Russia Probe

Top congressional Democrats left the door open on Sunday to pursue the impeachment of U.S. President Donald Trump, but said they would first need to complete their own investigations into whether he obstructed justice in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.

Democratic Party leaders have cautioned against impeachment just 18 months before the 2020 presidential election, although prominent liberals have called for the start of proceedings to remove Trump from office since the release on Thursday of Mueller’s report.

U.S. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, whose panel would spearhead any impeachment proceedings, said Democrats would press ahead with investigations of Trump in Congress and “see where the facts lead us.”

“Obstruction of justice, if proven, would be impeachable,” Nadler said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

A redacted version of Mueller’s long-awaited report on Russian interference in the 2016 election, the product of a 22-month investigation, built a broad case that Trump had committed obstruction of justice. While it stopped short of concluding Trump had committed a crime, it did not exonerate him.

Mueller noted that Congress has the power to address whether Trump violated the law, and Democrats said it would be a matter of discussion in the coming weeks.

“That’s going to be a very consequential decision and one I’m going to reserve judgment on until we have a chance to fully deliberate on it,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said on “Fox News Sunday.”

Nadler has issued a subpoena to the Justice Department to hand over the full Mueller report and other relevant evidence by May 1, although the Justice Department called the request “premature and unnecessary.”

With Republicans standing by Trump, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has cautioned against an impeachment effort that would have no chance of success in the Republican-led Senate.

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren became the first major contender for the Democratic 2020 presidential nomination to call for the start of impeachment proceedings, saying on Twitter on Friday that “the severity of this misconduct” demanded it.

Democratic House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that Congress needed to look at Trump’s finances and gauge Mueller’s intentions with his report.

He said even if Senate Republicans blocked a Democratic impeachment effort, “I think history would smile upon us for standing up for the Constitution.”

Democratic presidential contender Tim Ryan, a member of the House, said the party should wait until the multiple ongoing investigations of Trump in Congress have had a chance to uncover more evidence.

“Let the process play itself out,” he said on CNN’s “State of the Union” show. “I would just rather us take this next step: educate the American people, really get these details out, let the Judiciary Committee do its work.”

Trump, who has repeatedly called the investigation a “witch hunt,” has claimed vindication from Mueller’s report. Rudy Giuliani, one of Trump’s lawyers, tried to undermine the credibility of Mueller’s investigators on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“I don’t think his people are fair,” Giuliani said of Mueller’s team. “I don’t think that report is fair.”

Source: NewsMax Politics

Two months before special counsel Robert Mueller was appointed in the spring of 2017, President Donald Trump picked up the phone and called the head of the largest U.S. intelligence agency. Trump told Mike Rogers, director of the National Security Agency, that news stories alleging that Trump’s 2016 White House campaign had ties to Russia were false and the president asked whether Rogers could do anything to counter them.

Rogers and his deputy Richard Ledgett, who was present for the call, were taken aback.

Afterward, Ledgett wrote a memo about the conversation and Trump’s request. He and Rogers signed it and stashed it in a safe. Ledgett said it was the “most unusual thing he had experienced in 40 years of government service.”

Trump’s outreach to Rogers, who retired last year, and other top intelligence officials stands in sharp contrast to his public, combative stance toward his intelligence agencies. At the time of the call, Trump was just some 60 days into his presidency, but he already had managed to alienate large parts of the intelligence apparatus with comments denigrating the profession.

Since then, Trump only has dug in. He said at a news conference in Helsinki after his 2017 summit with Russian leader Vladimir Putin that he gave weight to Putin’s denial that Russia meddled in the 2016 election, despite the firm conclusion of U.S. intelligence agencies that it had. “I don’t see any reason why it would be” Russia, Trump said. And earlier this year, Trump called national security assessments “naive,” tweeting “perhaps intelligence should go back to school.”

Yet in moments of concern as Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election got underway, Trump turned to his spy chiefs for help.

The phone call to Rogers on March 26, 2017, came only weeks after then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions had angered Trump by stepping aside from the investigation. James Comey, the FBI director who would be fired that May, had just told Congress that the FBI was not only investigating Russian meddling in the election, but also possible links or coordination between Moscow and the Trump campaign.

The call to Rogers and others like it were uncovered by Mueller as he investigated possible obstruction. In his 448-page report released Thursday, Mueller concluded that while Trump attempted to seize control of the Russia investigation and bring it to a halt, the president was ultimately thwarted by those around him.

The special counsel said the evidence did not establish that Trump asked or directed intelligence officials to “stop or interfere with the FBI’s Russia investigation.” The requests to those officials, Mueller said, “were not interpreted by the officials who received them as directives to improperly interfere with the investigation.”

During the call to Rogers, the president “expressed frustration with the Russia investigation, saying that it made relations with the Russians difficult,” according to the report.

Trump said news stories linking him with Russia were not true and he asked Rogers “if he could do anything to refute the stories.” Even though Rogers signed the memo about the conversation and put it in a safe, he told investigators he did not think Trump was giving him an order.

Trump made a number of similar requests of other top intelligence officials.

On March 22, 2017, Trump asked then-CIA Director Mike Pompeo and National Intelligence Director Dan Coats to stay behind after a meeting at the White House to ask if the men could “say publicly that no link existed between him and Russia,” the report said.

In two other instances, the president began meetings to discuss sensitive intelligence matters by stating he hoped a media statement could be issued saying there was no collusion with Russia.

After Trump repeatedly brought up the Russia investigation with his national intelligence director, “Coats said he finally told the President that Coats’s job was to provide intelligence and not get involved in investigations,” the report said.

Pompeo recalled that Trump regularly urged officials to get the word out that he had not done anything wrong related to Russia. But Pompeo, now secretary of state, said he had no recollection of being asked to stay behind after the March 22 meeting, according to the report.

Coats told Mueller’s investigators that Trump never asked him to speak with Comey about the FBI investigation. But other employees within Coats’ office had different recollections of how Coats described the meeting immediately after it occurred.

According to the report, senior staffer Michael Dempsey “said that Coats described the president’s comments as falling ‘somewhere between musing about hating the investigation’ and wanting Coats to ‘do something to stop it.’ Dempsey said Coats made it clear that he would not get involved with an ongoing FBI investigation.”

Source: NewsMax Politics

FILE PHOTO - U.S. Representative Haley Stevens speaks with constituents at a town hall meeting in Livonia
FILE PHOTO – U.S. Representative Haley Stevens speaks with constituents at a town hall meeting in Livonia, Michigan, U.S. April 18, 2019.. REUTERS/Steve Friess

April 20, 2019

By Joseph Ax

(Reuters) – Vulnerable House Democrats, mindful of President Donald Trump’s continued strength among Republican voters, are using caution in how they respond to the special counsel’s report, which detailed Trump’s efforts to thwart the investigation into Russian efforts to help him win the White House.

More than 30 Democratic representatives, many of whom are in their first term, represent districts that supported Trump in 2016. The party’s chances of keeping control of the U.S. House of Representatives likely hinge its ability to defend those seats.

In the report released on Thursday, Special Counsel Robert Mueller said Trump may have obstructed justice and portrayed a president bent on stopping the probe into Russian meddling. But Mueller stopped short of concluding that a crime was committed, leaving it to Congress to make its own determination.

That is putting pressure on congressional Democrats to decide whether to pursue impeachment charges against Trump, whose continued popularity with his Republican base could weigh heavily on Democratic lawmakers in swing districts.

Those incumbent Democrats may have to strike a delicate balance on the campaign trail next year. Too much bashing of the president could turn off voters more interested in kitchen-table issues and motivate Trump sympathizers to rally around him.

Hours after Mueller’s findings were released, Abby Spanberger, a Democratic congresswoman from Virginia, held a town hall that saw virtually no discussion of the report. She knocked off a Republican incumbent last year in a district that favored Trump by more than 6 percentage points in 2016.

The 39-year-old representative told reporters before the event that she was more interested in preventing Russia from attacking the electoral process than in “re-litigating” the 2016 presidential contest.

“Regardless of what actions the president did or didn’t take … understanding in far greater detail the aggression of a foreign adversary nation against our election’s infrastructure should ideally help us avoid such circumstances in the future,” she said.

Other Democrats facing reelection in swing districts also reacted cautiously, saying they would reserve judgment until after reading the voluminous report, or emphasizing the threat of Russian interference rather than Trump’s behavior.

“If the conclusion remains that there is no further criminal wrongdoing, I think we should, as a country, move on and ensure that Russia cannot interfere again,” said Ben McAdams, a freshman Utah Democrat in a Republican-leaning district.

INTERNAL DEBATE

The 448-page report’s release has sparked an internal debate within the Democratic Party on how to move forward.

Party leaders played down talk of impeachment, even as they said they would pursue a full, unredacted copy of the report and bring Mueller himself to Capitol Hill to testify under oath. At the same time, some liberal members of the caucus, including Representative Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez of New York, expressed support for starting an impeachment inquiry.

U.S. Representative Cheri Bustos, the Illinois Democrat who chairs the party’s House campaign arm, set the tone for her most endangered colleagues on Thursday. In a statement, she said she would read the report carefully, then pivoted to other issues.

“As we review this report, I also remain committed to continuing my efforts to bring down the cost of health care, invest in our infrastructure and clean up the mess in Washington,” Bustos said.

Haley Stevens, a Michigan Democrat who won her first term last fall in a district that voted for Trump in 2016, told Reuters many Democrats were elected because “voters want checks and balances and a return to good government and government we can trust.”

Still, speaking after a town hall on Thursday evening, the 35-year-old emphasized that most voters going into 2020 are more concerned about issues such as health care, education and infrastructure.

One of her constituents, Joy Marie Zug, said she voted for Trump in 2016 after having supported Democratic President Barack Obama. Zug says she has since soured on Trump due to his “lies.”

The 46-year-old adult education administrator said Democrats should consider impeachment, based on the mountain of evidence in the Mueller report. But in a reflection of the difficulty of the strategic choice facing Democrats, she also said they should avoid making it a top campaign issue.

“I don’t think this is something they need to run on,” she said. “I just wish this wasn’t the end.”

WEIGHING PRIORITIES

Democrats looking to 2020 must also weigh whether voters’ views on the Russia probe are even susceptible to persuasion, given the country’s deep partisan divides.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted on Thursday and Friday after the report came out found 50 percent of Americans agreed that Trump or someone from his campaign worked with Russia during the campaign, and 58 percent of respondents said they believed Trump tried to stop investigations into the campaign’s conduct.

Those figures, which split heavily along party lines, were fairly similar to previous polls.

One senior Democratic strategist involved in shaping the campaign message for 2020 House candidates, who asked for anonymity when discussing the party’s internal thinking, said the party’s own research showed the Russia probe was not particularly resonant for voters.

Still, he said Mueller’s findings would create the background “mood music” when Democrats talk in broad terms about corruption and government accountability.

(Reporting by Joseph Ax in New York; Additional reporting by Steve Friess in Livonia, Michigan; Gary Robertson in Henrico, Virginia; Susan Cornwell in Washington; and Chris Kahn in New York; Editing by Frank McGurty and Marla Dickerson)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) walks to his office on the opening day of the 116th Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington
FILE PHOTO: Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) walks to his office on the opening day of the 116th Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 3, 2019. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein

April 19, 2019

By Jeff Mason

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said on Friday he was “sickened” by the dishonesty of U.S. President Donald Trump and people around him as portrayed in a report on Russia’s attempts to influence the 2016 election.

Romney, now a U.S. senator from Utah and an off-and-on Trump critic, was responding to the report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who described how Trump sought to disrupt the probe into ties between his presidential campaign and Russia.

Mueller did not establish that Trump’s campaign team colluded with Moscow and he did not charge the president with obstructing justice, but the report provided extensive details of Trump’s efforts to thwart the probe.

Romney said it was “good news” that there had been insufficient evidence to charge Trump with conspiring with a foreign adversary or obstructing justice, which he said could have triggered a constitutional crisis.

“Even so, I am sickened at the extent and pervasiveness of dishonesty and misdirection by individuals in the highest office of the land, including the President,” Romney said in a statement posted on Twitter.

“I am also appalled that, among other things, fellow citizens working in a campaign for president welcomed help from Russia – including information that had been illegally obtained; that none of them acted to inform American law enforcement; and that the campaign chairman was actively promoting Russian interests in Ukraine,” he added.

Romney was sharply critical of Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign before being considered briefly as a candidate for secretary of state in Trump’s administration.

His sharp statement on Friday breaks with the position of other Republicans and the White House, which has declared the report a victory for the president.

Trump has repeatedly dubbed the investigation a “witch hunt” and insisted he did not engage in collusion or obstruction.

Trump remains popular with most Republicans but a potential challenge from someone such as Romney in the Republican primary process next year could complicate Trump’s bid to win a second term in 2020.

Romney lost the 2012 presidential election to Democratic candidate Barack Obama.

Congressional Democrats on Friday took legal action to get hold of all of Mueller’s evidence from his inquiry.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason; editing by Diane Craft)

Source: OANN

After the findings of the Mueller probe failed to produce evidence of Trump-Russia collusion, the mainstream media turned its attention back to getting the president out of office.

Regardless whether no collusion or obstruction was found by the FBI Special Counsel’s two-year investigation, on Thursday liberal cable networks desperately continued pushing the prospect the report could somehow lead to the president’s impeachment.

According to NewsBusters.org, mainstream media repeated the word about 309 times:

MRC analysts examined a 24-hour span of coverage on liberal cable (CNN, MSNBC) and broadcast (ABC, CBS, NBC) networks, from 11:00 a.m. EDT on Thursday to the same time the following day, for every instance where the term “impeachment” — or some permutation thereof — was used by hosts, analysts, or contributors. In total, the word came up 309 times, with the vast majority (286) coming from cable networks CNN (148) and MSNBC (138).

NewsBusters also notes cable pundits on CNN and MSNBC referred to Mueller’s report as a “road map for impeachment,” terminology that has been used by several leftist publications and the president’s former aide Sam Nunberg on MSNBC.

While journalists who covered the Russia probe non-stop tried to backpedal by keeping impeachment hopes on the table, NewsBusters reports Democrats were more reluctant to touch on the issue.

For their part, congressional Democrats did not appear keen on discussing impeachment. The closest any member of that party came to actually endorsing the idea on Thursday was when House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler was asked about the option during a press conference: “That’s one possibility. There are others.”

President Trump meanwhile has maintained his innocence and holds firm it was the Democrats, including former presidential contender Hillary Clinton, who committed crimes needing to be investigated.


Source: InfoWars

The Muller Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election is pictured in New York
The Mueller Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election is pictured in New York, New York, U.S., April 18, 2019. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

April 19, 2019

By Doina Chiacu and David Morgan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Congressional Democrats on Friday took legal action to get hold of all of U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s evidence from his inquiry into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, as the probe’s findings hit President Donald Trump’s poll ratings.

The number of Americans who approve of Trump dropped by 3 percentage points to the lowest level of the year following the release of a redacted version of Mueller’s report on Thursday, according to a Reuters/Ipsos online opinion poll.

Mueller did not establish that the Trump campaign coordinated with Russians but did find “multiple acts by the President that were capable of exerting undue influence over law enforcement investigations.”

While Mueller ultimately decided not to charge Trump with a crime such as obstruction of justice, he also said that the investigation did not exonerate the president, either.

U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, a Democrat, issued a subpoena to the Justice Department to hand over the full Mueller report and other relevant evidence by May 1.

“My committee needs and is entitled to the full version of the report and the underlying evidence consistent with past practice. The redactions appear to be significant. We have so far seen none of the actual evidence that the Special Counsel developed to make this case,” Nadler said in a statement.

The report provided extensive details on Trump’s efforts to thwart Mueller’s investigation, giving Democrats plenty of political ammunition against the Republican president but no consensus on how to use it.

The document has blacked out sections to hide details about secret grand jury information, U.S. intelligence gathering and active criminal cases as well as potentially damaging information about peripheral players who were not charged.

Democratic leaders played down talk of impeachment of Trump just 18 months before the 2020 presidential election, even as some prominent members of the party’s progressive wing, notably U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, promised to push the idea.

‘CRAZY MUELLER REPORT’

Trump, who has repeatedly called the Mueller probe a political witch hunt, lashed out again on Friday.

“Statements are made about me by certain people in the Crazy Mueller Report…which are fabricated & totally untrue,” Trump wrote on Twitter.

He seemed to be referring to former White House counsel Don McGahn who was cited in the report as having annoyed Trump by taking notes of his conversations with the president.

“Watch out for people that take so-called “notes,” when the notes never existed until needed.” Trump wrote, “it was not necessary for me to respond to statements made in the “Report” about me, some of which are total bullshit & only given to make the other person look good (or me to look bad).”

Phone conversations between the president and McGahn in June 2017 were a central part of Mueller’s depiction of Trump as trying to derail the Russia inquiry. The report said Trump told McGahn to instruct the Justice Department to fire Mueller. McGahn did not carry out the order.

In analyzing whether Trump obstructed justice, Mueller revealed details about how the president tried to fire him and limit his investigation, kept details of a June 2016 meeting between senior campaign officials and a Russian under wraps, and possibly dangled a pardon to a former adviser.

According to the Reuters/Ipsos poll of 1,005 adults conducted Thursday afternoon to Friday morning, 37 percent of people approve of Trump’s performance in office – down from 40 percent in a similar poll conducted on April 15 and matches the lowest level of the year. The poll has a credibility interval, a measure of precision, of 4 percentage points.

Representative Doug Collins, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, said the Democrats’ subpoena “is wildly overbroad” and would jeopardize a grand jury’s investigations.

The Mueller inquiry laid bare what U.S. intelligence agencies have described as a Russian campaign of hacking and propaganda to sow discord in the United States, denigrate 2016 Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and boost Trump.

Russia said on Friday that Mueller’s report did not contain any evidence that Moscow had meddled. “We, as before, do not accept such allegations,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Asked on Friday about Russian interference in 2016, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in Washington that “we will make very clear to them that this is not acceptable behavior.”

Trump has tried to cultivate good relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and came under heavy criticism in Washington last year for saying after meeting Putin that he accepted his denial of election meddling, over the conclusions of U.S. intelligence agencies.

Half a dozen former Trump aides, including former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, were charged by Mueller’s office or convicted of crimes during his 22-month-long investigation. The Mueller inquiry spawned a number of other criminal probes by federal prosecutors in New York and elsewhere.

OBSTRUCTION

One reason it would be difficult to charge Trump is that the Justice Department has a decades-old policy that a sitting president should not be indicted, although the U.S. Constitution is silent on whether a president can face criminal prosecution in court.

A paragraph in the report is at the heart of whether Mueller, a former FBI director, intended Congress to pursue further action against Trump.

“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,” Mueller wrote.

Republican Collins said Democrats had misconstrued that section of the report to suit their anti-Trump agenda.

“There seems to be some confusion…This isn’t a matter of legal interpretation; it’s reading comprehension,” Collins wrote on Twitter.

“The report doesn’t say Congress should investigate obstruction now. It says Congress can make laws about obstruction under Article I powers,” Collins said.

Nadler told reporters on Thursday that Mueller probably wrote the report with the intent of providing Congress a road map for future action against the president, but the Democratic congressman said it was too early to talk about impeachment.

House Democratic leader Steny Hoyer on Thursday advised against an immediate attempt to impeach Trump. “Very frankly, there is an election in 18 months and the American people will make a judgment,” Hoyer told CNN.

But the House Oversight Committee’s Democratic chairman, Elijah Cummings, said impeachment was not ruled out.

“A lot of people keep asking about the question of impeachment … We may very well come to that very soon, but right now let’s make sure we understand what Mueller was doing, understand what Barr was doing, and see the report in an unredacted form and all of the underlying documents,” he told MSNBC.

Short of attempting impeachment, Democratic lawmakers can use the details of Mueller’s report to fuel other inquiries already underway by congressional committees.

Only two U.S. presidents have been impeached: Bill Clinton on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice in 1998 and Andrew Johnson in 1868 after firing his secretary of war in the tumultuous aftermath of the American Civil War. Both were acquitted by the Senate and stayed in office.

In 1974, a House committee approved articles of impeachment against President Richard Nixon over the Watergate scandal but he resigned before the full House voted on impeachment.

(For a graphic on ‘Link to Mueller report’ click https://graphics.reuters.com/USA-TRUMP-RUSSIA/010091HX27V/report.pdf)

(For a graphic on ‘A closer look at Mueller report redactions’ click https://tmsnrt.rs/2VSx7HZ)

(Reporting by David Morgan and Doina Chiacu; Additional reporting by Karen Freifeld, Nathan Layne, Sarah N. Lynch and Andy Sullivan; Writing by Alistair Bell; Editing by Grant McCool)

Source: OANN

Freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., says she will add her name to an impeachment resolution aimed at President Donald Trump following the release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report.

The proposal, put forward by lawmaker Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., calls on the House Judiciary Committee to probe whether or not the president committed any offenses that rise to the level of impeachment.

“Mueller’s report is clear in pointing to Congress’ responsibility in investigating obstruction of justice by the president,” she tweeted Thursday night.  

“It is our job as outlined in Article 1, Sec 2, Clause 5 of the U.S. Constitution,” Rep. Ocasio-Cortez added. “As such, I’ll be signing onto @RashidaTlaib’s impeachment resolution.”

Mueller did not charge Trump for obstruction, but detailed numerous examples in his 448-page report released Thursday in which Trump asked his aides to take actions that would have obstructed the Russia probe.

“With respect to whether the president can be found to have obstructed justice by exercising his powers under Article II of the Constitution, we concluded that Congress has the authority to prohibit a president’s corrupt use of his authority in order to protect the integrity of the administration of justice,” Mueller wrote.

“The president’s efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful, but that is largely because the persons who surrounded the President declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests,” the special counsel added.

Source: NewsMax America

President Donald Trump quoted several Fox News personalities on Twitter on Thursday evening, and in one tweet he claimed to have held back on firing special counsel Robert Mueller during the Russia probe.

Hours after Mueller’s report was made public and Americans saw for themselves Trump did not conspire with Russia to win the 2016 election and the Department of Justice did not believe there was enough evidence to charge him with obstruction, Trump appeared to be watching Fox News.

Trump tweeted:

“‘Donald Trump was being framed, he fought back. That is not Obstruction.’ @JesseBWatters  I had the right to end the whole Witch Hunt if I wanted. I could have fired everyone, including Mueller, if I wanted. I chose not to. I had the RIGHT to use Executive Privilege. I didn’t!”

Trump wrote in another post:

“Anything the Russians did concerning the 2016 Election was done while Obama was President. He was told about it and did nothing! Most importantly, the vote was not affected.”

In other tweets, Trump simply quoted Fox News hosts in their analysis of the Mueller probe, which is now complete. Democrats, however, are taking a deep dive into Trump’s background and appear poised to use the Mueller report to find something on Trump.

Source: NewsMax Politics

President Donald Trump quoted several Fox News personalities on Twitter on Thursday evening, and in one tweet he claimed to have held back on firing special counsel Robert Mueller during the Russia probe.

Hours after Mueller’s report was made public and Americans saw for themselves Trump did not conspire with Russia to win the 2016 election and the Department of Justice did not believe there was enough evidence to charge him with obstruction, Trump appeared to be watching Fox News.

Trump tweeted:

“‘Donald Trump was being framed, he fought back. That is not Obstruction.’ @JesseBWatters  I had the right to end the whole Witch Hunt if I wanted. I could have fired everyone, including Mueller, if I wanted. I chose not to. I had the RIGHT to use Executive Privilege. I didn’t!”

Trump wrote in another post:

“Anything the Russians did concerning the 2016 Election was done while Obama was President. He was told about it and did nothing! Most importantly, the vote was not affected.”

In other tweets, Trump simply quoted Fox News hosts in their analysis of the Mueller probe, which is now complete. Democrats, however, are taking a deep dive into Trump’s background and appear poised to use the Mueller report to find something on Trump.

Source: NewsMax America

U.S. President Donald Trump prepares to board Marine One en route to his Mar-a-Lago estate in West Palm Beach, Florida following the release of the Mueller report at the White House in Washington
U.S. President Donald Trump prepares to board Marine One en route to his Mar-a-Lago estate in West Palm Beach, Florida following the release of the Mueller report at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 18, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

April 18, 2019

By James Oliphant

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democrats clamored for the speedy release of U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s findings of his probe into whether President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign colluded with Russia. Now they finally have them, they are confronted with a choice – stay on the attack or move on.

Progressives in the party used the report to renew their calls for action, but there was little immediate consensus on how to move forward.

Billionaire Tom Steyer, who has pumped millions of dollars of his own money into a campaign calling for Trump’s removal from office, told Reuters that lawmakers in the Democratic-led House of Representatives should begin the process of impeaching Trump, a Republican, based on the evidence amassed by Mueller.

Mueller found no evidence of collusion between members of Trump’s campaign and Russians, despite numerous contacts, but he amassed a wealth of evidence he said showed the president had sought to impede or control the FBI investigation. He stopped short of concluding that Trump had committed a crime but noted that the U.S. Congress had the power to address that issue.

Democratic strategists said Democrats in the House, spurred on by progressives in the chamber, would continue their congressional investigations into Trump, but that Democratic presidential candidates, who hope to appeal to moderates and independents next year, are likely to take a less aggressive approach.

“I don’t think Bob Mueller’s report is going to make a difference in Lordstown,” said Robin Winston, a former chairman of the Indiana Democratic Party, referring the auto plant in Ohio that auto giant General Motors shuttered last month.

Winston said economic concerns were far more pressing on voters’ minds than the Russia probe and that breathless coverage of the nearly two-year-old probe had left voters “fatigued.”

Opinion polls show that the U.S. public has also largely made up its mind about the probe before the report’s release on Thursday.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted last month after Mueller’s conclusions were first made public showed that about half of the country still believed Trump worked with Russia to influence the 2016 election. More than half said they believe Trump tried to block the probe.

Democrats in the House signaled their efforts to investigate Trump’s actions would continue. It is unclear, however, what their efforts will yield. Any attempt to force Trump from office would likely be thwarted by the Republican-controlled Senate.

The prospect of impeaching Trump has largely been downplayed by Democrats since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi argued it would be counter-productive. But Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a popular progressive Democratic lawmaker, raised the prospect again on Thursday in a tweet.

ON THE KITCHEN TABLE

Those bidding for the 2020 Democratic nomination took a more cautious path on Thursday. While many called for Mueller to testify before Congress, there was no mention of the “I word”.

“It is clear that Donald Trump wanted nothing more than to shut down the Mueller investigation,” U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, a Democratic candidate, said in a statement. “While we have more detail from today’s report than before, Congress must continue its investigation into Trump’s conduct and any foreign attempts to influence our election.”

Democratic candidates are conscious that their voters are more interested in their positions on healthcare, the economy, immigration and climate change than whether or not Trump conspired with Russia or obstructed justice.

Indeed, in a two-day swing through Iowa this week, Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana did not hear a question on the topic. That has been similar to the experience of other candidates who have campaigning in early voting states.

Buttigieg’s campaign said it has not been a subject on voters’ minds.

Former U.S. congressman Beto O’Rourke may have summed up the field’s collective view most succinctly while campaigning last month.

“I think the American people are going to have a chance to decide this at the ballot box in November 2020, and perhaps that’s the best way for us to resolve these outstanding questions,” he said.

Democrats could be heeding the lesson of last year’s congressional elections, when they won more than 40 House seats and gained control of the chamber. Successful candidates, particularly moderates, found traction in talking more about kitchen-table issues and less about Trump.

“The base gets ginned up – as a presidential candidate you have to decide whether you are going to cater to the base or take a longer view,” said Rodell Mollineau, who served as a top aide to former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

(Reporting by James Oliphant; Editing by Paritosh Bansal and Ross Colvin)

Source: OANN


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