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Dem lawmaker: Mueller report shows 'substantial body of evidence' on obstruction

A Democrat who serves on both the Judiciary and Oversight and Reform committees says special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerWhy a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel CNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump MORE’s report offers copious evidence that President TrumpDonald TrumpCIA chief threatened to resign over push to install Trump loyalist as deputy: report Azar in departure letter says Capitol riot threatens to 'tarnish' administration's accomplishments Justice Dept. argues Trump should get immunity from rape accuser's lawsuit MORE obstructed justice since taking office.

“There’s a substantial body of evidence that’s been compiled by the special counsel, which demonstrates obstruction of justice,” Rep. Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben RaskinHouse impeaches Trump for second time — with some GOP support Washington state rep joins list of Republicans voting to impeach Trump The Hill's Morning Report - How many Republicans will vote for Trump's impeachment? MORE (D-Md.) told Hill.TV’s Jamal Simmons during an interview that aired on Friday.

Raskin, who is also a former constitutional law professor, criticized Attorney General William BarrBill BarrActing attorney general condemns Capitol riots, warns 'no tolerance' for violence at Biden inauguration Barr, White House counsel told Trump not to self-pardon: report Trump condemns riots, says he will focus on transition in taped remarks MORE’s handling of the report’s release, accusing Barr of injecting his “own opinion” supporting Trump.

“What kept him from pronouncing on the ultimate legal conclusion, which was the gap the attorney general pounced on in order to insert his own opinion was simply the fact that the Department of Justice takes the position that the president cannot be indicted while in office,” Raskin said, noting Mueller was “very careful” in the report to point out that the president can be indicted after leaving office.

The Maryland Democrat also took issue with Barr’s overall legal approach, calling it a “radical and extreme view.”

“The attorney general himself takes the position that the president under this unitary executive theory can never be guilty of obstructing justice — that’s a radical and extreme view, which the special counsel goes to great pains to debunk”, he said.

Raskin emphasized that nobody’s above the law — not even the president.

“It is the difference between a constitutional democracy and a monarch that the president is bound by the law and can’t fire prosecutors for investigating his friends or his family and can’t bribe jurors,” he told Hill.TV.

Questions surrounding whether Trump committed obstruction of justice have taken center stage following the release of the report.

The special counsel wrote that he lacked “confidence” to rule definitely that Trump did not criminally obstruct justice. His report also did not exonerate the president of such a charge.

The report went on to say that Mueller’s team face challenges in establishing whether Trump acted with “corrupt intent” when he fired FBI director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyComey: Biden should consider pardoning Trump Comey: 'Greatest punishment' for Trump after Capitol riot is to 'move past' his presidency Comey argues Trump shouldn't be prosecuted after leaving Oval Office MORE among other instances.

“The evidence we obtained about the President’s actions and intent presents difficult issues that prevent us from conclusively determining that no criminal conduct occurred,” the report states.

—Tess Bonn