Former special counsel Robert Mueller got through more than three hours of questioning at a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday without once mentioning the word on the minds of everyone in the room: impeachment.
Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, who supports an impeachment inquiry into President Trump, attempted several times to push Mueller to discuss impeachment. Mueller skirted the subject, refusing to explain the wording of his report on Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
Escobar cited Mueller’s remarks at a May press conference, where he said a process other than the criminal justice system was needed to accuse a sitting president of a crime. “Is that impeachment?” she asked Mueller.
“I’m not going to comment on that,” he said.
Escobar asked Mueller to explain “for the nonlawyers” what his report meant when it states that the special counsel’s office wanted to avoid “potentially preempt[ing] constitutional processes for addressing presidential misconduct.” Mueller declined to explain what those processes were, then said he heard Escobar mention “at least one.”
“Impeachment, correct?” Escobar asked. “I’m not going to comment,” Mueller replied.
Mueller decided not to make a decision on charging Trump with obstruction of justice for his attempts to interfere in the investigation. He cited a Department of Justice policy that states a sitting president cannot be charged with a crime.
Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., asked Mueller earlier in the hearing if his report didn’t conclude that impeachment would be appropriate. Mueller refused to answer, saying, “I’m not going to talk about that issue.”
Mueller did not say “impeachment” once during the hearing, which stretched to more than three hours.