House Democrats on Tuesday will launch an aggressive communications campaign to highlight Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE's sweeping investigation into Russian election interference just ahead of the former special counsel's appearance before Congress for a pair of hotly anticipated hearings.
The office of Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDemocrats face critical 72 hours Equilibrium/Sustainability — Presented by Southern Company — 'Too late to evacuate' after wildfire debris Greene fined a third time for refusing to wear mask on House floor MORE (D-Calif.) has crunched Mueller's 448-page report into a six-page document featuring the former FBI director's most damning findings, which will be distributed Tuesday to Democratic lawmakers to guide their outreach to voters as all eyes in Washington turn to Mueller's testimony.
Dubbed "Exposing the Truth," the six-page memo was coordinated between Pelosi's office and the two House committees where Mueller will appear on Wednesday: Judiciary, chaired by Rep. Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerAll eyes on Garland after Bannon contempt vote Photos of the Week: Manchin protestor, Paris Hilton and a mirror room Fight breaks out between Jordan, Nadler over rules about showing video at Garland hearing MORE (D-N.Y.), and Intelligence, led by Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffAll eyes on Garland after Bannon contempt vote House votes to hold Bannon in contempt of Congress The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Altria - Manchin heatedly dismisses rumors of leaving Democratic Party MORE (D-Calif.).
From a messaging standpoint, the operation, along with an accompanying social media campaign, is designed to put a public spotlight on both the vulnerabilities in America's election system and President TrumpDonald TrumpYoungkin ad features mother who pushed to have 'Beloved' banned from son's curriculum White House rejects latest Trump claim of executive privilege Democrats say GOP lawmakers implicated in Jan. 6 should be expelled MORE's conduct before and after winning the White House, as noted by Mueller's findings. As a political tool, it's meant to pressure Republicans to consider the election, ethics and national security reforms Democrats have pushed heading into the polls next year.
"We're at this incredible moment in time where we could either move forward as a unified nation in a very patriotic way to address these issues and these vulnerabilities, or our Republican colleagues will force us to turn the page ... on one of the greatest threats facing our nation right now," said a Democratic leadership aide.
"We're hoping this will heighten the sense of urgency for a whole-of-government response to protect our democracy going forward."
The document, obtained Monday by The Hill, features biting excerpts from Mueller's report as well as subsequent remarks from the former special counsel, including his explicit refusal to exonerate Trump from crimes of obstruction.
It points out that Mueller found clear evidence that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election for the purpose of tipping the outcome toward Trump, that members of Trump's campaign were eager to accept the foreign help and that Mueller's team found at least 10 episodes when Trump or his allies potentially obstructed the investigation.
For rank-and-file lawmakers, it's meant to serve as a sort of CliffsNotes version of Mueller's mammoth report as they discuss with voters the implications of his testimony.
"Members will go home and have to engage their constituencies on what's next — how do we hold this president accountable?" the leadership aide said. "So we put it all at their fingertips."
Separately, Pelosi's office is launching a social media blitz — #RetweetTheReport — featuring more than 20 of the more striking quotes from Mueller's findings.
Democrats are hoping the campaign, combined with Mueller's testimony, will shift public sentiment in favor of efforts to hold Trump accountable and bolster election security — and force GOP leaders to act on them.
"We hope that these hearings can perhaps turn up the temperature on our Republican colleagues who have been missing in action," said a second Democratic aide.
The Democrats have their work cut out.
Although they've passed a series of election reform bills through the House this year — including legislation for stricter oversight of election vendors, mandated paper ballot systems and post-election vote audit requirements — Republican leaders in the GOP-controlled Senate have refused to take them up. And House Republicans, siding with Trump, are showing no signs they intend to be swayed by Mueller's testimony on Wednesday.
"We're wanting to show this for what it is, and that is the final episode of the Mueller report and a final episode to hopefully put this behind [us]," Rep. Doug CollinsDouglas (Doug) Allen CollinsLoeffler meets with McConnell amid speculation of another Senate run Georgia agriculture commissioner launches Senate campaign against Warnock Poll shows tight GOP primary for Georgia governor MORE (Ga.), the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, told Fox News on Sunday.
Trump, for years, has characterized the investigation as a "witch hunt." And he jumped into the debate again on Monday with a blistering new attack on Mueller, his investigation and the Democrats who pressed the reluctant special counsel to testify.
"The attorney general, based on the report, was easily able to find there was no obstruction, there’s no nothing," Trump said from the Oval Office, referring to William BarrBill BarrMeadows hires former deputy AG to represent him in Jan. 6 probe: report Why it's time for conservatives to accept the 2020 election results and move on Bannon's subpoena snub sets up big decision for Biden DOJ MORE. "They’re wasting their time."
The aggressiveness of the Democrats' messaging campaign heading into Wednesday's hearings suggests a certain level of frustration among party leaders that Mueller's report, released in April, had virtually no tangible effect on Trump's Republican allies in terms of their approach to election security or executive accountability.
Indeed, the one Republican to condemn the president based on Mueller's findings, Rep. Justin AmashJustin AmashDemocrats defend Afghan withdrawal amid Taliban advance Vietnam shadow hangs over Biden decision on Afghanistan Kamala Harris and our shameless politics MORE (Mich.), quickly became a pariah within the GOP and now faces a tough primary challenge. Amash quit the party earlier this month and is now the only Independent in the House.
For Democratic leaders, Mueller's public appearance this week may be their best remaining chance to sway public opinion behind their favored election reforms. They're fighting to maximize the opportunity.
"We feel there is a great sense of obligation to educate the American people on this thing, wherever they are," said the leadership aide. "And I think you might see, after Mueller, potentially some more Amashes come out. Maybe not for impeachment, but definitely not being able to walk away from the facts."
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