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 BarrHouse gears up for Mueller testimony History in the House: Congress weathers unprecedented week Court filings show Trump, Cohen contacts amid hush money payments MORE on Thursday evening while maintaining that special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerTop Republican considered Mueller subpoena to box in Democrats Kamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Dem committees win new powers to investigate Trump MORE's report on his nearly two-year investigation "does not exonerate" President TrumpDonald John TrumpCould Donald Trump and Boris Johnson be this generation's Reagan-Thatcher? Merkel backs Democratic congresswomen over Trump How China's currency manipulation cheats America on trade MORE.

In a joint statement, Democratic Reps. Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerTrump knocks Mueller after deal struck for him to testify House Democrats request briefing on Epstein, Acosta Nadler apologized after repeatedly calling Hope Hicks 'Ms. Lewandowski' at hearing MORE (N.Y.), Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffCourt filings show Trump, Cohen contacts amid hush money payments House passes annual intelligence bill Judge finds Stone violated gag order, blocks him from using social media MORE (Calif.), Maxine WatersMaxine Moore WatersHillicon Valley: Trump seeks review of Pentagon cloud-computing contract | FTC weighs updating kids' internet privacy rules | Schumer calls for FaceApp probe | Report says states need more money to secure elections Here are the 95 Democrats who voted to support impeachment Maxine Waters says her committee will call in Zuckerberg to testify about Libra MORE (Calif.), Richard NealRichard Edmund NealDemocrat: Treasury 'acknowledged the unprecedented process' in Trump tax return rejection House votes to repeal ObamaCare's 'Cadillac tax' Finish the work of building a renewable fuels industry MORE (Mass.), Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsDHS chief to Pelosi: Emergency border funding 'has already had an impact' Cummings tears into DHS chief for conditions at migrant border facilities EXCLUSIVE: Career officials rebut claims of White House interference in security clearance process MORE (Md.) and Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelAl Green says impeachment is 'only solution' to Trump's rhetoric Mystery surrounds elusive sanctions on Russia Here are the 95 Democrats who voted to support impeachment 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 RosensteinFeds will not charge officer who killed Eric Garner The Hill's Morning Report — Trump retreats on census citizenship question Judiciary issues blitz of subpoenas for Kushner, Sessions, Trump associates 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 ComeyFBI's spreadsheet puts a stake through the heart of Steele's dossier Hannity invites Ocasio-Cortez to join prime-time show for full hour The Hill's 12:30 Report: Acosta under fire over Epstein plea deal MORE, amounted to such a crime.