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BREAKING NEWS

Judiciary Committee aiming for Mueller to testify May 15, congressman says

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J. Scott Applewhite AP
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The House Judiciary Committee is shooting for special counsel Robert Mueller to testify before the panel on May 15, committee member David Cicilline said Sunday.

"We hope the special counsel will appear," Cicilline, D-R.I., said on "Fox News Sunday." "We think the American people have a right to hear directly from him."

Although Cicilline initially told the program that the committee and Mueller had agreed to the "tentative date," the congressman later backtracked on Twitter, saying that "nothing has been agreed to yet. That's the date the Committee has proposed, and we hope the Special Counsel will agree to it."

Cicilline also said on the program that there was no "absolute guarantee" that Mueller would appear for testimony.

"The White House has so far indicated that they would not interfere with Mr. Mueller's attempts to testify," he said. "We hope that won't change."

A spokesman for Mueller declined to comment to NBC News regarding a date for testimony.

Daniel Schwarz, director of strategic communications for the House Judiciary Committee, told NBC News on Sunday, "We are still working on a date."

Democratic calls for Mueller to testify publicly about his nearly two-year investigation have intensified ever since Attorney General William Barr released his initial summary of the special counsel's report in late March and released a redacted version of the report weeks later.

Democrats also have accused Barr of misleading Congress about Mueller's criticism in a letter to the attorney general that his initial four-page description of the special counsel's conclusions had caused public confusion and did not fully capture his report's "context, nature and substance."

Mueller investigated Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, whether the Trump campaign conspired with Russian officials in that effort and whether Trump obstructed justice as the investigation proceeded.

Although Barr determined that Trump did not obstruct justice, Mueller wrote that his report did not exonerate the president on that issue. Mueller also wrote that the evidence his team collected was not sufficient to establish or sustain a finding of criminal conspiracy between Trump associates and Russia.