Dem House chairs: Mueller report 'does not exonerate the president'

Dem House chairs: Mueller report 'does not exonerate the president'
© Greg Nash

Six top House Democrats blasted Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrDems plan marathon prep for Senate trial, wary of Trump trying to 'game' the process Pentagon to place new restrictions, monitoring on foreign military students Parnas: Environment around Trump 'like a cult' MORE on Thursday evening while maintaining that 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 on his nearly two-year investigation "does not exonerate" President TrumpDonald John TrumpNational Archives says it altered Trump signs, other messages in Women's March photo Dems plan marathon prep for Senate trial, wary of Trump trying to 'game' the process Democratic lawmaker dismisses GOP lawsuit threat: 'Take your letter and shove it' MORE.

In a joint statement, Democratic Reps. Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerMcConnell locks in schedule for start of impeachment trial Pelosi: Trump's impeachment 'cannot be erased' House to vote Wednesday on sending articles of impeachment to Senate MORE (N.Y.), Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffDems plan marathon prep for Senate trial, wary of Trump trying to 'game' the process The Hill's Morning Report — President Trump on trial GOP threatens to weaponize impeachment witnesses amid standoff MORE (Calif.), Maxine WatersMaxine Moore WatersGearing up for a chaotic year on K Street Maxine Waters: Republicans 'shielding' Trump 'going to be responsible for dragging us to war' Green says House shouldn't hold impeachment articles indefinitely MORE (Calif.), Richard NealRichard Edmund NealTreasury watchdog to investigate Trump opportunity zone program House poised to hand impeachment articles to Senate House to vote Wednesday on sending articles of impeachment to Senate MORE (Mass.), Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsBaltimore unveils plaques for courthouse to be named after Elijah Cummings GOP leaders encourage retiring lawmakers to give up committee posts Pelosi taps Virginia Democrat for key post on economic panel MORE (Md.) and Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelOvernight Defense: Book says Trump called military leaders 'dopes and babies' | House reinvites Pompeo for Iran hearing | Dems urge Esper to reject border wall funding request House panel reinvites Pompeo to deliver Iran testimony Pompeo under pressure over threats to Yovanovitch MORE (N.Y.) condemned what they said was a "damning portrait of lies" that could amount to obstruction of justice committed by the president.

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“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," the committee chairs wrote.

“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," the lawmakers continued.

Nadler, Schiff, Waters, Neal, Cummings and Engel serve as chairs of the House Judiciary, Intelligence, Financial Services, Ways and Means, Oversight and Reform and Foreign Affairs panels, respectively.

Democrats have accused Barr of misrepresenting Mueller's findings, citing sections of the report that state Congress should be allowed to decide whether to investigate a sitting president for "corrupt" uses of presidential power.

“With respect to whether the President can be found to have obstructed justice by exercising his powers under Article II of the Constitution, we concluded that Congress has authority to prohibit a President’s corrupt use of his authority in order to protect the integrity of the administration of justice,” Mueller wrote.

Barr wrote in a four-page summary of the report sent to Congress last month that Mueller had left the determination of whether to prosecute Trump for obstruction up to the attorney general. Barr said that he and Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinJournalist alleging Obama administration spied on her seeks to reopen case Rosenstein on his time in Trump administration: 'We got all the big issues right' Rod Rosenstein joins law and lobbying firm MORE decided there was not enough evidence to pursue an obstruction charge.

Democrats have criticized Barr and Rosenstein's decision not to pursue prosecution of the president for obstruction of justice, arguing that actions taken by the president, including the firing of former 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, amounted to such a crime.