Himes (D): Mueller Testifying Before Congress Could Be a ‘Letdown’

‘Nobody should expect that Bob Mueller is going to make any news,’ the congressman said

Rep. Jim Himes (D., Conn.) said Wednesday that Democrats shouldn’t get their hopes up for Robert Mueller’s upcoming congressional testimony.

Reps. Adam Schiff (D., Calif.) and Jerrold Nadler (D., N.Y.) announced Tuesday Mueller would testify in front of a joint session of the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees on July 17 about the sprawling Russia investigation.

"Nobody should expect that Bob Mueller is going to make any news in either of the testimonies he gives to the Congress," Himes told CNN’s Kate Bolduan. 

Himes affirmed his support for questioning Mueller, who served as special counsel in the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election. In Himes's view, Mueller's impact could come from simply restating what's in the report because too many Americans remain ignorant of its supposedly incriminating content.

"I would not expect to learn a lot new," Himes said. "I would be shocked if he goes too far from the language of the report. That said, he may be able to—he may be willing to answer factual questions that maybe aren't directly in the report."

Bolduan asked directly if this might backfire on Democrats. Himes answered in the negative but said there is a risk of letting down Democrats who want to strike a blow against President Donald Trump.

"I don't think it's going to so much backfire. If you go into this believing what [Mueller] has said, which is his report is his testimony, I think the only, you know, risk is that there's going to be a feeling of letdown," Himes said, before changing the subject to how Republicans will supposedly try to attack Mueller.

Himes has said he supports an impeachment inquiry because his constituents want one, but he has also given credence to Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D., Calif.) reticence to do so. His reasoning is that she has to worry about a national Democratic caucus while he only represents a deep-blue part of Connecticut.

Himes said the best-case scenario is probably Mueller’s voice will reach people who simply have not read his report, which could shift public opinion toward impeachment. He did not express much hope that Mueller would go beyond the report no matter how much Democrats want him to.

"But of course, my colleagues are going to spend a day trying to get him to say things outside of the report. I think he's unlikely to do that," Himes said.

Mueller said May 29 he did not wish to testify when he spoke publicly on the investigation for the first time. He said "the report is my testimony."

"There has been discussion about an appearance before Congress," he said. "Any testimony from this office would not go beyond our report. It contains our findings and analysis and the reasons for the decisions we made. We chose those words carefully and the work speaks for itself. And the report is my testimony. I would not provide information beyond that which is already public in any appearance before congress."

The report did not find evidence of a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russians, but it did not exonerate him on the matter of obstruction of justice.