After the release of the redacted Mueller report on Thursday, Democrats are wanting to continue pursuing President Donald Trump amid allegations of obstruction during the 2016 election, the BBC says. While the President’s legal team have completely exonerated Trump, special counsel Robert Mueller — who wrote the 448-page report — is being asked to testify to Congress about his investigation.
The report itself has not said that Trump did collude with the Russians. However, it also did not come to a conclusion about any issues of obstruction of justice. The report said that while it does not “conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”
“If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the president clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state…Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, we are unable to reach that judgement.”
Democratic leaders are making moves to obtain the full, unredacted version of the document. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer have issued a joint statement saying that Mueller’s report painted a “disturbing picture of a president who has been weaving a web of deceit, lies and improper behavior”.
Speaking to the BBC, Congresswoman Jackie Speier said that Mueller had “basically tossed the ball to Congress and said, ‘you need to pursue obstruction of justice here’.”
New York Congressman Jerry Nadler, meanwhile, tweeted on Thursday that the full report needed to be read to ensure “accountability.”
We cannot take Attorney General Barr's word for it. We must read the full Mueller report, and the underlying evidence. This is about transparency and ensuring accountability. https://t.co/eNDgQKJHa8— (((Rep. Nadler))) (@RepJerryNadler) April 18, 2019
Attorney General William Barr has been criticized by Democrats, who say that he has been “misleading” them with an earlier summary of the investigation findings. Barr has been public in his support of the president.
The report also reveals that Trump told a White House lawyer to remove Mueller, citing “conflicts of interest”. However, the lawyer resigned, allegedly stating that he does not wish to follow the order. The report says that this incident — as well as additional incidents in which members of the administration refused to follow directives — could be the reason why attempts to hinder the investigation have failed.
While the report has been seen as a key tool for impeaching the president, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer has said it would not be “worthwhile at this point”.
Trump has repeatedly denied any allegations of collusion or of obstructing justice. Representatives speaking on his behalf have said that the president says the investigation was a “hoax” and they are calling for an inquiry. Russian officials have also denied the results of the report with Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov, saying that the findings contained “no new information.”