Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wisc.) accidentally helped House Democrats justify impeaching President Donald Trump on Wednesday morning during his turn to question former Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
Mueller is testifying before the House Judiciary Committee about his final report, which does not exonerate Trump, because Democrats are trying to make a strong case to start impeachment proceedings, which Republicans are desperate to prevent.
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But Sensenbrenner undermined his party’s efforts by trying to argue that there should not have been an investigation if there was no intent to indict Trump.
“Okay, now volume two, page one,” Sensenbrenner began. “Your report boldly states, ‘We determine not to make a traditional prosecutorial judgment.’ It said, ‘We determine not to make a traditional prosecutorial judgment.’ That’s right in the beginning. Now, since you decided, under the [Office of Legal Counsel] opinion, you couldn’t prosecute a sitting president, meaning President Trump, why do we have all of this investigation of President Trump that the other side is talking about when you knew that you weren’t going to prosecute him?”
Mueller did not hesitate in his response.
“Well, we don’t know where the investigation is going to lie, and OLC opinion itself says that you can continue the investigation even though you are not going to indict the president,” he said.
Here’s the video via Twitter:
Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI): “Why do we have all this investigation of Pres. Trump…when you knew that you were not going to prosecute him?”
Mueller: “You don’t know where the investigation is going to lie & OLC opinion itself says that you can continue the investigation…” pic.twitter.com/SOyszNRKtK
— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) July 24, 2019
The reason why Sensenbrenner’s question is a major score for Democrats is that he highlighted the fact that the Justice Department does not allow the president to be indicted, which means the only way for Trump to face the consequences of his crimes is for him to be impeached by Congress.
The Mueller report lists ten instances of Trump committing obstruction of justice to discredit or sabotage the investigation into Russian 2016 interference, crimes that are punishable with prison time.
Former federal prosecutor Barbara McQuade pointed out Sensenbrenner’s mistake.
Rep. Sensenbrenner’s question is answered in the report – even if President can’t be indicted, he can be investigated to “preserve evidence” because he can be charged later or impeached.
— Barb McQuade (@BarbMcQuade) July 24, 2019
Sensenbrenner’s mistake comes just a day after the NAACP unanimously called upon House Democrats to impeach Trump. Now Republicans have given them even more cause to do so.
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