Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D., Md.) said Thursday that he has seen nothing in the final version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s final report that would make it worthwhile for House Democrats to impeach President Trump.
“Based on what we have seen to date, going forward on impeachment is not worthwhile at this point,” Hoyer said. “Very frankly, there is an election in 18 months and the American people will make a judgment.”
Attorney General William Barr delivered a redacted version of the Mueller report to the House and Senate Judiciary Committees Thursday morning. The report concluded that neither Trump nor his campaign associates colluded with Russians to influence the 2016 presidential election, although it acknowledged campaign associates believed they would benefit from “information stolen and released through Russian efforts,” including damaging internal emails stolen from the Clinton campaign.
Democratic leadership has downplayed the prospect of impeachment in recent months, cautioning that it could divide the public and take a long time, while the more progressive wing of the party has clamored for the process to be initiated.
“He’s just not worth it,” House speaker Nancy Pelosi said in March. “I’m not for impeachment. Impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path, because it divides the country.”
House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerry Nadler, who would have to spearhead impeachment proceedings, previously echoed Pelosi’s views.
“You don’t want the country torn apart in the sense that half of the country says for the next 30 years, ‘We won the election. You stole it,’” the New York Democrat said last year. “So one question before you do an impeachment is do you think the evidence of such terrible deeds is so strong that a large portion of the opposition vote base, of the president’s vote base, will be convinced by the end of the process?”
Nadler said Thursday that impeachment is “one possibility” in the wake of release of the report, which he added “was probably written with the intent of providing Congress with a road map.”
Democratic lawmakers signaled Thursday that they intend to continue their investigations into whether Trump obstructed justice, an issue the special counsel declined to reach a conclusion on. The Justice Department said it has decided against charging Trump with obstruction.
Pelosi and Schumer called on Mueller to testify publicly before Congress in response to what they called Barr’s “regrettably partisan handling” of the report. Nadler concurred, saying Congress “cannot take Attorney General Barr’s word” and requesting that Mueller testify before his committee.