Make Them Hear You! is a weekly feature on KGNU, produced by Chris Mohr, letting listeners know how they can have their voices heard on issues up before Congress. You can hear it Wednesday mornings at 8.20am during the Morning Magazine.
To impeach or not to impeach, that is the question. With the exception of Mitt Romney, almost all the Republicans in both houses of Congress have circled the wagons and declared the case against Trump closed. But there are at least three Republican organizations, Republicans Against Trump, the Bulwark, and Republicans for the Rule of Law, who continue to say that Trump is far from exonerated in the Mueller report. Let’s take a look at what one Republican in the latter group, Chris Truax, had to say in a USA Today article titled “Attorney General Barr jumped the gun in clearing Trump of Obstruction.”
Contrary to Barr’s conclusion, the Mueller Report leaves very much open the question of whether President Trump is guilty of obstruction of justice.
Barr conclusively decided that it would be impossible for Trump to obstruct justice. But Mueller and his team came to a different conclusion. They did not conclude that the evidence of obstruction was on the fence. Instead, they gave over ten examples of evidence of obstruction and concluded that, despite everything they had uncovered, it would be improper to make a formal finding that the president had violated the law. Mueller believed that if he made a formal finding that the president violated the law, that might interfere with Congress’s impeachment authority.
This is not a ringing endorsement of Trump’s innocence. On the contrary. In Mueller’s own words, “[I]f we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, however, we are unable to reach that judgment.”
Whether Trump crossed a line is a call for Congress to make, not Mueller or Barr. Mueller intended both the American people and Congress to judge the results of his investigation for themselves. There are precious few Republican congresspeople who agree with the relative handful of Republicans in these anti-Trump organizations. While many are convinced that the Mueller Report is full of impeachable offenses, top Democrats are leery. Nancy Pelosi would rather see Trump voted out in 2020. Adam Schiff of the Intelligence Committee wants his committee to do more work before taking action. Jerry Nadler of the Judicial Committee is pushing for an unredacted copy of the report, but not for impeachment. On the other hand, Maxine Waters of the Financial Services Committee warns against “complacency in the face of the erosion of our constitutional norms.” There is also concern that if the Democrats drop the ball that Mueller tossed to them, that Barr and the Republican Congress will fill the vacuum by launching investigations into the investigators as well as reigniting the Hillary Clinton email investigation.
If you have an opinion on whether the House should begin impeachment proceedings, you can contact your representative.