Only 3 percent of Americans have read all of the Mueller report and only 10 percent have read some of it, per a CCN poll released in late May.Democrats, aware of those low readership rates, need a televised appearance by the special counsel discussing the report that will increase public understanding of what is in the report that will lead to a surge in public opposition of the president which will, in turn, make an impeachment inquiry politically practical and possible.
And they have reason to believe that may work, at least a bit: After Mueller spoke briefly in May, the percentage of Americans who supported beginning impeachment proceedings went from 16 percent to 22 percent, according to a NPR/PBS Marist Poll.What Democrats want out of Mueller’s testimonyOnly 3 percent of Americans have read all of the Mueller report and only 10 percent have read some of it, according to a CNN poll released in May.
Democrats, aware of those low readership rates, hope that a televised appearance by the special counsel discussing the report will increase public understanding of what is in the report and that it will lead to a surge in public opposition of the president.
And they have reason to believe that may work, at least a bit: After Mueller spoke briefly in May, the percentage of Americans who supported beginning impeachment proceedings went from 16 percent to 22 percent, according to an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll.
But they also have cause for concern. The latest survey done by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal in July found that only 21 percent of registered voters say that there is enough evidence for Congress to begin impeachment hearings a six-point drop in one month. What went up had gone down.
WHAT HAPPENED IN MAY? During that May briefing, Mueller had pushed back HARD on what Trump had been calling his “complete and total exoneration” after the report was released. The report neither exonerated nor charged the president, something Mueller made clear. “As set forth in the report, after that investigation if we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime we would have said so,” Mueller said.
And that is when the polling in favor of impeachment showed the bounce in support.
What the Democrats need is several statements with that kind of power that will push public support to a level such that they can initiate a House of Representatives Impeachment Inquiry which will provide them with far greater powers to investigate Trump and his administration.
Here is what they will need Mueller to reiterate in person, in his own words and with all of the drama that a Congressional Hearing is capable of creating
- That the Russian government tried to help Trump win.
- That the Trump campaign was eager to benefit from hackings targeting Democrats.
- That Trump’s campaign advisers had a host of ties to Russia.
- That President Trump tried again and again to impede/obstruct the Russia investigation.
They also need for him to say this:
- The Mueller’s team did not charge Trump with obstruction of justice because the special counsel’s office chose to abide by Justice Department policy that bars indicting a sitting president.
- Instead, the Special Counsel’s Office directed Congress to decide whether Trump is guilty.
Here is the key quote:
“The conclusion that Congress may apply obstruction laws to the President’s corrupt exercise of the powers of office accords with our constitutional system of checks and balances and the principle that no person is above the law,” Mueller wrote in the report. “While this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”
Many Democrats viewed this as tantamount to an invitation to the House Judiciary Committee to open an impeachment inquiry — something House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her top lieutenants have been hesitant to wade into knowing that without public support the effort would likely backfire (especially since there is no way that the GOP Controlled Senate would ever find Trump Guilty).
The Democratic leader has instead advocated for her party to continue investigating the president, even as a growing number of her caucus calls for an inquiry to be opened.The Mueller testimony represents a step forward in that investigation. And Should that session energize the public, House Democrats would be inclined to reassess their strategy. An impeachment inquiry would likely follow.