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House to hold hearing on Mueller report, 'presidential obstruction and other crimes'

One of the witnesses in the June 10 Judiciary Committee hearing is slated to be John Dean, a key figure in the Watergate scandal.
Image: Robert Mueller arrives to speak at the Department of Justice on May 29, 2019.
A key House committee is launching hearings focused on the findings of former special counsel Robert Mueller's report.Carolyn Kaster / AP

House Democrats announced Monday they'll hold a hearing next week focused on the Mueller report and "presidential obstruction."

The Judiciary Committee hearing will include testimony from former White House counsel John Dean, a key figure in the Watergate hearings that helped lead to Richard Nixon's resignation as president. Dean cooperated with the Watergate special prosecutor after pleading guilty to obstruction of justice.

The hearing — which comes as more House Democrats clamor to launch impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump — will also include testimony from legal experts and former federal prosecutors.

“No one is above the law. While the White House continues to cover up and stonewall, and to prevent the American people from knowing the truth, we will continue to move forward with our investigation," committee chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., said in a statement announcing the session, entitled "Lessons From the Mueller Report: Presidential Obstruction and Other Crimes."

"These hearings will allow us to examine the findings laid out in Mueller’s report so that we can work to protect the rule of law and protect future elections through consideration of legislative and other remedies," he added. “Given the threat posed by the president’s alleged misconduct, our first hearing will focus on President Trump’s most overt acts of obstruction. In the coming weeks, other hearings will focus on other important aspects of the Mueller report.”

The committee said in a press release it will also "consider targeted legislative, oversight and constitutional remedies" to tackle those issues.

Nadler has been in talks to get former special counsel Robert Mueller to testify before his committee, but Mueller, in his first public comments about his two-year investigation last week, said his 448-page report "speaks for itself."

"I would not provide information beyond what is already public in any appearance before Congress," he said.

While Mueller's report on Russian interference in the 2016 campaign and team Trump did not find sufficient evidence to bring conspiracy charges, it did outline numerous examples of Trump and his allies interfering with his investigation. Mueller noted Department of Justice rules prohibit prosecutors from bringing charges against a sitting president.

"If we had had confidence that he clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so," Mueller said then. "We did not, however, make a determination to whether the president did commit a crime."

Since Mueller did not make that determination, his supervisors, Attorney General William Barr and now-former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, did, and found the alleged obstruction was not criminal.

Over 1,000 former federal prosecutors disagreed with that conclusion in an open letter published on Medium last month.

Mueller and his report both noted there is a mechanism in place to discipline sitting presidents — Congress.

Nadler has accused the Trump administration of continuing the obstruction, including by refusing to hand over an unredacted version of the Mueller report and telling former White House counsel Don McGahn not to appear before his committee.

Still, Nadler said, “we have learned so much even from the redacted version" of the Mueller report.

"Russia attacked our elections to help President Trump win, Trump and his campaign welcomed this help and the president then tried to obstruct the investigation into the attack," Nadler said. "Mueller confirmed these revelations and has now left Congress to pick up where he left off."