House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler said Sunday that special counsel Robert Mueller’s report into Russian interference in the 2016 election contains “very substantial evidence” that President Donald Trump is “guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors.”
Nadler made his remarks just days before the keenly anticipated appearance by Mueller before two House committees on Wednesday to discuss the findings of his nearly two-year long investigation.
Nadler, who would preside over any House impeachment trial of the president, made his remarks during an appearance on Fox News Sunday. He called attention to specific and precise language — “high crimes and misdemeanors” — cited in the Constitution required to bring impeachment proceedings against a president.
“We have to … let Mueller present those facts to the American people, and then see where we go from there, because the administration must be held accountable,” Nadler said.
Mueller reluctantly agreed to sit for five hours of questioning before two separate panels, but only after House Democrats issued a subpoena to compel his testimony. The former FBI director repeatedly has said that he has little more to say about his investigation beyond what was contained in his 448-page report.
In remarks made to the media in May, Mueller underscored the report’s findings that his investigation failed to clear Trump of obstruction of justice, but avoided saying explicitly whether the president should be impeached.In fact, what he said was more a circuitous comment than a direct assessment of culpability.
“If we had had confidence that the President clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so,” Mueller said in his statement following the release of his report. “We did not, however, make a determination as to whether the president did commit a crime.”
Some Democrats are insisting that Mueller testify in public before the two House committees in the apparent expectation that public sentiment for impeachment would grow with following his appearance.
Media reports suggest that Democrats are busy developing a line of questioning for Mueller that they hope will expose Trump’s offenses and ultimately lead to a groundswell of public support for impeachment hearings.
In a separate Sunday appearance on CBS’s Face the Nation, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) said Mueller’s appearance on Capitol Hill was important to clear up the public’s understanding of the report’s findings.
“Well, since most Americans, you know, in their busy lives haven’t had the opportunity to read that report — and it’s a pretty dry, prosecutorial work product — we want Bob Mueller to bring it to life, to talk about what’s in that report,” Schiff said.
“It’s a pretty damning set of facts that involve a presidential campaign in a close race welcoming help from a hostile foreign power, not reporting it but eagerly embracing it, building it into their campaign strategy, lying about it to cover up, then obstructing an investigation into foreign interference again to try to cover up,” the California lawmaker said.
Schiff added that he hopes the public will be swayed to support impeachment when they hear Mueller’s findings from his own mouth, rather than having his conclusions shaped by Attorney General William Barr, who is accused of misrepresenting the report in the aftermath of its release.
“[W]ho better to bring them to life than the man who did the investigation himself?” Schiff said.
“We want the people to hear it directly from him,” he added.