Democrats vowed to press ahead with investigations of President Donald Trump on Wednesday, with some ramping up calls to begin impeachment proceedings after Special Counsel Robert Mueller said charging the president was “not an option” and announced his resignation.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York, the House Judiciary Committee chairman, said given that Mueller wasn’t able to pursue charges, “it falls to Congress to respond to the crimes, lies and other wrongdoing of President Trump.”
Nadler has not, as yet, subpoenaed Mueller, however.
Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, who is seeking his party’s presidential nomination, said lawmakers were now obligated to start impeachment proceedings. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, another Democratic hopeful, also tweeted her case for impeachment.
Breaking his silence by making a roughly 10 minute public statement on Wednesday, Mueller said he didn’t make a decision about whether Trump obstructed justice as he could not consider that option under Justice Department policy. Mueller appeared to suggest any further investigation should be left up to Congress.
“If we had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so,” said the special counsel.
While Democrats like Nadler and Booker indicated they are ready for further inquiry, Trump and the White House shot down any such suggestion.
“The case is closed,” Trump tweeted shortly after Mueller concluded. He also said “There was insufficient evidence and therefore, in our Country, a person is innocent.” Many observers were quick to point out that Mueller did not specifically say Trump was innocent.
Rep. Justin Amash, alone among Republicans in saying Trump has engaged in impeachable conduct, tweeted simply, “The ball is in our court, Congress.”
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham echoed Trump.
“Today’s statement by Mr. Mueller reinforces the findings of his report. And as for me, the case is over,” said the South Carolina Republican.