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 JeffriesJeffries on Senate coronavirus bill: 'Totally irrelevant' Gohmert tests positive for COVID-19 The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Brawls on Capitol Hill on Barr and COVID-19 MORE (D-N.Y.) argued Thursday that former 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'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 TrumpMark Kelly clinches Democratic Senate nod in Arizona Trump camp considering White House South Lawn for convention speech: reports Longtime Rep. Lacy Clay defeated in Missouri Democratic primary 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 PelosiNegotiators hit gas on coronavirus talks as frustration mounts Hillicon Valley: NSA warns of new security threats | Teen accused of Twitter hack pleads not guilty | Experts warn of mail-in voting misinformation Schiff, Khanna call for free masks for all Americans in coronavirus aid package MORE's (D-Calif.) approach to follow the facts and law "carefully but forcefully."