Rachel Maddow said on Wednesday that Robert Mueller’s public remarks leave Congress no choice but to use their authority to hold Donald Trump accountable for the wrongdoing laid out in the final special counsel report.
For weeks, lawmakers have been reluctant to move forward with an impeachment inquiry, fearing a political backlash, but Mueller’s comments on Wednesday clearly indicate that the ball is firmly in Congress’ court.
“[Mueller] has made clear, in no uncertain terms, that the next move is not going to come from him,” Maddow said. “It’s going to have to come from Congress.”
Maddow explained how Mueller’s statement could be a game-changer:
So now the Congress really is in a different place than they were before 11:00 a.m. eastern time this morning. Because Mueller has now, for the first time in more than two years, he has been allowed to speak on his own terms. And he has made clear, in no uncertain terms, that the next move is not going to come from him. It’s going to have to come from Congress.
Mueller leaves Congress very little wiggle room
For the last two years, members of Congress have publicly stated that they would wait on Mueller before reaching a decision on whether to move forward with a formal impeachment inquiry.
Even after the release of Mueller’s redacted report, many lawmakers said they would wait until the unredacted version was released, along with the underlying evidence.
Other members of Congress suggested they would wait until Mueller himself could provide more clarity by testifying before on Capitol Hill.
But in his public statement on Wednesday, Mueller made it very clear: Not only does he not want to testify before Congress, but if he does, he plans to go no further than his written report did.
He also made it abundantly clear that he believes his work is done, and that now it’s up to Congress to take the baton and hold the president accountable for any wrongdoing he turned up during his two-year probe.
In other words, relying on Robert Mueller as a safety net or a crutch no longer appears to be a viable choice for Congress. If they want Trump to face the consequences of his criminal conduct, they must lead the charge.