Senator Elizabeth Warren, who is vying to become the Democratic candidate against Trump in 2020, tweeted that the Democrat-led House "should initiate impeachment proceedings."

US President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive aboard Air Force One as he heads to spend Easter weekend at his Mar-a-Lago club, at Palm Beach International Airport, in West Palm Beach, Florida, US. April 18, 2019.
US President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive aboard Air Force One as he heads to spend Easter weekend at his Mar-a-Lago club, at Palm Beach International Airport, in West Palm Beach, Florida, US. April 18, 2019. (Al Drago / Reuters)

The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Representative Jerrold Nadler, has issued a subpoena for special counsel Robert Mueller's full report as Democrats intensified their investigation of President Donald Trump, but leaders stopped short of liberal demands for impeachment proceedings.

A seething Trump launched a tirade Friday against the "bullshit" Mueller report on how he tried to thwart the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

In early morning tweets, Trump called it "the Crazy Mueller Report" written by "Haters" and filled with statements that "are fabricated & totally untrue."

Crucially, the heavily-redacted report could not prove that Trump's election campaign colluded with Russian meddling efforts. On Trump's possible obstruction of justice, Mueller's report "does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has insisted on a methodical, step-by-step approach to the House's oversight of the Trump administration, and she refuses to consider impeachment without public support, including from Republicans, which seems unlikely. 

But in light of Mueller's findings, Democratic leaders are under mounting pressure from the party's rising stars, deep-pocketed donors and even a presidential contender to seize the moment as a jumping-off point for trying to remove Trump from office.

Speaking Friday in Belfast as Pelosi wrapped up a congressional visit to Ireland, she declined to signal action beyond Congress' role as a check and balance for the White House.

"Let me assure you that whatever the issue and challenge we face, the Congress of the United States will honour its oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States to protect our democracy," she told reporters.

"We believe that the first article — Article 1, the legislative branch — has the responsibility of oversight of our democracy, and we will exercise that."

A cardboard cutout of US Attorney General William Barr is seen as protesters hold signs which read
A cardboard cutout of US Attorney General William Barr is seen as protesters hold signs which read "Barr Coverup," following the release of the Mueller report on President Donald Trump, at the White House in Washington, US. April 18, 2019. (Carlos Barria / Reuters)

Impeachment

That approach isn't enough for some liberals who see in Trump's actions not just a president unfit for office but evidence of obstruction serious enough that Mueller said he could not declare Trump exonerated.

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, of New York, is now signed on to an impeachment resolution from fellow Democratic Representative Rashida Tlaib, of Michigan, bringing new energy to the effort. Senator Elizabeth Warren, a presidential candidate, said on Friday the House "should initiate impeachment proceedings against the president." 

And billionaire Tom Steyer, a leading advocate of impeachment, has grown impatient with the House's pace of investigations and wants televised hearings to focus Americans' attention on Trump.

Senator Elizabeth Warren, who is vying to become the Democratic candidate against Trump in 2020, tweeted that the Democrat-led House "should initiate impeachment proceedings."

And House judiciary committee chairman Jerry Nadler issued a subpoena to try to force publication of still more documentation from Mueller, as well as the portions of the probe that were blacked out for legal or security reasons.

Nadler, says he expects the justice department to comply with the committee's subpoena for the full report by May 1.

That's the same day Attorney General William Barr is to testify before a Senate committee and one day before Barr is to appear before Nadler's panel. Nadler also has summoned Mueller to testify by May 23.

"It now falls to Congress to determine the full scope of that alleged misconduct and to decide what steps we must take going forward," Nadler said.

A justice spokeswoman, Kerri Kupac, called Nadler's move "premature and unnecessary."

With Barr, Democrats expect a long battle ahead. The attorney general has come under intense scrutiny over his handling of the Mueller report and subsequent comments that have left him exposed to criticism he is acting in Trump's interest.

Late Friday Democrats rejected an offer from Barr for a limited number of congressional leaders to view some of the redacted materials in a confidential setting.
They said it was inadequate.

Lying and swearing

Although Mueller stated he was following justice department policy in not charging Trump with the crime of obstruction of justice, he laid out 10 instances where the president took steps in that direction.

As a result, Mueller said he could "not exonerate" him.

That statement was taken by Democrats as an invitation to pursue the president in Congress, while even a top Republican, Senator Mitt Romney, broke from party lines to say he was "sickened" by the report's findings.

At minimum, the almost 450-page report – including scenes of a White House filled with lying, swearing and barely-disguised panic – is deeply embarrassing for a president elected on a mission to clear Washington's "swamp."

The Mueller Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election is pictured in New York, New York, on April 18, 2019.
The Mueller Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election is pictured in New York, New York, on April 18, 2019. (Reuters)

Adding to its weight is the fact that the material is based largely on sworn testimony by Trump insiders, rather than rival politicians.

Whether the Mueller report has any immediate effect on the US political scene ahead of the 2020 elections, however, is uncertain.

With Republicans controlling the Senate, Democrats would have little chance of removing Trump through impeachment. For now, Warren is an outlier, as other senior Democrats shy away from the "I" word.

And Trump, who throughout the two-year investigation has claimed to be victim of a "witch hunt," is using the latest uproar to cement his "us-against-them" appeal among a loyal right-wing support base.

Battle over but war continues

What's sure is that publication of the Mueller report will not end the bruising fight.

In another tweet, the president threatened to take revenge.

"It is now finally time to turn the tables and bring justice to some very sick and dangerous people who have committed very serious crimes, perhaps even Spying or Treason. This should never happen again!" he warned.

It's unlikely that the full Mueller report or the special counsel's public testimony will untangle the dilemma that Democrats face. 

Mueller laid out multiple episodes in which Trump directed others to influence or curtail the Russia investigation after the special counsel's appointment in May 2017, and Trump made clear that he viewed the probe as a potentially mortal blow — "the end of my presidency."

Democratic leaders are walking a delicate line on what to do with Mueller's findings.

The No 2 Democrat, Representative Steny Hoyer of Maryland, drew criticism for refusing to consider impeachment, and quickly revised his comments to say "all options ought to remain on the table."

And Pelosi, in an interview last week, before the report's release, reiterated her "high bar" for impeachment. But she also didn't close the door on the option.

"The fact is the president has engaged in activities that are unethical, un-American. ... In every way he is unfit to be president of the United States. Does that make it — is that an impeachable offense? Well, it depends on what we see in the report."

Source: TRTWorld and agencies