It is now all but certain that special counsel Robert Mueller will appear before the House to testify about his report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, amid controversy over how Attorney General William Barr has spun the report to protect President Donald Trump.
As former federal prosecutor Mimi Rocah noted on MSNBC's "Hardball" on Tuesday, Mueller is unlikely to openly criticize or contradict Barr in his testimony — but, she added, the mere act of reading the report could be incredibly damning for both him and the president.
"A lot of Americans haven't read the Mueller report," said Rocah. "And they never will — it's a lot to get through ... but the point is that Mueller testifying is something people will watch. More people will watch that than they will read the report."
"Even if Mueller said nothing outside the four corners of the report — which I think he is likely to do by the way, right, he's gonna limit himself. But that is a worthy exercise, I think, for a lot of reasons, and I think that in and of itself terrifies Trump."
"Beyond that, if he gets into, and even [Senate Judiciary chairman] Lindsey Graham seems to agree that Mueller should be able to testify about the interactions with Barr and those phone calls about what was misrepresented, that's not in the report," Rocah pointed out. "That's not anywhere we can read it. We only have Bill Barr's side of it right now. That could be very damaging."
"I don't think Mueller's gonna come out and trash Barr," Rocah clarified. "I mean, I don't think anybody should expect that. Or Trump, for that matter. But I think even if he just speaks the facts and the truth, it can be damaging."