5 ‘shocking evidence of criminal misconduct’ by Trump:
- Repeatedly directing his then-White House counsel Don McGahn to fire Mueller
- Telling McGahn to deny that he had been ordered to fire Mueller
- Asking former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski to deliver a message to then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to limit the investigation to exclude the president
- Telling Lewandowski to let Sessions know that he’s fired if he doesn’t meet with Lewandowski
- Potential witness tampering with Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen.
The former special counsel is set to appear before the Judiciary and Intelligence committees Wednesday.
WASHINGTON — Democrats on the House committees set to hear testimony next week from former special counsel Robert Mueller believe the hearings will help Americans understand “the gravity of the president’s misconduct,” staff members told reporters.
“It is not that that there will be a big, dramatic new revelation necessarily, we’re not expecting that,” a Democratic staffer on the Judiciary Committee said Thursday in a briefing ahead of the hearings. “What’s important is there is truly shocking evidence of criminal misconduct by the president — not once but again and again and again — that would result in any other American being criminally charged in a multiple count indictment.”
The committees are anticipating that “not everybody is reading the book (Mueller’s report) but people will watch the movie,” an aide said.
Mueller is expected to appear publicly Wednesday for three hours before the Judiciary Committee followed by roughly two hours before the House Intelligence Committee.
During his public statement in May after the report was complete, he said, “The report is my testimony. I would not provide information beyond that which is already public in any appearance before Congress.”
Trump said Friday that he wouldn’t be watching the hearings.
But both committees want to dig into Mueller’s evidence, not necessarily the conclusions — or lack thereof — laid out in his report. Democratic staffers believe the former special counsel will “lean into” the factual findings that his team made.
“Our focus is really going to be to have the special counsel talk about what the evidence is that he found, less about what the legal conclusion was, because some of the actual evidence is very concerning and has not received the attention it’s due,” an Intelligence Committee staffer said.
Mueller’s report did not establish that the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its interference in the 2016 election.
On obstruction of justice, Mueller left it to Attorney General William Barr to choose whether to bring obstruction charges against the president; Barr declined to do so, he told Congress, based on the evidence presented and Department of Justice guidelines around prosecuting a sitting president.
The Mueller report makes it clear that Trump was not exonerated but it simply found insufficient criminal evidence to prosecute.
The Judiciary Committee hopes to show that if any other American had engaged in the same conduct as Trump did as detailed in the 400-plus page Mueller report, they would be charged for obstruction of justice.
Democratic lawmakers plan to highlight at least five instances they believe clearly show Trump committed a crime, the staffers said.
Democrats on the Judiciary Committee will highlight these actions by Trump as detailed in the report: Repeatedly directing his then-White House counsel Don McGahn to fire Mueller; telling McGahn to deny that he had been ordered to fire Mueller; asking former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski to deliver a message to then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to limit the investigation to exclude the president; telling Lewandowski to let Sessions know that he’s fired if he doesn’t meet with Lewandowski; and potential witness tampering with Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen.
“Mr. McGahn is very much on our mind as you’ll also see at the hearing,” a staffer said.