Congressional Democrats on Wednesday pounced on special counsel Robert Mueller’s first public statement regarding the Russia investigation, with a top House chair saying it now “falls to Congress to respond to the crimes, lies and other wrongdoing of President Trump.”
In a statement, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., said that Mueller reaffirmed his 448-page report and noted the special counsel did not exonerate Trump of obstruction of justice and that the Constitution “points to Congress to take action to hold the President accountable.”
“Although Department of Justice policy prevented the Special Counsel from bringing criminal charges against the President, the Special Counsel has clearly demonstrated that President Trump is lying about the Special Counsel’s findings, lying about the testimony of key witnesses in the Special Counsel’s report, and is lying in saying that the Special Counsel found no obstruction and no collusion,” Nadler said.
“Given that Special Counsel Mueller was unable to pursue criminal charges against the President, it falls to Congress to respond to the crimes, lies and other wrongdoing of President Trump — and we will do so. No one, not even the President of the United States, is above the law,” he added.
Nadler stopped short of calling for an impeachment inquiry — which his committee has the power to initiate and a number of his Democratic colleagues are now demanding.
Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., a member of the Judiciary panel and of Democratic leadership, tweeted that with Mueller’s work done, “it is time for Congress to do its job.” Cicilline was among three key Democrats who pressed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., last week to launch an impeachment inquiry.
According to an NBC News review, 40 House Democrats back initiating an impeachment inquiry as well as Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., the lone Republican in Congress in favor of taking that action.
Another pro-impeachment inquiry Democrat, Rep. Don Beyer of Virginia, tweeted that Mueller made it clear Wednesday that his investigation didn’t exonerate Trump and “directly contradicts Attorney General William Barr’s public statements.”
Many Democratic lawmakers on Twitter pointed to one Mueller remark in particular: “If we had had confidence that the president had clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so. We did not, however, make a determination as to whether the president did commit a crime.”