House Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler won't rule out impeachment for Trump

Nadler said Democrats will "see where the facts lead us" after they examine Robert Mueller's full, unredacted report.

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By Ben Kamisar

WASHINGTON — House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler on Sunday did not rule out the prospect of impeaching President Donald Trump over allegations detailed in the Mueller report, arguing Congress has to see the full unredacted report.

Nadler, D-N.Y., said in an interview on Sunday’s “Meet The Press” that Congress will “have to hear from” both Attorney General William Barr and special counsel Robert Mueller, as well as obtain the unredacted report before coming to a conclusion on impeachment.

Nadler oversees the committee with jurisdiction over impeachment proceedings.

“Some of this would be impeachable,” Nadler said of the accusations detailed in the report, which was released Thursday. “Obstruction of justice, if proven, would be impeachable.”

Mueller’s report analyzed both the Russian government’s attempts to influence the 2016 presidential election, as well as the question of whether Trump or his top allies tried to obstruct the investigation.

While Mueller wrote that “the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government,” he did not reach a conclusion on whether Trump committed the crime of obstruction of justice.

“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,” Mueller wrote.

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Among those efforts were attempts to fire the special counsel and the firing of FBI Director James Comey.

In one instance, Mueller’s report says that White House counsel Don McGahn refused to fire Mueller despite an order from Trump. And when that encounter was eventually reported publicly, McGahn refused Trump’s request to deny the story.

Nadler on Sunday added that on top of hearing from Mueller and Barr, Congress will call McGahn to testify.

He also questioned why Mueller didn't charge Donald Trump Jr. "and others" who met with Russians during an infamous meeting at Trump Tower that they believed to be about obtaining dirt on Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

"He said that he didn't charge them because you couldn't prove that they willfully intended to commit a crime," Nadler said of Mueller.

"All you have to prove for conspiracy is that they entered into a meeting of the minds to do something wrong and had one overt act. They entered into a meeting of the minds to attend a meeting to get stolen material on Hillary. They went to the meeting, that's conspiracy."

In a statement released Thursday, Donald Trump Jr.'s attorney, Alan Futerfas, argued that the report exonerated his client.

"The Report confirms that the June 9, 2016 meeting was just what Don said it was, and nothing more, and that there was nothing improper about potentially listening to information," he said.

While Mueller declined to file a charge on obstruction against President Trump, he wrote that “while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”

The report also notes that a “criminal accusation against a sitting President would place burdens on the President’s capacity to govern and potentially preempt constitutional processes for addressing presidential misconduct.”

Based on that comment, some Democrats, including presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., have already begun to call for impeachment proceedings based on the report. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote Thursday night in a letter to members that they will discuss the next step forward but promised that “Congress will not be silent.”

But the president’s allies believe that the Mueller report should be the final step in the process and that the decision not to indict the president means that Congress shouldn’t continue investigating him.

Also on “Meet the Press,” presidential lawyer Rudy Giuliani argued that the report shows Trump is “innocent.” He defended Trump’s attempts to fire the special counsel as within his rights and argued that the “sloppy” report was biased against the president.

CORRECTION (April 21, 2019, 2:40 p.m. ET): A previous version of this article misstated the day the Mueller report was released. It was released Thursday, not Friday.