President Donald Trump speaks to members of the press after stepping off Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, Friday, June 7, 2019, in Washington. Trump is returning from a trip to Europe. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Case opened: Democrats begin public airing of Mueller report

The hearings will focus obstruction of justice and Russian election interference

President Donald Trump says it’s “case closed.” But Democrats are just getting started with Robert Mueller .

House Democrats have scheduled a series of hearings this coming week on the special counsel’s report as they intensify their focus on the Russia probe and pick up the pace on an investigative “path” — in the words of Speaker Nancy Pelosi — that some of them hope leads to impeachment of the president.

In doing so, they are trying to draw the public’s attention on the allegations that Trump sought to obstruct a federal investigation and they want highlight his campaign’s contacts with Russia in the 2016 election.

And they will lay the groundwork for an appearance from Mueller himself, despite his stated desire to avoid the spotlight .

The hearings will focus on the two main topics of Mueller’s report, obstruction of justice and Russian election interference.

The House Judiciary Committee plans to cover the first topic at a Monday hearing on “presidential obstruction and other crimes.” The House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday intends to review the counterintelligence implications of the Russian meddling. Mueller said there was not enough evidence to establish a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia, but he said he could not exonerate Trump on obstruction.

On Tuesday, the House has scheduled a vote to authorize contempt cases against Attorney General William Barr and former White House counsel Donald McGahn for failing to comply with subpoenas from the Democratic-controlled House.

Barr defied a subpoena to provide an unredacted version of Mueller’s report, along with underlying evidence. McGahn, who is frequently referenced in the report, has defied subpoenas to provide documents and testify before the House Judiciary Committee.

Language in the resolution would make it easier for committee chairmen to take the Trump administration to court. Those chairmen could take legal action to enforce subpoenas in the future without a vote of the full House, so long as the chairmen have approval from a five-person, bipartisan group where Democrats have the majority.

With Trump pledging that “we’re fighting all the subpoenas,” Democratic leaders want to avoid repeated floor votes on contempt resolutions that detract from their legislative agenda.

The procession of hearings and votes in the week ahead is partly designed to mollify anxious Democrats who have pushed Pelosi, D-Calif., to begin impeachment proceedings immediately . Pelosi has so far rejected that option , preferring a slower, more methodical approach to investigating the president, including the court fights and hearings.

During a meeting with the House Judiciary Committee chairman, New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler, and other committee heads last week, Pelosi made the case that she would rather see Trump voted out of office and “in prison” than merely impeached, according to a report in Politico. A person familiar with the exchange confirmed the account to The Associated Press.

The latest approach appears to have temporarily satisfied the restless House Democrats.

Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin, who pleaded with Pelosi last month to start an inquiry, said the votes and hearings are going to be enough, for now, as they wait to see what happens in court.

“I am very satisfied that things are moving in the right direction,” Raskin said. “And I think the American people are getting increasingly educated and engaged about the lawlessness of the president.”

Rep. David Cicilline, a Judiciary Committee member who favours an impeachment inquiry, took pains to avoid separating himself from top Democrats such as Pelosi.

“We should never proceed with impeachment for political reasons. We should never refuse to proceed with impeachment for political reasons,” Cicilline, D-Ri.I., said on “Fox News Sunday.”

Educating the American public on what is in the Mueller report is a priority for Democrats, who believe Trump and his allies have created the public impression that the report said there was no obstruction of justice. Trump has made that assertion repeatedly, echoing Barr’s judgment that there was not enough evidence in the report to support a criminal obstruction charge. Mueller said in the report that he could not exonerate Trump on that point.

The special counsel did not find evidence to establish a criminal conspiracy between Trump’s campaign and Russia. But the report details multiple contacts between the two.

California Rep. Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said the goal of the Wednesday hearing will be to explain to the American people “the serious counterintelligence concerns raised by the Mueller report, examine the depth and breadth of the unethical and unpatriotic conduct it describes, and produce prescriptive remedies to ensure that this never happens again.”

Republicans are poised to defend the president at the hearings and challenge Democrats on the decision not to open impeachment hearings.

Georgia Rep. Doug Collins, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, sent Nadler a letter Friday calling the upcoming hearing a “mock impeachment hearing” and warning Democrats to be civil when speaking of the president.

Collins said in the letter that outside of impeachment proceedings, “it is out of order for a member of Congress, in debate, to engage in personalities with the president or express an opinion, even a third party opinion, accusing the president of a crime. The rules are clear on this point.”

Mary Clare Jalonick, The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Impaired driving charge approved in Saanich hit and run that left woman in coma

‘This was a significant crash that caused serious injuries,’ say police

Vancouver Islander spots online photo of stolen totem pole 11 years later

Mark Trueman restored the pole himself before it was stolen off of his property in Duncan

VicPD called to Beacon Hill Park after body found

Suspicious circumstances not ruled out in apparent sudden death

John Horgan promises action after fatal mid-Island bus crash

Premier cites students, local Indigneous community as reason to repair the road

PHOTOS: Young protesters in B.C. and beyond demand climate change action

Many of the protesters were children and youth who skipped school to take part in the demonstrations.

B.C. truck drivers to face higher fines for not using winter tire chains

As of Oct. 1, not using chains on the highway when required could net you a $598 ticket

Former B.C. lifeguard gets house arrest for possession of child porn

Cees Vanderniet of Grand Forks will serve six months of house arrest, then two years’ probation

How to react to Trudeau’s racist photos? With humility, B.C. prof says

‘We are now treating racism as a crime that you cannot recover from’

‘I’d do it again,’ says B.C. man who swam naked, drunk in Toronto shark tank

David Weaver, of Nelson, was drunk when he went to Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto on Oct. 12 2018

VIDEO: Fire destroys Williams Lake strip club targeted by past arson attempts

Diamonds and Dust Entertainment Lounge destroyed by fire, as well as New World Tea and Coffee House

Second bat found at Greater Victoria elementary school tests positive for rabies

Island Health confirms second rabies case, this time in Saanich

Island teachers making noise for a new deal

Representatives target Comox Valley MLA concerned about class size and composition issues

VicPD investigates stabbing near Selkirk Montessori school

Victim in potentially life-threatening condition

Most Read