testimony, he'll have the full support of the Department of Justice, Barr continued.

Barr became President Trump's attorney general during Mueller's two-year-long investigation into the Trump 2016 campaign, which ended with Mueller not concluding whether Trump had obstructed justice during the investigation and Barr declining to press charges for obstruction. Barr later appeared for a Senate hearing regarding the probe but skipped out on his House hearing, while Mueller previously declined to give a congressional hearing. Yet in response to a Democratic subpoena, Mueller agreed late last month to one joint hearing.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

Democrats pushing for Mueller's testimony despite his reluctance is just their attempt to create a "public spectacle," Barr told AP in a Monday interview. "I don't think Mueller should be treated that way or subject himself to that, if he doesn't want to," Barr continued. He also said that his separate probe into the origins of the Mueller probe is "essential" and ongoing, while he characterized his 30-year friendship with Mueller as "fine."

When asked previously about the possibility of Mueller testifying, Barr repeatedly said he was not opposed to it. Trump, meanwhile, has flipped from railing against a potential Mueller testimony to saying he'd let Barr "make a decision on that." Read more from Barr's interview at The Associated Press.

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.

Kathryn Krawczyk

Kathryn is a graduate of Syracuse University, with degrees in magazine journalism and information technology, along with hours to earn another degree after working at SU's independent paper The Daily Orange. She's currently recovering from a horse addiction while living in New York City, and likes to share her extremely dry sense of humor on Twitter.