Congressional reaction to Mueller largely split along party lines
bpperry/iStock(WASHINGTON) — As might be expected, special counsel Robert Mueller’s surprise public statement Wednesday prompted members of Congress to react pointedly along party lines and appeared to do little to change lawmakers’ opinions.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who told reporters Wednesday that she still wants Mueller to testify saying “it would be useful,” is urging Americans to let Congress do its job in order to make the most ironclad case against the president, noting that any impeachment proceedings will need the support of Senate Republicans.
“Getting the truth for the American people. Where it will lead us. We shall see. Nothing is off the table,” Pelosi said, calling out the hard work of her colleagues who are running point on several House investigations into the president, his campaign, and finances.
“But we do want to make such a compelling case, such an ironclad case that even the Republican Senate would, at the time seems to be not an objective jury, will be convinced of the path that we have to take as a country,” she added.
“And we’re going to, as we go down the path, make a decision based on the strongest possible case to get the best results for the American people and action taken by the special counsel today,” Pelosi said.
“Many constituents want to impeach the president. But we want to do what is right and what gets results,” she said.
On the other hand, Republicans are largely calling on their colleagues and the American people to “move on.”
“It is time to move on from the investigation and start focusing on real solutions for the American people, like fixing the crisis at the southern border and stopping China from stealing our intellectual property,” Rep. Doug Collins, ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee said in a statement.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham, echoed Collins’ sentiments.
“Today’s statement by Mr. Mueller reinforces the findings of his report. And as for me, the case is over,” Graham said.
“Mr. Mueller has decided to move on and let the report speak for itself. Congress should follow his lead,” he added.
Taking a harder line than Pelosi, some Democrats, including many running for president in the 2020 election, are calling for Congress to begin impeachment proceedings against President Trump.
But others are taking a more tempered approach – urging Mueller to appear before Congress to testify on his years-long investigation of the Trump campaign and Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
“Mueller’s message to the American people is that Donald Trump would be a criminally charged defendant if he were not a sitting president. Mueller reaffirmed the point made by me and nearly one thousand fellow former federal prosecutors: Donald Trump would be in handcuffs, criminally indicted, but for his being President of the United States,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said in a statement.
“Robert Mueller should now unquestionably come before Congress to fairly, fully and publicly answer questions about his work and report. The American people need and deserve to hear from him,” he said.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said it’s now on Congress to continue its oversight of the president.
“Mr. Mueller’s statement also makes clear that Congress has a right — we believe an obligation — to continue our constitutionally mandated oversight without interference or stonewalling and follow the facts wherever they may lead,” Schumer said in a statement.
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