- Rep. Jerry Nadler, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said during a news conference Wednesday that President Donald Trump engaged in “crimes, lies, and other wrongdoing” while in office.
- Nadler stopped short of calling for an impeachment investigation into the president.
- Nadler’s remarks came after the former special counsel Robert Mueller made his first public remarks on his findings in the Russia investigation, during which he emphasized that he did not exonerate Trump but also couldn’t charge him with criminal conduct because of current DOJ policy.
- Nadler said that because Mueller could not pursue criminal charges against Trump, it falls to Congress to respond. He also refused to say whether his committee would subpoena Mueller to testify.
- Nadler’s committee is responsible for kicking off the impeachment process, and his comments Wednesday mark his sharpest condemnation yet of the president.
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New York Rep. Jerry Nadler, the chairman of the powerful House Judiciary Committee, said Wednesday that the former special counsel Robert Mueller “has clearly demonstrated that President [Donald] Trump is lying,” but stopped short of calling for an impeachment investigation.
“He is lying about the special counsel’s findings. Lying about the testimony of key witnesses in the special counsel’s report. And above all, lying in saying that the special counsel found no obstruction and no collusion,” the New York Democrat said.
Nadler added that Mueller mentioned three points that he believes are critical for the public to understand:
- “One, the special counsel did not exonerate the president of the United States of obstruction of justice.”
- “Two, obstruction of justice, which special counsel Mueller found substantial evidence of, is a serious crime that strikes at the core of our justice system.”
- “Three, the Constitution points to Congress to take action to hold the president accountable for his misconduct.”
Nadler added that Mueller’s statement makes clear that Trump engaged in “crimes, lies, and other wrongdoing” while in office. And because Mueller was unable to pursue criminal charges against Trump because of Justice Department policy that states a sitting president cannot be indicted, “it falls to Congress to respond” to Trump’s actions, Nadler said. “Make no mistake, no one, not even the president of the united States, is above the law.”
Nadler did not call for an impeachment inquiry, despite having pushed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to do just that during a private meeting last week.
“I urged the Speaker to speed things up and to move forward with an impeachment inquiry,” Nadler told MSNBC last week.
But he argued that it’s unclear whether an impeachment inquiry would give Congress more leverage in pursuing documents and compelling witnesses to testify than would the regular oversight process.
Nadler’s Wednesday press conference came after Mueller made his first public remarks Wednesday morning on the results of the Russia investigation.
For most of the time, Mueller reiterated the key portions of his final report.
Critically, Mueller highlighted that if his team “had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime [of obstruction-of-justice], we would have said so.”
As the head of the House Judiciary Committee, it falls to Nadler to ultimately decide whether to launch impeachment proceedings against Trump. His statements Wednesday mark Nadler’s starkest condemnation yet of Trump, whose campaign was the central focus of the Russia probe.