The powerful chairs of all of the major House committees issued a joint statement blasting Trump’s lies and obstruction of justice.
House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Adam B. Schiff, Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, Committee on Oversight and Reform Chairman Elijah E. Cummings, Committee on Financial Services Chairwoman Maxine Waters, Committee on Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot L. Engel, and Committee on Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal said in a joint statement provided to PoliticusUSA:
Despite a series of statements and letters by Attorney General Barr which mischaracterized Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s findings – beginning with his four-page summary almost a month ago, his congressional testimony last week, and today’s misleading press conference – the Special Counsel’s report speaks for itself and explicitly does not exonerate the president. Attorney General Barr misrepresented important aspects of the Special Counsel’s findings and provided the White House advance access to the report.
Taken as a whole, Mueller’s report paints a damning portrait of lies that appear to have materially impaired the investigation, a body of evidence of improper contacts with a foreign adversary, and serious allegations about how President Trump sought to obstruct a legitimate, and deeply important, counterintelligence investigation.
We are profoundly troubled by the astonishing efforts by President Trump identified in the report to obstruct the investigation, including his attempts to remove the Special Counsel and encourage witnesses to lie and to destroy or conceal evidence. In direct contradiction to the statements of the Attorney General this morning that the Special Counsel did not consider Department of Justice policy against indicting a sitting president, the Special Counsel stated that ‘fairness concerns counseled against potentially reaching that judgment [of criminal conduct] when no charges can be brought.’ Nor do we believe it was the Attorney General’s place to make such a judgment, either, and it is now apparent that the Special Counsel expressed no desire to have Barr make that decision himself. Instead, as the Special Counsel undoubtedly anticipated, it must fall to Congress to assess the President’s improper, corrupt and immoral conduct in an effort to obstruct the investigation.
Despite redactions that appear to obscure important details, the Special Counsel’s report finds that the Russian government interfered in the 2016 election in a ‘sweeping and systematic’ fashion in order to assist the candidacy of Donald Trump, and that the Trump campaign was aware of those efforts and expected it would benefit electorally from Russia’s efforts. Contrary to Attorney General Barr’s statements, the report catalogues the extensive interactions between Russian officials and agents and Trump campaign associates of a profoundly compromising nature. The report details how Russia deployed a multi-faceted intelligence operation and sought to exploit and influence the Trump campaign and transition, while the Trump campaign, beginning with candidate Trump, sought to benefit from a hostile foreign intelligence operation.
The report also details the multiple convictions of Trump campaign officials and associates secured by the Special Counsel for crimes related to obstructing the investigation, which hampered the investigation, according to the Special Counsel. In addition, the report outlines efforts to destroy evidence, conceal evidence through encrypted apps, and otherwise interfere with the Special Counsel’s ability to conduct this investigation. This apparent coordinated effort to cover up illicit contacts and links with Russia should concern all Americans, whether or not criminal charges were brought.
Although the details of the report are shocking, much of it still remains redacted and many questions remain. We must get the full report and the underlying evidence, including grand jury material, in order to perform our constitutional duties, including deciding whether new legislation is necessary. Special Counsel Mueller’s fact-gathering has concluded. It is now Congress’ responsibility to review and assess the evidence.
The House will investigate Trump for obstruction of justice, and they will get the full Mueller report, after a likely court battle. The process for laying out a sweeping case against Trump has taken a big step forward with the release of the redacted report. Trump and Barr engaged in a cover-up, but their time is running out, and the lies are being exposed.
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