Washington – Democrats on Sunday immediately seized on special counsel Robert Mueller’s refusal to exonerate President Donald Trump on the question of obstruction of justice, with the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee pledging to pick up where investigators left off and call Attorney General William Barr to testify.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., whose panel has jurisdiction over impeachment, took to Twitter to highlight Mueller’s finding that “while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”
Nadler said the statement suggests that Justice Department officials are “putting matters squarely in Congress’ court” to continue to investigate.
“In light of the very concerning discrepancies and final decision making at the Justice Department following the Special Counsel report, where Mueller did not exonerate the President, we will be calling Attorney General Barr in to testify before @HouseJudiciary in the near future,” Nadler said in a tweet.
Mueller on Friday submitted a confidential report to Barr, who reviewed the document and sent congressional leaders a four-page summary of Mueller’s “principal conclusions” late Sunday afternoon.
House Democrats, who have faced resistance from the White House to their repeated requests for documents, said Sunday they will proceed with their multiple investigations while insisting on the need to see Mueller’s full report and the underlying documents.
In a joint statement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Barr’s letter “raises as many questions as it answers” and highlighted the fact that Barr was Trump’s choice to head the Justice Department.
“The fact that Special Counsel Mueller’s report does not exonerate the president on a charge as serious as obstruction of justice demonstrates how urgent it is that the full report and underlying documentation be made public without any further delay,” they said. “Given Mr. Barr’s public record of bias against the Special Counsel’s inquiry, he is not a neutral observer and is not in a position to make objective determinations about the report.”
Mueller also found no collusion between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russia, a conclusion that took what little wind was left in the sails of Democrats calling for impeachment.
Sen. Christopher Coons, D-Del., a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, predicted Sunday that “we will have a hard fight ahead over release of the full report and materials” but insisted that Democrats are “justified in seeking a broad view of what materials led to [Mueller’s] conclusion.”
In the House, Judiciary Committee member Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., voiced a similar conviction, that “now more than ever, we need to see the Mueller report and all of the underlying evidence.”