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Pingree Statement on Special Counsel Mueller’s Testimony before the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees

Washington, July 24, 2019

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) released the following statement regarding Special Counsel Mueller’s testimony before the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees about his two-year investigation of Russian election interference:

“All of our intelligence agencies—from the CIA and FBI to the NSA—have reached the same conclusion as Special Counsel Mueller: Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election in a sweeping and systematic fashion. It’s crazy this even needs to be said, but any foreign attack on our nation should be handled seriously by our Commander in Chief. Yet, Mr. Mueller made clear that President Trump has not responded appropriately to this foreign attack—instead he has obstructed the Department of Justice’s investigation.

“Today the Special Counsel testified that President Trump made multiple attempts to obstruct his investigation into foreign election interference, including lying to investigators. As a decorated former Marine and former director of the FBI under Republican and Democratic presidents, Mr. Mueller today emphasized the gravity of these obstruction findings and reiterated that his report does not exonerate President Trump of impeachable acts. He told the House Judiciary Committee, ‘obstruction of justice strikes at the core of the government's effort to find the truth and to hold wrongdoers accountable.’ Mr. Mueller is absolutely right. Congress’s constitutional role is to be a check on the Executive branch. These hearings were an important step to hold this Administration accountable for failing to mitigate foreign election interference.”

“Every President of the United States swears an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. It is indefensible that President Trump did not do everything in his power to help with the investigation into Russia’s indisputable attack our democracy. It’s for this reason that I have called for an official impeachment inquiry.”

 

BACKGROUND

RECENT STATEMENTS ON MUELLER INVESTIGATION

On March 24, when Attorney General Barr released a four-page summary of the 448-page Mueller Report was released. Pingree said:

“The American public needs more than a four-page summary from the President’s hand-picked Attorney General to determine the scope of the Mueller investigation’s findings.”

On April 18, when Attorney General Barr held a press conference about the Mueller Report without releasing the report, Pingree demanded full public release of the report, saying:

“The Attorney General must be loyal to the rule of law, not the executive. We learned today that President Trump's lawyers saw the findings of Special Counsel Mueller's investigation before the United States Congress and before the American people. That is not acceptable. Even now, we still have not seen the complete findings. The abridged version we received is no substitute for the unvarnished truth, especially given the indisputable and disturbing certainty that Russia hacked our election. The full report should be released to Congress without redaction and Mr. Mueller should testify before Congress about his findings.”

On May 2, Pingree called for Attorney General William Barr to resign because of his mishandling of Mueller investigation, refusal to answer questions before the Senate Judiciary Committee, and to appear before the House Judiciary Committee. Pingree said:

“Members of the panel asked concise, direct questions about Mr. Barr’s treatment of the Mueller Report and probe. In response, AG Barr obfuscated or outright lied about his actions. That he has worked to cover up Mr. Mueller’s findings to shield President Trump is no longer in any question. Mr. Barr is not impartial and for the good of his country he should step down from his post.”

On May 29, after Special Counsel Mueller’s 10-minute news conference, emphasizing that his report did not exonerate the President, Pingree called for an impeachment inquiry saying:

“The 116th Congress has been stonewalled at every turn by President Trump and his allies as we’ve exercised our legitimate oversight power seeking answers on Russian interference in our elections and other matters. The President’s unwillingness to cooperate with Congress, particularly on a matter relating to a foreign attack on our democracy, is an insult to our system of coequal branches of government.

“The Constitution provides a process for Congress to hold the Executive accountable for wrongdoing because no one is above the law. As dozens of serious investigations into President Trump and his business interests are underway in state and federal courts, I believe it is in the public interest that Congress continue its own investigations in the face of unprecedented obstruction and move toward an impeachment inquiry.”

UPHOLDING THE INTEGRITY OF FUTURE ELECTIONS

Despite two years of inaction by the previous House leadership, House Democrats have made election security a top priority. Last month, Pingree voted to pass H.R. 3501 The SAFE Act which would increase elections funding, require paper ballots, and mandate cybersecurity protections and notifications.

Pingree is also a cosponsor of H.R. 2424, the Duty Report Act, which would make it unlawful for campaigns and candidates to fail to report offers from foreign nationals to the FBI, and H.R. 3501, the Safeguard Our Elections and Combat Unlawful Interference in Our Democracy Act, which would prevent foreign money loopholes.

This press release is online here.

 

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