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 JeffriesBlack lawmakers condemn Trump's 'lynching' remarks Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle mourn Cummings House chairman: Pompeo not complying with impeachment inquiry MORE (D-N.Y.) argued Thursday that former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerFox News legal analyst says Trump call with Ukraine leader could be 'more serious' than what Mueller 'dragged up' Lewandowski says Mueller report was 'very clear' in proving 'there was no obstruction,' despite having 'never' read it Fox's Cavuto roasts Trump over criticism of network 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 TrumpGraham to introduce resolution condemning House impeachment inquiry Support for impeachment inches up in poll Fox News's Bret Baier calls Trump's attacks on media 'a problem' 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 PelosiGraham to introduce resolution condemning House impeachment inquiry Democrats say they have game changer on impeachment Hillicon Valley: Zuckerberg would support delaying Libra | More attorneys general join Facebook probe | Defense chief recuses from 'war cloud' contract | Senate GOP blocks two election security bills | FTC brings case against 'stalking' app developer MORE's (D-Calif.) approach to follow the facts and law "carefully but forcefully."