Establishment media pundits and left-wing political operatives believe that although special counsel Robert Mueller declined to prosecute Donald Trump for Russian collusion or obstruction of justice, his report on the investigation nonetheless invites Democrat lawmakers to impeach the president.
The Justice Department on Thursday released the long-awaited report by Mueller, which specifies the two-year investigation and details that the team found no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia before the 2016 election.
The report, in total, is 448 pages long. It describes in detail how the Russian GRU intelligence unit hacked campaign emails of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, which were subsequently leaked by WikiLeaks. It also specifies there were some contacts between Russia and the Trump campaign.
Mueller’s report Thursday described several actions by President Donald Trump which his critics could interpret as attempts to interfere with the investigation. The incidents did not amount to enough evidence to prosecute, but Mueller refused to say that this lack of evidence amounts to an exoneration.
CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin believes the report contains an invitation to Congress to impeach the president. Mueller wrote that “if we had confidence” President Trump did not attempt to obstruct justice, “we would so state.” The report further states “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.”
Toobin believes the line is “all but an explicit invitation to Congress to impeach the president.”
"There's a sentence here that's all but an explicit invitation to Congress to impeach the President … This is an invitation to Congress to say 'you can do it using the impeachment power,'" @JeffreyToobin says about the Mueller report. https://t.co/BVfutl3zWg pic.twitter.com/e1EVoB28xL
— CNN (@CNN) April 18, 2019
Other media pundits and political operatives, including former Obama strategist David Axelrod and speechwriter Jon Favreau, said the report put the ball in the court of Congress to explore whether impeachment should be on the table.
I never thought much about impeachment. Viewed it solely as a “base” issue for political space.
Today, Mueller invites us to reconsider impeachment through the lens of politics and instead through the lens of fitness and Trumps loyalty.
So consider me accepting the invite. https://t.co/fmYHSaw2dS
— Juliette Kayyem (@juliettekayyem) April 18, 2019
This is an impeachment referral.
Mueller is saying that it wasn't up to him to make a prosecutorial decision and is following Jaworski's example in Watergate. This is not for the AG to decide it is for Congress. pic.twitter.com/y0IA5ayC7c
— Max Bergmann (@maxbergmann) April 18, 2019
New from me: The Mueller Report is an impeachment referral https://t.co/AgBdzsRZIC
— Yoni Appelbaum (@YAppelbaum) April 18, 2019
At this point, it doesn’t matter whether impeachment is “bad politics;” the president has *committed impeachable offenses* and to ignore that is its own abuse of power.
— ana marie cox (@anamariecox) April 18, 2019
The report provides a conundrum for Congress by virtually inviting an impeachment probe around the obstruction issue.
— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) April 18, 2019
I'll have more to say later but the best way to understand the Mueller report is a detailed road map for impeachment based on obstruction of justice.
Obstruction was included in the articles drafted for Nixon and Clinton.
And the case laid out by Mueller is far more damning
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) April 18, 2019
This reads to me as an impeachment referral: "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 balanced and the principle that no person is above the law.”
— Garrett M. Graff (@vermontgmg) April 18, 2019
I don’t know how you can read this report and not conclude that an impeachment inquiry is warranted.
— Jon Favreau (@jonfavs) April 18, 2019
The AP contributed to this report.