CBC Members Unhappy with Mueller Report But Divided Over Trump Impeachment

Two years after Donald Trump shocked the political world to defeat Hillary Clinton to become the 45th president of the United States, a specially appointed federal prosecutor released a 448-page report saying that while Trump and his aides welcomed political dirt about his opponent, it is up to Congress to take further action against Trump. Democrats want to see what was redacted from the report and plan to call on the special counsel, Robert Mueller, to testify in an effort to glean what was left out.

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus, like many Democrats who now control the House of Representatives, are neither satisfied with the partially redacted report nor with Attorney General William Barr.

“The President and his Attorney General expect the American people to be blind to what we can now see,” said Rep. Elijah Cummings, chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, said in a statement. “This report catalogues in excruciating detail a proliferation of lies by the President to the American people, as well as his incessant and repeated efforts to encourage others to lie.”

Cummings noted, “Contrary to Attorney General Barr’s attempts at misdirection, it is crystal clear from the report that the Justice Department’s policy against indicting a sitting President played a key role in Special Counsel Mueller’s analysis — in fact, it is the very first point in the obstruction section of his report. Unfortunately, we still have only part of the story, and Congress must subpoena the full report and all underlying documents.”

Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, tweeted Thursday, that “Barr is acting more like Trump’s defense attorney than the nation's Attorney General. His press conference was a stunt, filled with political spin and propaganda. Americans deserve the unvarnished truth. We need Special Counsel Mueller to testify publicly in Congress.”

On Aug. 21, 2017, the Congressional Black Caucus announced that it would have a “robust discussion” on whether to call for the impeachment of President Trump, and in December of 2017, Rep. Al Green (D-Texas) wrote an open letter to the House saying “I love my country. For this reason, I will bring articles of impeachment to a vote in the House.”

Last week Green stepped up his call to impeach Trump following the release of the Mueller report even though House Democratic leaders are still reluctant.

Green said during a press conference from his District office in Houston that Mueller has "given us ample evidence for us to move forward with impeachment," citing 10 instances of potential obstruction of justice outlined in the report.

But while some are calling for impeachment, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) is appealing to her colleagues to slow down and think twice about making this move.

“With the release of the Mueller Report, questions about impeachment will be given new life,” Norton said in a statement. “Even if the House had a majority for impeachment, for sure, the Senate, controlled by Republicans, would not have the 2/3 necessary for conviction. What a waste to squander our first majority in eight years on a futile impeachment process.”

Despite what some see as evidence of obstruction of justice by Trump in Mueller’s report, Norton is standing firm that impeachment would be a mistake.

“The public expects Democrats to show something for the majority they have given us. The question of Trump’s obstruction of justice, which many Americans believe they saw in plain sight, is still on the table,” Norton wrote. “That leaves a great deal of investigation to be done by Congress. That does not change my view, however, that impeachment will take us down a road that goes nowhere.”

On Sunday’s Face the Nation show, Cummings stopped short of calling for impeachment, instead saying Congress needs to take some kind of action to show America the harm Trump is doing to the country.

“If we do nothing here, what is going to happen is that the president is going to be emboldened. He’s going to be emboldened because he’s said, ‘Well, I got away with that.’ We cannot afford that. Our democracy cannot afford that,” Cummings said.

— Hamil R. Harris

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