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) Swan MuellerSchiff: Trump acquittal in Senate trial would not signal a 'failure' Jeffries blasts Trump for attack on Thunberg at impeachment hearing Live coverage: House Judiciary to vote on impeachment after surprise delay MORE’s report offers copious evidence that President TrumpDonald John TrumpRouhani says Iran will never seek nuclear weapons Trump downplays seriousness of injuries in Iran attack after US soldiers treated for concussions Trump says Bloomberg is 'wasting his money' on 2020 campaign 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 RaskinCongressional Progressive Caucus co-chair Jayapal endorses Sanders Sanders, Warren battle for progressive endorsements The Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial questions; civil Democratic debate 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 BarrWilliam Pelham BarrThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial begins with clashes, concessions Barr wrote 2018 memo contradicting Trump's claim that abuse of power is not impeachable Brent Budowsky: McConnell, Roberts and Trump on trial 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 ComeyNYT: Justice investigating alleged Comey leak of years-old classified info Bernie-Hillary echoes seen in Biden-Sanders primary fight Rosenstein on his time in Trump administration: 'We got all the big issues right' 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