Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee announced Monday that they would convene a hearing with John Dean, the former White House counsel to Richard Nixon and a key figure in the Watergate scandal, in an effort to keep the public focus on the Mueller report.
The announcement said the scheduled June 10 hearing would be one of a series "focused on the alleged crimes and other misconduct laid out in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report." Mueller himself was not scheduled to appear.
"We have learned so much even from the redacted version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report," committee chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., said in a statement. "Russia attacked our elections to help President Trump win, Trump and his campaign welcomed this help and the President then tried to obstruct the investigation into the attack. Mueller confirmed these revelations and has now left Congress to pick up where he left off."
The hearing comes as the White House has broadly rejected requests from House Democrats for documents and testimony from witnesses close to Trump and mentioned in Mueller's report. More than 40 House Democrats have called on Nadler to open an impeachment inquiry, which would make it easier for them to compel document production and testimony. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has so far rejected that option, preferring a slower, more methodical approach to investigating the president.
In a public statement last week, Mueller said that there "was not sufficient evidence" to formally accuse any members of the Trump campaign of conspiring with Russian officials to commit illegal acts during the 2016 presidential race. The former FBI director also investigated whether Trump tried to obstruct his probe, but the report reached no conclusion on whether the president acted illegally.
“If we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said that,” said Mueller, who added that longstanding Justice Department precedent precluded the possibility of charging Trump with any criminal offense.
"Charging the president with a crime was not an option we could consider,” Mueller explained, adding that “it would be unfair to accuse someone of a crime when there could be no court resolution of the charge.”
Mueller also made clear last week that he does not want to appear before Congress and would not elaborate on the contents of his report if he were forced to testify. Democrats have suggested they will compel Mueller's appearance if necessary, but it's unclear when -- or if -- that will happen. Negotiations over Mueller's testimony are ongoing.
Republicans criticized the decision to hold hearings, with Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., calling the move "another openly desperate move to resuscitate a dead collusion conspiracy."
"Thank goodness the Democrats are calling `Watergate Star' John Dean to testify," Meadows tweeted sarcastically.
Dean, a Trump critic, gained notoriety in 1973 when he chose to cooperate with a Senate committee investigating the June 1972 break-in at Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate building in Washington. Dean's testimony implicated high-ranking administration officials in the break-in and accused Nixon of orchestrating a cover-up, leading to the 37th president's resignation the following year.
In August of last year, Trump responded to a New York Times report that then-White House Counsel Don McGahn had been cooperating extensively with the Mueller probe by saying McGahn was not "a John Dean type RAT."
The committee said Dean is scheduled to appear on a panel alongside "former U.S. Attorneys and legal experts."
Fox News' Brooke Singman and The Associated Press contributed to this report.