“I’ve read the report and it is clear that obstruction of justice occurred by this White House,” Rep. Steven Horsford said in a statement after Robert Mueller made a brief public appearance Wednesday morning reiterating the key conclusions of his report.
“It is now Congress’ duty to take the necessary actions because no one is above the law,” Horsford said.
Rep. Dina Titus issued a similar statement. “Mueller made it clear today that Department of Justice policy prevented him from bringing criminal charges against the President,” she said. “It is now up to Congress to ensure that no person is above the law.”
Both Nevada Democrats stopped short of calling for the launch of an impeachment inquiry.
Mueller spoke for about 10 minutes Wednesday morning from a podium at the Justice Department, marking his first public appearance since launching a two-year investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election.
“If we had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so. We did not, however, make a determination as to whether the president did commit a crime,” he said, reiterating a key finding from his 448-page report.
Mueller said he was abiding by longstanding Justice Department policy, where “a president cannot be charged with a federal crime while he is in office.” He added, “Charging a president with a crime was therefore not an option we could consider.”
Many House Democrats considering how to proceed in investigating a defiant administration took Mueller’s comments as a clear signal that it’s up to lawmakers to aggressively probe the president’s actions.
“Donald Trump lied about Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and he has failed to adequately protect us from future attempts by foreign adversaries to interfere in our elections,” Titus said. “The President has even continued to lie about the alarming conclusions in Robert Mueller’s report. Congress must hold Donald Trump fully accountable and bringing Special Counsel Mueller in to testify is an important step in that direction.”
But Mueller Wednesday expressed no interest in testifying.
Any congressional testimony he would offer “would not go beyond our report,” Mueller said. “We will not comment on any other conclusions or hypotheticals about the president.” He noted that his office isn’t involved in conversations about congressional access to the evidence underlying his report, which lawmakers are also seeking to obtain.
While Nevada’s Democrats have not called for a launch of impeachment proceedings, Mueller’s comments further energized some who are clamoring to begin an impeachment inquiry — including the sole Republican to push for impeachment, Michigan Rep. Justin Amash.
“The ball is in our court, Congress,” Amash said.