Top Dem on Mueller findings: 'This is bigger than Watergate was'

Top Dem on Mueller findings: 'This is bigger than Watergate was'
© Stefani Reynolds

Rep. James Clyburn (S.C.), the third-ranking Democrat in the House, said special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerHouse progressive: Pelosi 'has it right' on impeachment Democrats talk subpoena for Mueller Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna: 'I'm not there yet' on impeachment MORE’s conclusions are “bigger than Watergate” and suggested President TrumpDonald John TrumpFeinstein, Iranian foreign minister had dinner amid tensions: report The Hill's Morning Report - Trump says no legislation until Dems end probes Harris readies a Phase 2 as she seeks to rejuvenate campaign MORE would have been indicted if he weren't a sitting president.

“It may not be as big as a lot of the crises that we have had as a nation, but this is bigger than Watergate was. All you’ve got to do is look at this report and you know, that but for his status as president of the United States, this president would have been indicted for obstruction of justice, and there are 10 or 12 instances in the Mueller report that indicate that,” Clyburn said on MSNBC Thursday. 

Though Mueller found insufficient evidence to suggest that any Trump associates conspired with Moscow during Russia's efforts to interfere in the 2016 election, he declined to make a prosecutorial judgement on whether Trump had obstructed any subsequent probes, specifically citing Justice Department guidelines saying a sitting president cannot be indicted.

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Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump says no legislation until Dems end probes Harris readies a Phase 2 as she seeks to rejuvenate campaign Justin Amash confirms collusion witch hunt was all about politics MORE and former Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinJake Tapper fact-checks poster Trump admin created describing Mueller investigation Jeffrey Rosen officially sworn in as deputy attorney general Democrats talk subpoena for Mueller MORE later told Congress that they would not bring any obstruction charges after reviewing Mueller’s underlying evidence.

Democrats have seized on Mueller’s comments concerning obstruction of justice, particularly regarding 10 “episodes” he cited that may detail obstructive acts from Trump.

House committee chairs have since ramped up their oversight efforts over the Trump administration, launching a slew of probes both related to and independent of the Mueller investigation.

The administration has fought back, with Barr declining to appear in front of the House Judiciary Committee and the White House declaring executive privilege over the Mueller report and preventing a former White House lawyer, Don McGahn, from testifying. House Democrats have responded by issuing more subpoenas and holding Barr in contempt of Congress.

“I would define it as a confrontational crisis. That’s exactly what it is,” Clyburn said. 

“In a time when you have such divisions between the branches of government as we have between the executive and legislative, and looking for the judiciary to step in to moderate or help us navigate through this, that’s a crisis situation.”