Nadler vows to hold 'major' hearings on Mueller findings
WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump sought Friday, April 19, to discredit damaging portions of the report by the special counsel, while Democrats subpoenaed the full report that led to no criminal charges but laid bare what they characterized as "alarming" behavior by the president.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., pledged rigorous congressional oversight following the report by special counsel Robert Mueller that Democrats said showed that Trump sought to obstruct justice in trying to undermine the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Mueller reached no conclusion on that issue in the report, but Attorney General William Barr said Thursday that the president's action did not amount to criminal conduct. The report also found insufficient evidence to charge Trump with illegally coordinating with Russia during the 2016 election.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., vowed Friday to hold "major" public hearings in the wake of the Mueller report. Speaking to WNYC radio in New York, Nadler indicated that besides hearing from Barr and Mueller, he is planning to summon several figures key to the report's findings.
"We will have major hearings," Nadler said. "Barr and Mueller are just the first. We will call a lot of other people. We'll see who they are. We will get to the bottom of this."
The 448-page report from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III submitted to Congress April 18 detailed 10 "episodes" of potential obstruction of justice against President Trump. Congressional Democrats must decide what, if anything, to do with Mueller's evidence. (Taylor Turner/The Washington Post)
White House spokesman Hogan Gidley lashed out at House Democrats for subpoenaing the unredacted version of Mueller's report, saying they are engaged in "more political grandstanding."
"When does this ever stop?" Gidley asked during an appearance on Fox News. "The Democrats have nothing to talk about. They don't want to talk about their agenda, making America socialist. . . . They'd rather talk about trying to go after this president."
Gidley asserted that Mueller's report proved Trump "completely innocent of any crime."
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the Trump administration would continue to press upon Russia that interference in other countries' elections is "unacceptable behavior" with consequences.
He challenged the assertion from the Kremlin that the Mueller report did not prove that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential campaign.
"The work they've done to interfere in elections around the world is real, there are real interferences," Pompeo told reporters during a news conference. "I don't think there's been a discussion between a senior U.S. official and the Russians in this administration where we haven't raised this issue and concerns about interference in our elections."
The United States imposed new sanctions on Russian businesses and individuals in response to the election interfering, but Trump has been lukewarm at best about punishing Russia.
While Trump answered several of Robert Mueller's questions during the investigation, for many he couldn't remember. Here are some of the most intriguing questions and answers revealed in Mueller's report. (Jhaan Elker/The Washington Post)
Many Democrats, including Nadler, have said Mueller's report suggests that Trump obstructed justice and provides a road map for Congress to follow up on that issue.
But Rep. Douglas Collins of Georgia, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, accused Democrats of issuing a "wildly overbroad" subpoena to Barr.
Collins's statement came shortly after Nadler announced the issuance of a subpoena seeking Mueller's full report and underlying documents.
"It commands the [Justice Department] to provide Congress with millions of records that would be plainly against the law to share because the vast majority of these documents came as a result of nearly 2,800 subpoenas from a grand jury that is still ongoing," Collins said.
Former attorney general Eric Holder, who led the Justice Department in the Obama administration, seemed to suggest in a tweet Friday morning that Congress should begin impeachment proceedings against Trump for obstruction of justice.
"ANY competent public corruption prosecutor would bring obstruction charges against Trump/win," he wrote.
Holder pointed to a section of the special counsel report explaining why Mueller didn't charge the president. Mueller wrote that he was limited by precedent that a sitting president can't be indicted, and that he didn't want to "potentially preempt constitutional processes for addressing presidential misconduct."
Holder interpreted that to mean "Congress now has a constitutional responsibility" to act.
This article was written by John Wagner and Colby Itkowitz, reporters for The Washington Post.