GOP group urges Republicans to speak out on obstruction claims against Trump in new ad

A Republican group is urging GOP members of Congress to take seriously allegations of obstruction of justice made against President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump retweets personal attacks on Clinton, Pelosi, Abrams Biden swipes at Trump: 'Presidency is about a lot more than tweeting from your golf cart' GOP sues California over Newsom's vote-by-mail order MORE in a new ad released Monday.

Republicans for the Rule of Law is airing the ad on "Fox & Friends" on Monday, ahead of the House Judiciary Committee’s hearing with Watergate star witness and former Nixon White House counsel John Dean to discuss the evidence of potential obstruction uncovered by special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE.

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In the 60-second ad, first shared with The Hill, Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee during the Watergate hearings are shown raising concerns about potential obstruction of justice as committed by then-President Nixon.

“When Nixon was alleged to have obstructed justice, Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee took these allegations seriously,” the ad begins.

Footage of several GOP lawmakers serving on the panel at that time is then shown, as they called for action to be taken over the then-president’s obstruction efforts.

“It is we, not the Democrats, who must show we are capable of enforcing the high standard we would set for them,” Rep. M. Caldwell Butler (R-Va.) is shown saying.

“Republicans stood for the rule of law then. Republicans should stand for the rule of law now,” the ad ends.

Chris Truax, a spokesperson for Republicans for the Rule Law, called the group’s new ad a “reminder of what patriotism and political bravery can look like.”

“Congressional Republicans are more than happy to admit in private that they are troubled, disappointed, and disturbed by President Trump’s abuses of executive power,” Truax said.

“When none of their constituents can hear them, they speak frankly about their moral qualms and objections about their roles in undermining the original design of our Constitution. Their constituents — and all Americans — deserve to hear the same in public.”

Rep. Justin AmashJustin AmashThe Hill's Campaign Report: DOJ, intel to be major issues in 2020 Amash decides against Libertarian campaign for president The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - In reversal, Trump says he won't disband coronavirus task force MORE (R-Mich.) is the only Republican currently serving in Congress who has come out in favor of starting impeachment proceedings against Trump, based off the obstruction findings in the Mueller report.

He has said that other Republicans have privately raised concerns to him about Trump’s conduct. 

Republicans for the Rule of Law has aired similar ads in the past. One such video showed three former federal prosecutors, all appointed by Republicans, who argue that Trump would have been indicted on obstruction charges were he not the president.

Mueller declined to say in his report whether he believed Trump had committed a crime.

And he said at a press conference late last month that charging Trump with a crime “was not an option we could consider,” pointing to Justice Department guidance that states a sitting president cannot be indicted.

Trump and his allies have declared that the president's name should be cleared over the allegations, as Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrTrump sides with religious leaders in fight against governors Senate Democrats call on Trump administration to let Planned Parenthood centers keep PPP loans Senate Republicans call on DOJ to investigate Planned Parenthood loans MORE said that he and then-Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinSenate Republicans issue first subpoena in Biden-Burisma probe Graham to release report on his probe into Russia investigation before election McConnell embraces subpoena of Obama-era officials MORE determined there wasn’t enough evidence to charge the president.

But some Democrats argue that Mueller signaled that they should start impeachment proceedings against Trump. Fifty-six Democratic lawmakers have called for an impeachment inquiry so far, according to a list compiled by The Hill.

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTrump retweets personal attacks on Clinton, Pelosi, Abrams Biden swipes at Trump: 'Presidency is about a lot more than tweeting from your golf cart' Federal aid to state and local governments should rely on real numbers MORE (D-Calif.) has staved off those calls, pointing to recent court victories by Democrats in their investigations of the president as showing there are other means of holding Trump accountable.

But lawmakers aren't planning on letting the Mueller report stay out of the spotlight: Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee are planning a series of hearings to examine the special counsel's findings, starting with Monday’s hearing with Dean.