Top Democrat hopes Mueller testimony will bring report 'to life'
The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee said he hoped that Robert Mueller's testimony this week will bring his 400-plus page report on alleged Russian election interference, and the president's attempts to quash that investigation, "to life." Zachary Goelman reports.
The man who lead a probe into alleged Russian election interference, the Trump campaign's contacts with Russian agents, and the president's attempts to quash the investigation will testify publicly before Congress this week.
And the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee on Sunday said he hoped former Special Counsel Robert Mueller would help Americans better understand the contents of his four-hundred-plus page report.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. DEMOCRATIC REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SCHIFF, SAYING: "Well, since most Americans 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." That might be a challenge.
Not only is the former FBI director notoriously tight-lipped, but when he officially closed the office of the special council in May, he said he didn't want to speak publicly about it, again.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) SPECIAL COUNSEL ROBERT MUELLER, SAYING (MAY 29): "Now I hope and expect this to be the only time that I will speak to you in this matter." Trump has claimed the Mueller report exonerated him of conspiracy and obstruction, and has called the Mueller probe a witch hunt.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP SAYING: "And my only response to Mueller is - "Does it ever stop?" - After all of these years and times and people, does it ever stop?" But Democrats aren't done with Mueller, or his report.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. DEMOCRATIC REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SCHIFF, SAYING: "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." The Mueller report laid out numerous contacts between Russian officials and Trump's campaign, but found no evidence of a criminal conspiracy.
It also gave examples of 10 incidents in which Trump sought to hinder the investigation, but it did not draw any conclusions on whether Trump obstructed justice.
Attorney General William Barr later concluded he did not see enough evidence to bring obstruction charges.
Mueller made clear his report did not clear the president of a crime.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) SPECIAL COUNSEL ROBERT MUELLER, SAYING (MAY 29): "If we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so." By having Mueller lay bare the details of how Trump may have tried to obstruct justice, Democrats could build support for impeachment proceedings.
Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton were both impeached in the House of Representatives for obstruction.
On Sunday, the Democratic House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler told Fox News he believed the Mueller report presented evidence of "high crime and misdemeanors." That's the bar the U.S. Constitution sets for impeaching the president.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) CLERK READING LEGISLATION AND SAYING: "Therefore Donald John Trump by causing such harm to the society of the United States, is unfit to be President and warrants impeachment trial and removal from office." But Democrats have wrestled with the political implications of going down that path.
They voted last week to table a resolution that would have started impeachment proceedings against Trump.