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CNN's Toobin: Mueller's findings on obstruction 'all but an explicit invitation to Congress'
CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin said Thursday that the special counsel's view that Congress should handle investigations into whether President Trump obstructed justice is "all but an invitation" for Democrats to begin impeachment proceedings.
Speaking during a panel discussion, Toobin quoted a finding from a section of special counsel Robert Mueller's report that found that Congress could investigate the president for any "corrupt exercise" of power to be a sign that Mueller's team had opened the door for Congress to pursue obstruction investigations against Trump.
"The conclusion that Congress may apply the obstruction laws to the President's corrupt exercise of the powers of office accords with our constitutional system of checks and balances and the principle that no person is above the law," reads the line from Mueller's report quoted by Toobin.
"There's a sentence here that is all but an explicit invitation for Congress to impeach the president," Toobin argued, referring to line from Mueller's report. "I just think this sentence is enormously important."
The broader section of the report quoted by Toobin details Mueller's findings that Congress has the authority to prevent corrupt abuses of power potentially committed by the president, an avenue House Democrats such as Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (N.Y.) have indicated they will pursue.
"With respect to whether the President can be found to have obstructed justice by exercising his powers under Article II of the Constitution, we concluded that Congress has authority to prohibit a President's corrupt use of his authority in order to protect the integrity of the administration of justice," Mueller's report reads.
Nadler spokesman Daniel Schwarz said in a statement to reporters Thursday following the report's release that there was a "clear message sent by Mueller to Congress."
In his own statement, Nadler said Thursday that "[e]ven in its incomplete form, the Mueller report outlines disturbing evidence that President Trump engaged in obstruction of justice and other misconduct."
Other Democrats including House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (Md.) have said that impeachment is "not worthwhile" following the release of the report.