President Trump may be cleared of colluding with the Russians to win the White House, but House Democrats are hardly ready to give up investigating the president.
They are gearing up for comprehensive probes that could go far beyond the narrow Mueller scope of Russian collusion that just concluded and extends into Trump’s presidency, campaign, business practices, and personal life.
But first, Democrats want to dig into Robert Mueller’s full report, which has not been made public.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., is working with the Justice Department on a time frame for Attorney General William Barr to testify before the committee.
Nadler, along with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., are demanding Mueller’s findings be released in full so that Congress can evaluate it.
The House unanimously passed a resolution earlier this month calling for the Mueller report to be released.
Barr is reviewing the report, but it’s not clear how much of it will be made public or provided to Congress.
Democrats are questioning the validity of Barr’s summary and say they need to see Mueller’s full report.
“It is clear that, even after a 22-month investigation, Special Counsel Mueller was not able to exonerate the President from the charge of obstruction of justice,” Rep. Pramila Jaypal, D-Wash., said. “Equally disturbing is the fact that Attorney General Barr took less than 48 hours to determine that he will take no further action on this very serious charge. The attorney general has made it clear through his broad support for sweeping presidential power and authority and his past criticism of the Special Counsel’s inquiry that he is not an unbiased participant.”
Top Democratic leaders are also questioning Barr and want to see the full report.
“Far from the ‘total exoneration’ claimed by the President, the Mueller report expressly does not exonerate the President. Instead, it ‘sets out evidence on both sides of the question of obstruction, including the evidence that President Trump attempted to obstruct justice,” Pelosi, Nadler and Schiff said in a statement.
While Mueller cleared Trump of colluding with the Russians, Democrats think they can nab him for wrongdoing elsewhere, and they are ramping up those investigations.
The House Oversight Committee is investigating $130,000 in hush money Trump allegedly paid to porn star Stormy Daniels before the 2016 presidential election, in pursuit of possible campaign finance law violations.
And the committee is battling White House lawyers over Trump’s refusal to turn over information about how the administration issued security clearances, which Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings, D-Md., believes is deeply flawed.
“The White House security clearance system is broken, and it needs both congressional oversight and legislative reform. I will be consulting with members of the committee to determine our next steps,” Cummings said earlier this month after the White House declined a request to turn over documents or provide witness testimony to the panel.
Nadler earlier this month launched an even wider investigation into the president, which is now quickly accelerating.
Nadler has summoned testimony and information from more than 80 “individuals, agencies and entities” as part of what he is calling a Judiciary Committee investigation into “public corruption, obstruction of justice, and abuse of power by President Trump, his associates, and members of his Administration.”
Nadler said last week that the panel has received responses from “a large number of people” and they have provided tens of thousands of documents related to their dealings with the president.
In the Senate, the GOP majority will keep Democrats mostly at bay when it comes to investigating Trump.
Republicans are calling on Democrats to give up on endless calls to investigate Trump and instead work with them on bipartisan legislative priorities.
“It’s clear the partisans who will never be satisfied with any investigation will not be appeased by this report or Attorney General Barr’s summary of Mr. Mueller’s conclusions,” Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said Monday.
Late Monday, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called up a measure calling on Barr to release the full Mueller report, but was blocked by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who cited Barr’s pledge to review the document and release what he legally could.
Barr’s offer so far is not good enough for Democrats.
“The American people deserve to see the documentation,” Schumer said. “What did they do, who did they approach, what happened? Why sweep an issue like this under the rug, when the security of our elections are at stake?”