WASHINGTON — Congressional Democrats pledged action after Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III said that President Donald Trump was not charged with obstruction because of Justice Department regulations that prohibit the indictment of a sitting president.
“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,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (N.Y.) said in a statement.
Mueller on DOJ policy, “The Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing.”
— Elijah E. Cummings (@RepCummings) May 29, 2019
“Mr. Mueller made clear today that the Russians interfered in our elections, the wellspring of our democracy. If President Trump and Congress don’t do anything, it will be worse in 2020 and yet, inexplicably, Senator McConnell and the Republicans in the Senate are blocking bipartisan election security legislation, despite Democrats’ repeated calls to protect our democracy from interference—by Russia or any other foreign adversary,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) said in a statement
He added: “Mr. Mueller’s statement also makes clear that Congress has a right—we believe an obligation—to continue our constitutionally mandated oversight without interference or stonewalling and follow the facts wherever they may lead.”
Some Democrats called for impeachment.
Mueller’s statement makes clear what those who have read his report know: It is an impeachment referral, and it’s up to Congress to act. They should.
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) May 29, 2019
Robert Mueller made it clear that the OLC opinion prevented him from indicting the President for obstruction. Trump will continue to stymie Congressional investigations. It is time for the House to open an impeachment inquiry.
— Senator Mazie Hirono (@maziehirono) May 29, 2019
Mueller made clear Trump is NOT exonerated and that AG Barr is a liar. Mueller did his job now it's time for Congress to do its job. No more hiding behind the special counsel. Enough is enough. It's time to #ImpeachTrump. We can't wait for 2020. The time is NOW!
— Maxine Waters (@RepMaxineWaters) May 29, 2019
However, Republicans said Mueller’s statement did not reveal anything new.
“The special counsel made it very clear that his report is definitive and he has no intention to testify before Congress. It is well past time for Democrats to move on from this madness. Speaker Pelosi and her caucus need to accept the results of the 2016 election, admit there was no collusion, and recognize that Russia’s election meddling happened under President Obama’s watch,” House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (La.) said in a statement.
He added: “Republicans are committed to improving the lives of the American people. I invite Democrats to join us and focus on the issues their constituents sent them to Congress to address.”
9 minute and 39 second press conference. Same conclusions. No new information.
Time to move on.
— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) May 29, 2019
Mueller spoke at a news conference at the Justice Department late Wednesday morning. It was the first time he spoke publicly about the 22-month investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
In a 400-plus report that he submitted to Attorney General William Barr on March 22, Mueller said he did not find evidence of collusion between members of the Trump campaign and Russian officials. Mueller did not make a determination as to whether obstruction had occurred.
Barr and then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, however, said that they reviewed the evidence presented in Mueller’s report and did not find that the evidence reached the standard to charge Trump with obstruction.
Barr released a redacted version of the special counsel’s report on April 18.