House Judiciary Chairman says committee will subpoena Mueller 'if we have to'

Calls Trump's executive privilege claim 'nonsense'

By Kate Sullivan, CNN
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY)

(CNN) - House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler said his panel will receive testimony from special counsel Robert Mueller because "we will subpoena him if we have to."

When asked by CNN's Don Lemon on "CNN Tonight" if the committee was going to hear from Mueller now that President Donald Trump has asserted executive privilege, Nadler said, "eventually we will hear from Mueller because ... we will subpoena him if we have to."

"The nonsense claim of executive privilege will be pierced by the court and he'll be ordered to testify," Nadler said.

"I certainly hope it doesn't come to the, to our necessity to subpoena him," he added.

On Wednesday, Trump invoked blanket executive privilege over Mueller's full report in retribution for a pending vote by House Democrats to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress. The move escalated the looming constitutional confrontation over Mueller's report between the Trump administration and congressional Democrats.

Nadler previously subpoenaed Barr to require that he hand over a full, unredacted version of the Mueller report, including the underlying evidence. The Justice Department missed the deadline for the subpoena that the committee issued last month.

Barr sent a letter to the President dated Wednesday requesting he assert executive privilege with respect to the documents the committee subpoenaed.

The attorney general, after testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, skipped a scheduled hearing before the House Judiciary Committee the next day, following a dispute with House Democrats over whether Barr would publicly face questions from committee staff attorneys.

CNN's Manu Raju and Nick Neville contributed to this report.

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