DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – For the first time, former Special Counsel Robert Mueller testified on Capitol Hill about his 448-page report on the Russian interference investigation.
Among those asking him questions were five Texas lawmakers, including Republican John Ratcliffe of the 4th Congressional District in North Texas and Democrat Sheila Jackson Lee of the 18th Congressional District in Houston.
While former Special Counsel Robert Mueller did not reach a determination that President Trump obstructed justice in the Russian investigation, that didn’t stop Jackson Lee, Ratcliffe and others from asking Mueller about it.
During one exchange, Ratcliffe grilled Mueller for saying in the report that they could not exonerate the president regarding obstruction.
“Can you give me an example other than Donald Trump where the Justice Department determined an investigated person was not exonerated because their innocence was not conclusively determined?”
Mueller responded, “I cannot, but this is a unique situation.”
Ratcliffe replied, “You can’t. Time is short. I’ve got five minutes. Let’s just leave it at you can’t find it because I’ll tell you why. It doesn’t exist. “Respectfully, Director it was not the Special Counsel’s job to conclusively determine Donald Trump’s innocence or to exonerate him because the bedrock principle of our justice system is a presumption of innocence. It exists for everyone.”
Jackson Lee asked Mueller, “Actions by the president to end an open investigation into his own conduct to protect against personal embarrassment or legal liability would constitute a core example of corruptly-motivated conduct, is that correct?”
Mueller said, “Yes.”
Jackson Lee asked, “Does obstruction of Justice warrant a lot of time in jail if you are convicted.”
Mueller said, “Yes.”
Dallas County’s Democratic Party Chair Carol Donovan said she thinks today’s hearing will help Democrats in the court of public opinion.
“Mr. Mueller comes off as extremely non-partisan. He has a background in the security field where they don’t give a rip about whether you’re a Democrat or Republican.”
But conservative Paul Chabot, who started the Keep Texas Red PAC, said the leaks that came out of Mueller’s office prove otherwise.
“Every single one of those leaks was a negative on our President. When there was something positive, you never heard that. There was never a leak that there was no collusion. We didn’t find that out to the final report.”
One question still unresolved: will Democrats move forward with an impeachment inquiry against President Trump?
Donovan said, “Yes, he should be impeached. I realize though as a practical matter, its no going to make any difference for the House to vote to impeach him if the Senate isn’t going to.”
Chabot said, “The Democrats are definitely going to push forward with impeachment. It’s going to be a minority within their minority.”
The two Texas Democrats running for President, Julian Castro and Beto O’Rourke tweeted Wednesday that House Democrats should begin impeachment proceedings against President Trump.