House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America Friday morning to discuss his reaction to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia report. He had some strong words regarding President Donald Trump and key figures in his administration.
“I believe he committed obstruction of justice,” Nadler said, when asked for his opinion on Mueller’s findings related to Trump’s efforts to impede the Russia investigation. “But it’s not up to me.” Host George Stephanopoulos pointed out that it is at least in part up to him, as the House of Representatives has the power to impeach the president. Nadler apparently isn’t ready to go that far just yet.
“Well, we’re not there,” he said, stating that he needs to hear from Barr and Mueller, and look at the entire, unredacted report, including the secret grand jury evidence. Only then could members of Congress make an informed decision, he said. Nadler said he will issue a subpoena for the report on Friday. Barr has said he would disclose the other redacted information to Congress, but not the grand jury information, which is secret, according to the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure.
Stephanopoulos noted that it may be easier for him to get the grand jury information if the House was conducting an impeachment investigation. Court precedent says that grand jury information can only be disclosed in limited circumstances, and an impeachment investigation qualifies. Nadler said he needs the information in order to determine whether impeachment is appropriate.
Nadler also addressed Attorney General William Barr‘s statements about the Mueller report before it was released. Barr had made broad generalizations about Mueller’s findings that, while technically accurate, downplayed the severity of the findings when it came to the president and possible obstruction of justice.
“Barr has revealed himself as an agent of the president, not the Attorney General of the entire American people,” Nadler said. “He consistently misled the American people as to what was in the report.”
When asked if he accepted Mueller’s finding that there was no evidence to support charges for a criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia, Nadler would only say, “I accept his conclusion that he couldn’t prove it,” pointing to false statements and destroyed evidence as reasons for why Mueller did not conclude that crimes had been committed.
Stephanopoulos mentioned how White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Mueller’s report left it to Barr to make a determination regarding whether or not Trump committed obstruction of justice.
“Well, that’s just wrong,” Nadler said. “It’s another one of the lies that Sarah Sanders and lots of people in the administration have been making.” Nadler explained that Mueller didn’t reach a conclusion on obstruction of justice because Justice Department policy is to not indict a sitting president, and that Mueller intended to leave the question to Congress, not the Attorney General.
[Image via ABC screengrab]