of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., stands beside a
chart during a newss conference following the
back-to-back hearings with former special counsel
Robert Mueller who testified about his investigation
into Russian interference in the 2016 election, on
Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, July 24,
WASHINGTON — After months
of anticipation, Congress finally heard testimony from
former special counsel Robert Mueller. So what now?
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
said Mueller's appearance was "a crossing of a
threshold," raising public awareness of what Mueller
found. And Democrats after the hearing said they had
clearly laid out the facts about the Mueller report, which
did not find a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and
Russia but detailed extensive Russian intervention in the
2016 election. Mueller also said in the report that he
couldn't clear President Donald Trump on obstruction of
But it remains to be seen
how the testimony will affect public views of Trump's
presidency and the push for impeachment. Mueller said some
of the things that Democrats wanted him to say —
including a clear dismissal of Trump's claims of total
exoneration — but he declined to answer many of their
questions, and he spoke haltingly at times. Trump claimed
victory, saying Mueller did "a horrible job."
Democrats say they will
continue to hold Trump to account. A look at the ways they
will try to do that in the coming months:
Democrats have struggled to
obtain testimony from some of the most crucial figures in
Mueller's report, including former White House counsel
Donald McGahn. And the few people they have interviewed,
such as former White House aide Hope Hicks, have failed to
give them new information beyond what's in Mueller's
But Democrats have multiple
investigations of the president ongoing that don't require
cooperation from the White House or Justice Department.
The House intelligence and Financial Services committees
are probing Trump's finances, an area that Mueller appears
to have avoided. And the intelligence panel is
investigating Trump's negotiations to build a Trump Tower
in Moscow before the campaign.
THEIR DAY IN COURT
To obtain the testimony
from McGahn and others, House Judiciary Committee Chairman
Jerrold Nadler said Wednesday that his panel will file
lawsuits this week.
Democrats will seek to
obtain secret grand jury material from Mueller's report
that has so far been withheld from Congress by the Justice
Department. They will also try to force McGahn to provide
documents and testimony.
As part of the suits, the
House is expected to challenge the White House's claim of
"absolute immunity," which has been used to
block McGahn and others who worked in the White House from
While going to court can be
a lengthy process, Democrats believe it will be their best
chance of obtaining information after Trump declared he
would fight "all of the subpoenas."
CALLS FOR AN IMPEACHMENT
Almost 90 House Democrats
have called for an impeachment inquiry, and more are
certain after Mueller's testimony. Those who support
opening proceedings say it would bolster Democrats' court
cases and show the American people that they are moving
decisively to challenge what they see as Trump's egregious
But House Speaker Nancy
Pelosi isn't there, not yet. And a majority of the caucus
is siding with her, for now.
Pelosi said Wednesday that
she wants "the strongest possible hand" by
waiting to see what happens in court.
The House is expected to
leave town for a five-week August recess on Friday, so
some of the Democrats' efforts will be on hold until
During that time, they'll
be at home listening to their constituents and judging how
urgently voters want them to act. Those conversations and
town halls could inform next steps in the fall.
Still, not everyone will be
taking a break. Rhode Island Rep. David Cicilline said
Wednesday that members might fly back in August if
witnesses are available for testimony. He said the
Judiciary panel understands "the urgency of the
moment and are prepared to do whatever is necessary to
secure the attendance of witnesses and documents."
Democrats in both the House
and the Senate want to move forward with legislation to
make elections more secure after Mueller extensively
detailed Russian interference.
House Democrats have passed
legislation to secure state election systems and try to
prevent foreign meddling, but bipartisan legislation in
the Senate has stalled. Democrats tried to bring up an
election security bill in the Senate on Wednesday, but
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT REVIEWS
The Justice Department
isn't done with its own investigations into what happened
before the 2016 election.
There are two ongoing
reviews into the origins of the Russia probe that Mueller
eventually took over — one being conducted by the
Justice Department's inspector general and another by U.S.
Attorney John Durham, who was appointed by Attorney
General William Barr to examine surveillance methods used
by the Justice Department.
Republicans have said the
department, then led by Obama administration officials,
was biased against Trump. They are eagerly anticipating
the results of those probes.
REPUBLICANS SAY IT'S OVER
Republicans say that
nothing should be next, at least when it comes to
investigations of the president. They have strongly
defended Trump, who has called Mueller's probe a hoax, and
have said the country wants to move on.
"Today was day we
closed the book on this investigation," said House
Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy after Mueller's hearing.
Georgia Rep. Doug Collins,
the top Republican on the Judiciary panel, said at the
hearing that "we've had the truth for months — no
American conspired to throw our elections."
Said Collins: "What we
need today is to let that truth bring us confidence and