Jeffries dismisses optics: We wanted testimony from Mueller, not Robert De Niro

Jeffries dismisses optics: We wanted testimony from Mueller, not Robert De Niro
© Greg Nash

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesAnti-Trump vets join Steyer group in pressing Democrats to impeach Trump Appetite for Democratic term limits fizzling out Jeffries dismisses optics: We wanted testimony from Mueller, not Robert De Niro MORE (D-N.Y.) argued Thursday that former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerMueller report fades from political conversation Trump calls for probe of Obama book deal Democrats express private disappointment with Mueller testimony MORE's testimony this week was successful in advancing Democrats' goal of informing the public.

"We didn’t expect, we weren't trying to entertain the American people. We wanted to educate and inform the American people," Jeffries said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

"We didn't invite Robert De Niro to testify," Jeffries said, referencing the actor's portrayal of the former special counsel on "Saturday Night Live." "We invited Robert Mueller to testify, and in that regard he delivered what we expected."

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Mueller testified before the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees Wednesday for more than six hours regarding the 448-page report on his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible obstruction of justice by President TrumpDonald John TrumpDavid Axelrod after Ginsburg cancer treatment: Supreme Court vacancy could 'tear this country apart' EU says it will 'respond in kind' if US slaps tariffs on France Ginsburg again leaves Supreme Court with an uncertain future MORE. The former special counsel gave a halting performance, often asking lawmakers to repeat their questions.

Jeffries, as a member of the Judiciary Committee, was among those questioning Mueller, leading him to confirm that the 22-month special counsel probe found "substantial evidence" that Trump obstructed justice.

Mueller, however, did not go so far as to confirm his own view one way or the other as to whether or not the president obstructed justice.

"It's our job now to present that information to the American people," Jeffries told MSNBC. 

Jeffries, a member of House Democratic leadership, stopped short of calling for impeachment inquiries to begin.

A growing number of House Democrats are pushing for impeachment inquiries; 92 have called for them to begin as of Thursday morning, according to The Hill's Whip List.

Jeffries said he supports Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi asks Democrats for 'leverage' on impeachment Is there internet life after thirty? Pelosi says Dems 'have to be ready to throw a punch — for the children' in 2020 MORE's (D-Calif.) approach to follow the facts and law "carefully but forcefully."