Top Democrats have announced plans to question Special Adviser Robert Müller as he testifies this week before the Justice and Intelligence Committees of the House of Representatives. Their ultimate goal: to make Mueller's 448-page report on Donald Trump's relations with Russia and possible judicial disabilities illustrative and interesting to the American people.
Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said on Sunday Face the Nation this was important as most Americans would not have read Mueller's summary of his two-year investigation.
Schiff called the report "a rather damned series of facts that include a presidential campaign in a close race in which aid is welcomed by a hostile foreign power," but admitted that it was a "rather dry work product of the United States Prosecutor "acts.
"Who better to bring her to life than the man who conducted the investigation himself? ", Schiff asked.
But Mueller was aware that he did not intend to deal with any succulent details of the investigation, which were not yet presented in the report. In a public statement earlier this year, Müller said: "The report is my testimony. I would not provide information that goes beyond the information that appeared publicly before the Congress. "
Jerry Nadler, chairman of the House of Representatives, told the Democrats the committee's plan to circumvent this restraint by having Muller read his report and ask him to comment on what he read.
At Fox News Sunday Nadler gave an example of how this kind of questioning would work: "Look at page 344, paragraph 2, please read it. Does this describe the obstruction of justice? Did you notice that the president did that? "Said Nadler. [Müller] agreed to speak publicly only after receiving a summons from both committees, but the hearing, which was originally scheduled for July 1
In the meantime, have The Democrats are coordinating how they want to interview the Special Representative, and as a rule, members do not work together on issues like this, with Schiff and Nadler reportedly dividing the two sections of the report into their committees, and the Justice Committee will focus on obstructing justice while the Intelligence Committee is heading for Russia's contacts with Trump-Mit workers, the Washington Post reported.
Nadler said that he believes the report contains "very substantial evidence" that Trump is guilty of crimes that deserve to be ousted, and that he hopes to make Mueller some of the worst explain possible cases of disability, as outlined by the Special Representative listed in his report.
"We must let Mueller present these facts to the American people and the US government. Then look where we are going from there, because the administration has to be held accountable and no president can be above the law," he said ,
What's in the Mueller report?
Mueller's report was the result of an investigation that began after the 2016 elections to see if the Trump campaign was coordinated with the Russian government to influence the US election.
The first part of the report examines whether the Trump campaign was involved in Russia's social media propaganda campaign, whether it helped hack Clinton's campaign and Democratic Party accounts when it leaked information to WikiLeaks forwarded, and also the links of Trump employees examined to the Russians. Mueller did not find clear evidence of a Trump-Russia plot, but noted that while the report "did not identify any particular facts", it did not "mean that there was no evidence to support these facts".
The second part examines whether Trump tried to obstruct the judiciary by investigating his relations with Russia. Mueller does not clarify whether he believes that Trump is obstructing the judiciary; However, the report contains measures that can be considered as disabilities. This section of the report summarizes: "If, after a thorough investigation into the facts, we had the confidence that the President clearly did not obstruct the judiciary, we would say so." Müller did not state this.
What Democrats Expect From Muller's Statement
Only 3 percent of Americans have read the entire Müller report, and only 10 percent have read some of them, according to a CNN survey released in May.
Democrats who are aware of this low reading rate hope that a special representative's television appearance discussing the report will improve the public's understanding of the report's content and lead to an increase in the president's public opposition.
And they have reason to believe that this could work, at least a bit: after Mueller spoke briefly in May, the percentage of Americans who supported the impeachment process rose from 16, according to an NPR / PBS NewsHour 22 percent. Maristenumfrage.
During this briefing in May, Muller reverted to what Trump had described after the report's publication as "complete and complete relief." The report relieved and did not accuse the president of what made Müller clear.
"As stated in the report, we would have said after this investigation, if we had the confidence that the President clearly did not commit a crime," said Müller.
As Andrew Prokop of Vox explained, the report said:
Müller makes it clear that his investigation did not reveal a conspiracy between Trump employees and the Russian government that might upset the election. And the Special Adviser does not say, in one way or another, whether he thinks that President Trump has made the law punishable in the ministry – even though he clarifies that the evidence is quite worrying. …
The report makes some things clear: the Russian government was trying to get Trump to victory, the Trump campaign was eager to benefit from hacker attacks against Democrats, and Trump's campaign advisors had a variety of relations with Russia's President Trump tried again and again to obstruct the investigation in Russia.
Muller's team did not accuse Trump of obstructing the judiciary because the Special Representative had followed the Ministry of Justice's policy prohibiting the indictment of a seated president. Mueller would not say if Trump violated the law because, as Prokop wrote, "it would be unfair to the President because the fact that he can not be charged means that he will not get his name out of court by an acquittal can clarify. "
Instead, Mueller directed Congress to decide if Trump is guilty.
"The conclusion that Congress can apply an obstacle law to the president's corrupt exercise of authority is in line with our constitutional system of scrutiny and the principle that no one is above the law," he wrote in the report. "While this report does not conclude that the president has committed a crime, he does not relieve him."
This line empowered Congressional Democrats who believed Trump should be charged, as Ella Nilsen and Emily Stewart of Vox reported:
Many Democrats saw this as an invitation to the House Judiciary Committee to initiate an impeachment investigation – something on which Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and her senior lieutenants were reluctant to get involved. Instead, the Democratic leader has argued that her party continue to investigate the president, even as an increasing number of people demand the opening of an investigation.
Müller's statement is an advance in this investigation. And Nadler suggested that if the meeting energized the public, the House Democrats might tend to rethink their strategy, saying that after the hearings, the party will "see where we go from there."
Although Muller only repeats what he has already laid Democrats who support the impeachment hope to speak publicly about his report, more of their colleagues will be encouraged to support an official inquiry. And those who refuse to initiate an impeachment investigation hope that Müller's testimony will at least harm the president when he seeks re-election in 2020.