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Democrats to target Trump no matter what Mueller report says

Washington Examiner logo Washington Examiner 2/22/2019 Jerry Dunleavy
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Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

The Mueller report will be the starting pistol for an all-out assault on President Trump by Democrats in Congress.

There have been strong indications that Mueller could wrap up his investigation as early next week. Republicans predict that Mueller will not find any evidence he colluded with Russia, and Justice Department policy is that a sitting president cannot be indicted.

But even if the Mueller report turns out to be far from the smoking gun Democrats have yearned for, they are now in control of the House of Representatives and show no signs of letting up.

Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., said that Congress should act even if Mueller stops short of an indictment. "If it basically says, 'Hey, we would have indicted Donald Trump for these offenses but for the fact that there's a policy memo saying we can't,' then I think Congress has to really look at these issues and decide what to do with whatever offenses the Robert Mueller investigation reveals."

Lieu, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, told CNN that Congress would continue to investigate once the Mueller probe has concluded. "We'll look at other issues too," he said, "including obstruction of justice, witness tampering, and abuse of power.” He described Trump’s firing of FBI director James Comey “textbook obstruction of justice.”

He made clear that House Democrats were laying the rhetorical groundwork to downplay Mueller’s report if it doesn’t allege crimes by Trump: “Regardless of what Robert Mueller’s report shows, there are investigations out of the Southern District of New York and there are state attorney general investigations — so this is going to keep on going to make sure that all the possible crimes that Donald Trump and associates may have engaged in will be investigated.”

Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., who is on both the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees, said he would pursue former acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, saying “we need to get him back in.” He talked of expanding the investigation to “hearing from other witnesses and subpoenaing other documents.”

Using strident language, Swalwell said that Congress needed to “intervene” and “interdict” on behalf of the rule of law.

Swalwell, who may run for the White House in 2020, said that "it doesn’t matter what the vantage point is from the scene of this crime, it's pretty clear that the president is an obstructor".

He continued: "He's someone who tampers with witnesses. He's someone who's not honest with the American people. It doesn’t matter who the perspective comes from — they all tell the same thing.”

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said: “You can see evidence in plain sight on the issue of collusion.” Speaking on CNN's State of the Union, Schiff listed the Trump Tower meeting in the summer of 2016, George Papadopoulos, and Mike Flynn’s interactions with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak as evidence of Trump colluding with Russia.

Schiff conceded, however, that “there’s a difference between seeing evidence of collusion and being able to prove a criminal conspiracy beyond a reasonable doubt” and stated that “it will be up to Mueller to determine whether that amounts to criminal conspiracy.”

When asked whether he would accept Mueller's conclusions, Schiff said: "We're going to have to do our own investigation. And we are.”

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Thursday that even if Mueller finishes soon, he believes that “there is still a lot of work to be done on this investigation.”

Even as Mueller's investigation winds down, Democrat-led investigations in Congress are only heating up.

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