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Republicans, Democrats want Mueller to testify on report

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Congressman Collins says Special Counsel should talk about Russia probe

WASHINGTON Top US Democratic and Republican lawmakers said on Monday that they want Special Counsel Robert Mueller to testify before Congress about his investigation into Russian meddling during the 2016 election campaign.

Two weeks ago, Attorney-General Bill Barr cleared US President Donald Trump of colluding with Russia in a four-page summary of the report.

But the special counsel's final report on the investigation - and whether Mr Trump himself was involved in obstructing the probe - remains unreleased.

Mr Doug Collins, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, said he wants Democrats to bring Mr Mueller before the panel to testify .

In his letter to the committee's Democratic chairman, Mr Jerry Nadler, Mr Collins said Democrats were politicising the situation by seeking the protected grand jury materials, despite an appeals court last Friday ruling that federal judges do not have authority to disclose such evidence except in specifically authorised situations.

"If you seek both transparency and for the American public to learn the full contours of the special counsel's investigation, public testimony from Special Counsel Mueller himself is undoubtedly the best way to accomplish this goal," Mr Collins wrote.

Mr Nadler said he "fully" agreed, but stressed that Mr Mueller should testify after the full report is delivered to Congress and Mr Barr testifies.

He called on Mr Barr to testify before the committee on May 2.

"We look forward to hearing from Mr Mueller at the appropriate time," Mr Nadler said.

It comes amid a heated battle in Washington over what Congress will actually be able to see of the report itself. Democrats are demanding access to the entire, unredacted 400-page text, saying the evidence within could be damning to the President.

But Mr Barr has said he will not release key evidence that is part of any investigation by a grand jury, a special panel used by prosecutors in politically sensitive cases. - AFP