WASHINGTON – A top Democrat Thursday said special counsel Robert Mueller's report offered "disturbing evidence that President Trump engaged in obstruction of justice and other misconduct."
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., called on Mueller to come before Congress and explain his findings from the probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election.
“There are dozens of things we want to hear," Nadler told reporters.
For example, Nadler said that the report seems to contradict Attorney General William Barr's assertion that the department's guidance that sitting presidents cannot be indicated was not a factor in Mueller's decision not to indict Trump.
"There's a lot of material in the report that seems to indicate that that doctrine was considerably important," Nadler said. "We want to get to the bottom of that."
Nadler also wrote on Twitter that lawmakers "need to hear directly from Special Counsel Mueller and receive the full, unredacted report with the underlying evidence."
The newly released Mueller report revealed that members of Trump's campaign showed interest in benefiting Russian government efforts to sway the election in his favor, but investigators did not find evidence that their conduct amounted to a crime.
The report also detailed steps by Trump to quash the investigation that fell short of criminality in part because aides refused to carry out his orders. Mueller’s office did not conclude that Trump's actions were illegal, but also pointedly refused to clear him of wrongdoing, saying, "if we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the president clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state.”
Following the report's release, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer accused Barr of misrepresenting Mueller's investigation when he issued a four-page summary of the report.
"Attorney General Barr presented a conclusion that the president did not obstruct justice while Mueller's report appears to undercut that finding," Pelosi, D-Calif., and Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a joint statement. They said "the differences are stark" between what Barr said about obstruction of justice and what the report showed.
In the summary, Barr acknowledged that Mueller had found evidence on "both sides" of the question of whether Trump obstructed justice. But Barr said that he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein separately concluded the evidence was "not sufficient to establish" that there was obstruction of justice.
The 448-page Mueller report was the culmination of a nearly two-year investigation into Russian election interference and whether anyone from the president's campaign conspired with Moscow.
The Mueller report said investigators found that some Trump aides had contacts with people linked to the Russian government, and that they “lied” to the special counsel and Congress about those interactions. “Those lies materially impaired the investigation of Russian election interference,” the report said.
“Even in its incomplete form, the Mueller report outlines disturbing evidence that President Trump engaged in obstruction of justice and other misconduct," Nadler said. Nadler called on the Mueller to testify before Congress by May 23. Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., also invited Mueller to appear before his panel next month.
Investigators found that some of Trump’s aides engaged in contacts with people linked to the Russian government, and that they then “lied” to the special counsel and Congress about those interactions. “Those lies materially impaired the investigation of Russian election interference,” the report said.
Pelosi has, so far, been able to keep her caucus largely united against moving to impeach the president. In an exclusive interview with USA TODAY in March, she said it would be "a gift" to Trump to pursue impeachment unless Republicans got on board.
But after the release of the redacted report, the issue threatened to return.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the liberal superstar who frequently feuds with Republicans, resurfaced a clip she had tweeted last year in which Republican lawmakers talked about their justification for impeachment of then-President Bill Clinton.
The tweet quoted Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a close ally of Trump, saying during the Clinton era: "'You don’t need to have been convicted of a crime. Impeachment isn’t about punishment. It’s about cleansing the office.'"
"Sen. Graham himself established a standard that demands Trump’s impeachment," Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.
Georgia Rep. Doug Collins, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, focused on the fact that the report concluded that the Trump campaign did not collaborate with Russia's efforts to influence the 2016 election.
"Today, when Mueller says `no collusion,' Democrats reply, `Thanks, but we'll keep looking,' Collins tweeted.
"It is time to move on. Americans deserve better than this partisan quest to vilify a political opponent and I urge our Democratic colleagues in the House to put their emotions and opinions aside, and instead use that passion to come to the table and work on real solutions for all Americans," said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.
The report is the culmination of special counsel Mueller's nearly two-year investigation into Russia's efforts to sway the 2016 election in Trump's favor and whether anyone from the president's campaign conspired with Moscow.
Mueller's investigation did not establish any collaboration between Trump's campaign and Russia, according to a four-page summary of the report released last month by Attorney General William Barr. But investigators did not reach a determination on whether Trump sought to obstruct their work, saying they had gathered evidence "on both sides" of the question.
Ahead of the report's release, Democrats hammered Barr for his handling of the report. Thursday morning, Barr held a press conference where he repeatedly said that Trump and his campaign had not colluded with Russia. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called the event a "campaign press conference" for the president.
Nadler vowed to subpoena the full Mueller report and and underlying materials.
Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., tweeted that the details in the Mueller report coupled with Barr's handling of the process meant he needed to resign as attorney general.
Swalwell is running for the party's nomination for president and is a member of both the Intelligence and Judiciary Committees.