Nancy Pelosi Reacts to Mueller Statement, Avoids Mentioning Impeachment

By Zachary Stieber

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), viewed by many as the leader of the Democratic party, reacted on May 29 to a statement by special counsel Robert Mueller issued earlier in the day.

Mueller, in a statement read at the Department of Justice headquarters, said that he was resigning since the investigation into Russian election interference was complete.

The former FBI director also made the unusual claim that his team wasn’t able to state definitively that Trump did not commit obstruction. The team said in its report that it couldn’t establish collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russian actors, the main thrust of the investigation, but merely presented evidence regarding obstruction and left that determination to Attorney General William Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

Pelosi issued a statement later Wednesday saying she respected Mueller and thanking him for his work.

“Special Counsel Mueller made clear that he did not exonerate the President when he stated, ‘If we had confidence that the President clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so,'” Pelosi said.

Barr previously said that Mueller was not able to explain why his team avoided the traditional prosecutorial decision of either recommending prosecution or not recommending prosecution.

If Mueller knew the whole time he was not going to be able to recommend prosecution, Barr said on May 1, then he shouldn’t have probed the situation.

“The other thing that was confusing to me was that the investigation carried on for a while as additional episodes were looked into, episodes involving the president, and so my question was ‘why were those investigated if at the end of the day you weren’t going to reach a decision on them?’” Barr said.

mueller speaks on may 29
Special counsel Robert Mueller speaks on the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election, at the Department of Justice in Washington on May 29, 2019. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)
Attorney General William Barr
Attorney General William Barr speaks alongside Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, right, and acting Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General Edward O’Callaghan, left, about the release of a redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report during a news conference at the Department of Justice in Washington, on April 18, 2019. (Patrick Semansky/AP Photo)

Barr said during a press conference in mid-April that he and Rosenstein reviewed the evidence Mueller presented and determined it was “not sufficient to establish that the president committed an obstruction-of-justice offense.”

In her statement on May 29, Pelosi focused on Mueller’s avoidance, suggesting the president committed wrongdoing based on the 11 situations involving obstruction that Mueller probed in the report.

“The Congress holds sacred its constitutional responsibility to investigate and hold the President accountable for his abuse of power,” she added. “We the American people must have the truth.”

Pelosi was scheduled to speak on Wednesday at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco.

She and some other top Democrats avoided mentioning the potential of opening impeachment proceedings against Trump for his alleged wrongdoing.

Rep. Jerold Nadler (D-N.Y.), another House Democratic leader, said in a statement that Congress would keep investigating Trump but did not mention impeachment. His statement closely mirrored Pelosi’s.

Other Democrats used Mueller’s statement as fuel for a call for impeachment.

“Robert Mueller’s statement makes it clear: Congress has a legal and moral obligation to begin impeachment proceedings immediately,” said Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), a presidential candidate.

“What Robert Mueller basically did was return an impeachment referral,” added Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), another presidential candidate. “Now it is up to Congress to hold this president accountable. We need to start impeachment proceedings. It’s our constitutional obligation.”

President Donald Trump responded to special counsel Robert Mueller’s announcement that the special counsel’s office is formally closed and that the Russia investigation is completed.

“Nothing changes from the Mueller Report,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “There was insufficient evidence and therefore, in our Country, a person is innocent. The case is closed! Thank you.”

Epoch Times reporter Ivan Pentchoukov contributed to this report.