WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats are pretty sure America didn’t read the Mueller report. On Wednesday, they’re hoping the nation will be glued to the TV version.
Former Trump-Russia special counsel Robert Mueller’s appearance before two House committees promises to be the TV event of the year in the U.S. House, where lawmakers will question him for roughly five hours about the book-length report he released in April.
Democrats hope that by putting Mueller on television and highlighting the parts of the report that they believe describe President Donald Trump’s most egregious behavior, they will be able to ignite new outrage and renew public interest in their investigations.
But Republicans will be there, too, defending Trump and turning some of their fire on Mueller’s investigation , which the president condemns as a “witch hunt.”
Trump himself first said he wouldn’t be watching, then he conceded, probably “a little bit.”
Though he keeps talking about the probe, many Americans seem to have moved on. That’s why the Democrats hope a daylong presentation, with Mueller repeating out loud some of the findings that might have faded in print, will revive interest.
Whether they will be able to accomplish that is unclear. The House will leave town two days after the hearings, possibly blunting any legislative or political momentum. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said she will not pursue impeachment, for now, even as an increasing number of Democrats call for at least beginning the process.
The nation has heard the special counsel speak only once — for nine minutes at a press conference in May — since his appointment in May 2017. And he will do his best not to generate fireworks on Wednesday.
He has said his testimony will stick to what was in his 448-page report, giving Democrats few new avenues to gain attention. On Tuesday, Democrats on the House judiciary and intelligence committees granted his request to have his top aide in the investigation, Aaron Zebley, sit at the table with him.