Obstruction of Justice: What the Special Counsel investigated
President Donald Trump said before the special counsel’s testimony Wednesday that he’d only watch the hearings “little bit,” after previously saying he wouldn’t watch at all, NBC reported.
But the president was tweeting and retweeting as members of the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committee questioned Special Counsel Robert Mueller for hours in the marathon hearings.
“I would like to thank the Democrats for holding this morning’s hearing,” Trump wrote in one message to his 62 million followers. “Now, after 3 hours, Robert Mueller has to subject himself to #ShiftySchiff - an Embarrassment to our Country!”
Trump retweeted a statement from one of his attorneys.
The president boosted messages tweeted out by Republican members of Congress, including Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio, Matt Gaetz of Florida and Kelly Armstrong of North Dakota. Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, the top Republic on the Judiciary Committee, was also retweeted.
Trump tweeted a quote from Fox News host Chris Wallace, in which he called the first hearing a “disaster” for Democrats.
And as the hearings ended, the president weighed in with an exclamation in all capital letters.
At a May press conference in Washington, Mueller said the report his office released following the probe into Russian 2016 election meddling was tantamount to his testimony. His lengthy report found no evidence the Trump campaign colluded with Russians to influence the election, but did list 10 possible instances of obstruction of justice by the president during the probe. Mueller also announced his office was closing up shop at the news conference.
But the Democrats who lead the Judiciary and Intelligence Committees in U.S. House of Representatives decided to subpoena Mueller to testify, announcing on June 25 that the former FBI head would appear before lawmakers in open session July 17. That hearing was later delayed to July 24.
“We look forward to hearing his testimony, as do all Americans,” Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., and Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said in a June statement.
Nadler and Schiff acknowledged Mueller’s preference to let his “written work to speak for itself” in their June letter accompanying the subpoena, but the pair wrote that “the American public deserves to hear directly from you about your investigation and conclusions.”
Mueller’s May press conference sparked some Democrats to call for Trump’s impeachment, with some pointing to Mueller’s comment that “if we had confidence that the President clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said that. We did not, however, make a determination as to whether the President did commit a crime.”
Those impeachment calls included a handful of Democratic presidential candidates.
“I believe a fair inference from what he heard from Bob Mueller is there would have been indictments returned against this president,” if not for the Justice Department guidance saying a president can’t be charged, Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., told reporters during a stop in South Carolina, McClatchy reported. On Twitter, Harris called Mueller’s news conference statements “an impeachment referral.”