Cicilline Outlines Damning Misconduct of President, Next Steps for Judiciary Committee

Friday, April 19, 2019

WASHINGTON – U.S. Congressman David N. Cicilline (RI-01), a member of the House Judiciary Committee, held a press conference in Pawtucket this morning to discuss Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s findings from his investigation into the Trump administration. Cicilline also outlined what steps the Judiciary Committee and Congress can take following these revelations of substantial misconduct.

 

Speaking from his Congressional office in Pawtucket, Cicilline outlined his reaction to the Mueller Report and then took questions from reporters. His opening statement is embedded below:

 

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David N. Cicilline

Mueller Report

April 19, 2019

 

This is a damning report on the misconduct of the sitting President of the United States and in the Special Counsel’s own words, “does not exonerate the President.”

 

It details unacceptable, unpatriotic, and unethical conduct and a sustained effort by the President to obstruct the Special Counsel’s investigation.

 

The Mueller Report established without doubt that the Russians, in a sophisticated and effective intelligence campaign, attacked our democracy in the 2016 Presidential campaign. 

                

What is even more disturbing in some ways, is that these efforts were embraced and encouraged by candidate, Donald J. Trump.  The report concludes that the Trump team was aware and openly supportive of Russian attempts to interfere in the election because “the campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts.”

 

The Trump campaign benefited from this attack on our democracy and the President has, according to the evidence collected, attempted to impede or interfere with the investigation of these matters. 

 

The report lays out multiple instances where the President tried to obstruct the investigation and states “our investigation found multiple acts by the President that were capable of exerting undue influence over law enforcement investigations, including the Russian-interference and obstruction investigations.”

 

The report explains “[t}he President’s efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful, but that is largely because the persons who surrounded the President declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests.”

 

Specifically the President:

 

  1. Tried to remove the Special Counsel
  2. Tried to improperly force AG Session to unrecuse
  3. Asked Director Comey to let Flynn off the hook
  4. Attempted to curtail the investigation of the Special Counsel
  5. Fired FBI Director Comey over concerns about an investigation into his campaign and the Russia investigation
  6. Ordered Don McGahn to deny the President tried to fire him even though he had
  7. Attempted to conceal details of the June 9th Trump Tower meeting of Trump campaign officials with the Russians who claimed to have dirt on Hillary Clinton, and
  8. Attempted to have K.T. McFarland create a false witness statement

 

The Special Counsel did not reach a traditional charging decision because of the Department of Justice policy that a sitting President could not be indicted.  The report makes clear, however, that “if 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, we are unable to reach that judgment.”

 

The Special Counsel then wrote, in order to be absolutely clear on this point, “Accordingly, while this report does not conclude the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”

 

Congress has a constitutional responsibility to continue its oversight and investigations

 

The Special Counsel’s report paints a disturbing picture of a president who has been weaving a web of deceit, lies, and improper behavior and acting as if the law does not apply to him. 

 

The Report explains “Congress has authority to prohibit a president’s corrupt use of his authority in order to protect the integrity of the administration of justice” which “accords with our constitutional system of checks and balances and the principle that no person is above the law.”

 

Congress must obtain the full contents of this report as soon as possible and Mr. Mueller must testify before Congress.  This is the only way to restore public trust in the handling of the Special Counsel’s investigation.  The American people deserve to hear the truth. 

 

The conduct of the Attorney General has been outrageous.  His misleading 4-page summary of the special counsel’s report and his premature press conference were both clear evidence of his attempt to shape the narrative for the benefit of the President, rather than being forthright with the American people.

 

Attorney General Barr deliberately distorted significant portions of Special Counsel Mueller’s report. 

 

The Attorney General statement yesterday morning that the White House “fully cooperated” with the investigation is not true.  The report makes clear that the President refused to be interviewed by the Special Counsel and provide written answer to follow-up questions.  In addition, according to the report, his associates destroyed evidence relative to the Russia investigation.

 

The President has refused to provide the American people with a full and honest explanation of his actions and he must do so.

 

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