U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday dismissed unfavorable testimony in the Mueller report as “fabricated” and labeled the document “crazy” as his Democratic opponents vowed more investigations into the president’s behavior.
A 400-page document outlining the findings of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s 22-month investigation into Russian election interference – made public on Thursday – cleared Trump of criminal conspiracy but left open whether he had obstructed justice.
“Statements are made about me by certain people in the Crazy Mueller Report, in itself written by 18 Angry Democrat Trump Haters, which are fabricated & totally untrue,” the president tweeted.
Mueller’s report recounts 10 episodes involving the president and potential obstruction of the investigation.
Though Trump’s Attorney General Bill Barr and his deputy Rod Rosenstein concluded there was insufficient evidence to charge the president with obstruction of justice, Democrats have seized on Mueller’s conclusion that the investigation “does not exonerate” the president.
Punting to Congress
In his conclusion, Mueller also seemed to place the decision to follow up on obstruction allegations in the hands of Congress.
“With respect to whether the President can be found to have obstructed justice … we concluded that Congress has authority to prohibit a President’s corrupt use of his authority in order to protect the integrity of the administration of justice,” he wrote.
“The conclusion that Congress may apply the obstruction laws to the President’s corrupt exercise of the powers of office accords with our constitutional system of checks and balances and the principle that no person is above the law.”
Adam Schiff, the Democratic chairman of the powerful House Intelligence Committee, said the president’s actions outlined in the report are “deeply alarming” and “unquestionably dishonest, unethical, immoral and unpatriotic.”
Former acting FBI Dir. Andrew McCabe: "What Director Mueller has done here is he's provided an avalanche of facts that clearly indicate obstructive activity on the part of the president." https://t.co/t0Cjz8IF56
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) April 19, 2019
“Even in its incomplete form, the Mueller report outlines disturbing evidence that President Trump engaged in obstruction of justice” added chair of the House Judiciary Committee Jerry Nadler.
Both have reached the same conclusion: “The responsibility now falls to Congress to hold the President accountable for his actions.”
The same holds true for Senator Bernie Sanders, the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination for president.
“It is clear that Donald Trump wanted nothing more than to shut down the Mueller investigation,” he said. “While we have more detail from today’s report than before, Congress must continue its investigation into Trump’s conduct and any foreign attempts to influence our election.”
Impeachment Off The Table?
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the high profile freshman Democratic congresswoman, went a step further.
“Mueller’s report is clear in pointing to Congress’ responsibility in investigating obstruction of justice by the President,” she wrote on Twitter.
“It is our job as outlined in Article 1, Sec 2, Clause 5 of the US Constitution. As such, I’ll be signing onto [Rep. Rashida Talib‘s] impeachment resolution.”
Though some lawmakers from the party’s left wing have once again waved the threat of impeachment, the Democratic party’s leaders have once again clearly dismissed this option.
And even if the House of Representatives were to embark on such a path, it would likely be doomed to fail in the Republican-controlled Senate where a two-thirds majority is required to remove a sitting president.
Former Democratic president Bill Clinton was acquitted from his own impeachment proceedings in this fashion in 1999.
You know why Trump officials are strutting around today even though Special Counsel said he almost certainly broke the law & that Congress should pursue him? Because of Democrats’ pathetic weakness & preemptive surrender. Should be chasing the criminal right now, not their tails.
— Cenk Uygur (@cenkuygur) April 19, 2019
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has previously said impeachment proceedings wouldn’t be “worth it,” arguing Democrats should focus their attention on the 2020 presidential election.
The declared presidential candidates largely exercised caution in reacting to the report, posting one or two tweets before pivoting to the core issues of their campaigns: health insurance, rising inequality, education, and student debt.
But some from the more progressive wing of the left – such as the Young Turks’ Cenk Uyger and the Intercept’s Mehdi Hasan – have been critical of Pelosi’s declared strategy, arguing it evokes weakness.
“Well, the time for waiting is over. And the moment for impeachment hearings has arrived,” Hasan wrote. “This is your duty — your obligation! You must restore some sense of honor and integrity to the office of the presidency.”
More on the Subject
“The president slumped back in his chair and said: ‘Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my presidency. I’m fucked’,” the Mueller report said.