Key Democrat Says Impeachment ‘One Possibility’ From Mueller Report

(Bloomberg) -- House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler said impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump would be “one possibility” that the Democratic House could pursue in the wake of the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report.

While saying it’s too soon to reach a conclusion, the New York Democrat said at a news conference that there are multiple avenues House committees might take as they pursue their own investigations of Trump and his administration. Nadler, whose panel would oversee an impeachment process, said Mueller’s findings outline evidence that the president obstructed justice.

“We will proceed with our inquiries,” he said. Mueller’s report “was probably written with the intent of providing Congress with a road map.”

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other House leaders have played down the chance that the House will act on articles of impeachment, saying such a “divisive” issue would need bipartisan support not just in Congress, but also among the American people.

“Based on what we have seen to date, going forward on impeachment is not worthwhile at this point,” Steny Hoyer, the second-ranking House Democrat, said according to CNN. “Very frankly, there is an election in 18 months and the American people will make a judgment.”

Many Republicans remained firmly behind Trump Thursday upon publication of the redacted version of Mueller’s report and celebrated Attorney General William Barr’s interpretation. While Democrats promised further investigation, Republicans sent out the coordinated message that it is now time to move on from the Mueller investigation for the good of the country.

Key Democrat Says Impeachment ‘One Possibility’ From Mueller Report

Both parties are seeking to shape public opinion about the president and his conduct before and during his first term in the run up to the 2020 election. The GOP has become increasingly supportive of Trump, while Democrats are seeking to unseat him and expand on the congressional seats they picked up in the 2018 midterms.

Here are some of the most important reactions from Capitol Hill:

Democratic Leadership

  • Pelosidescribed Barr’s press conference as “staggering partisan effort by the Trump Admin to spin public’s view” of the special counsel’s report. She said it is “urgent” that Mueller testify in Congress.
  • Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer called Barr’s handling of the Mueller report “regrettably partisan” and also described the attorney general’s news conference as spin.
  • Majority leader Hoyer, a representative from Maryland, said while House Democrats will pursue the rest of their agenda, they also “will do our part responsibly by investigating whether obstruction of justice occurred and the scope of Russian interference.” He said Mueller should testify before Congress “and explain his findings in greater detail.”
  • Adam Schiff, a California representative and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee also called on Mueller to testify before his panel and tweeted a copy of his letter to the special counsel.

Republican Leadership

  • Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell in an emailed statement praised Barr as “an experienced leader” who has worked to “ensure maximum possible transparency while carefully protecting classified material and legally restricted grand jury information.”
  • House minority leader Kevin McCarthy sharply criticized Democrats for what he described as “a partisan quest to vilify a political opponent,” and he praised Barr’s actions to balance transparency and legal restrictions.
    • “Democrats want to keep searching for imaginary evidence that supports their claims, but it is simply not there,” McCarthy said in an emailed statement
  • South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, applauded Barr’s “commitment to transparency and keeping the American people informed, consistent with the law and our national security interests.”
  • North Carolina Senator Richard Burr, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said “the American people have a right to review as much of the report as possible to understand the Special Counsel’s conclusions and the reasoning behind them.”

2020 Candidates

  • Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchartweeted that Barr is “not impartial when it comes to this investigation,” and she joined other Democrats in calling for Mueller himself to testify in Congress.
  • New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand called Barr’s press conference “a farce and an embarrassing display of propaganda on behalf of President Trump.”
    • “Barr works for the people, not the president. They deserve to know Mueller’s full findings because nobody—especially not the president—is immune from accountability,” Gillibrand said.
  • Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren said on Twitter it’s a “disgrace to see an Attorney General acting as if he’s the personal attorney and publicist for the President of the United States.”
  • New Jersey Senator Cory Booker said on Twitter, “The American people deserve the truth. Not spin from a Trump appointee.”
  • California Senator Kamala Harris called Barr’s press conference a “stunt, filled with political spin and propaganda,” and tweeted a link to her campaign website. She said the redacted Mueller report “is not enough.”
  • Bernie Sanders, an independent Senator from Vermont who caucuses with Democrats, said Thursday’s report shows that Trump “wanted nothing more than to shut down” Mueller’s probe.
    • “Congress must continue its investigation into Trump’s conduct and any foreign attempts to influence our election,” Sanders said. “We must also work to do everything we can to protect our future elections from the significant threat of foreign interference, and I call on President Trump and Republican leadership to stop obstructing the necessary work to protect our democracy."
  • Eric Swalwell, a representative from California, called on Barr to resign and accused him of acting as “the President’s defense attorney,” more beholden to Trump than to the American people.
    • “He came to this job already biased,” Swalwell said in an emailed statement. “He has proved that he’s an embedded Trump ally who puts this President’s political future above of the rule of law. That makes him unfit to serve. He must resign.”

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