WASHINGTON – Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said Sunday he will call Robert Mueller to testify before his committee, after the former Russia special counsel penned an op-ed pushing back against President Donald Trump’s decision to commute the sentence of a longtime ally.
Mueller broke his yearlong silence Saturday, defending the prosecution of Roger Stone and the broader investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. In an op-ed published in The Washington Post, Mueller said the flamboyant political operative was “prosecuted and convicted because he committed federal crimes.”
“He remains a convicted felon, and rightly so,” Mueller wrote.
Mueller’s remarks, prompted by Trump’s commutation of Stone’s 40-month prison sentence Friday, are the first since he testified before a House committee last year after his team brought charges against at least a half-dozen Trump associates during his campaign and after he took office.
Stone, who was supposed to begin serving his sentence Tuesday, was the last person charged as a result of Mueller’s nearly two-year investigation. Mueller’s voluminous report, released last year, found that the Trump campaign was an eager beneficiary to Russia’s systematic efforts to help Trump win the presidency, but it did not find a conspiracy with the Kremlin. The report also identified instances of possible obstructive behavior by Trump, including attempting to get Mueller fired.
Graham, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and one of Trump’s fiercest allies in Congress, said he will grant a request from Democrats to call Mueller to testify before the committee.
“Apparently Mr. Mueller is willing – and also capable – of defending the Mueller investigation through an oped in the Washington Post,” Graham said.
In a letter to Graham last year, Senate Democrats said Mueller’s report, while comprehensive, leaves many outstanding questions, including about Trump’s personal and business ties in Moscow and his campaign’s efforts to obtain emails damaging to then-Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
“We believe Robert Mueller would be best-suited to answer these and other questions – from both sides of the aisle – and we feel the Committee would benefit greatly from his testimony,” according to the letter.
Contributing: Kevin Johnson