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Rep. Jamie Raskin Reacts To Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Remarks


Now let's bring in Congressman Jamie Raskin. He's a Democrat from Maryland who serves on the House Judiciary Committee. Welcome to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED.

JAMIE RASKIN: I'm delighted to be with you, Ari.

SHAPIRO: I'd like to start by playing part of what Robert Mueller said during his remarks this morning.


ROBERT MUELLER: Any testimony from this office would not go beyond our report. It contains our findings and analysis and the reasons for the decisions we made. We chose those words carefully, and the work speaks for itself. And the report is my testimony.

SHAPIRO: So he says the work speaks for itself; the report is my testimony. Are you satisfied with that testimony, or do you feel you need to hear more from Mueller?

RASKIN: Well, look; I think pretty much any prosecutor in his position would be saying the same thing. They delivered us overwhelming evidence of presidential obstruction of justice. Eleven different episodes were recited in volume two of their report. Unfortunately, his boss, Attorney General Barr, intercepted the report and then misstated and distorted the meaning and the contents of the report.

So today he finally was able to dispel the fog of propaganda that Attorney General Barr had spread over the country about it. And he said what you need to know is in there. All of the factual findings and his conclusions are built into the report. If we could just get it in an unfiltered and unredacted way, we basically have what we need.

SHAPIRO: So are you saying that while a subpoena is not off the table, the ball is now in Congress's court?

RASKIN: Well, it's definitely not off the table. I don't know that a subpoena would even need to be required in his case. I mean, he's someone who obviously respects the rule of law. I think what he's saying is the country has been confused because of the various deceptive efforts of Attorney General Barr and President Trump to mislead the public.

I mean, the mantra of no obstruction, no collusion is completely deceptive as to what's really in the report. There's massive evidence of obstruction and dozens and dozens of episodes of interaction between the Trump campaign and various Russian forces. But there was not sufficient evidence of a criminal conspiracy there, and everybody accepts that.

SHAPIRO: OK, so let's listen to something else that Mueller said this morning then.


MUELLER: The Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing.

SHAPIRO: So if in your view this report contains overwhelming evidence of presidential obstruction of justice and the Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system, what is the role of Congress now?

RASKIN: Well, Congress clearly has the role, which it has been fulfilling, to investigate as best as it can the different points of criminality and lawlessness that surfaced in that report and that we have evidence of from other sources as well. I have come out in favor of launching the impeachment inquiry. And I think that there's been great movement over the last couple of weeks in Congress about this precisely because we've distinguished between an impeachment inquiry, which is an investigation into whether there are high crimes and misdemeanors warranting congressional action, and impeachment articles, which is the final culmination of the process where you basically get an indictment that the House would vote on. And if it voted to do it, it would send that indictment - that impeachment indictment - over to the Senate, and the Senate would conduct a trial.

SHAPIRO: The report goes into much more than obstruction. And from Mueller's statement this morning, it seems clear that he believes one of the most important things in the report is the fact that Russia made multiple concerted efforts to interfere with an American election and will do so again. Do you think Congress is focusing enough on that threat?

RASKIN: Well, Congress is very focused on it, at least the House of Representatives. We've had multiple hearings about this. We passed our H.R.1, which is an attempt to get foreign money out of our elections, to strengthen voting rights, to stop voter purges, to stop voter suppression. We've had hearings on how to try to protect ourselves or inoculate ourselves against a social media invasion by an aggressive foreign power that wants to pump poison propaganda into our system.

Now, the president and the executive branch continue to waver between just ignoring it and then denying it. I mean, the president has called this a hoax and a Democratic setup, a witch hunt and all that kind of stuff. Nowhere do you get what you would expect from a president of the United States, which is a statement that a special counsel just found that there was a sweeping and systematic effort to destabilize our elections and to change the outcomes of our elections, to change the course of our campaign process by a foreign power. And we've got to do everything in our power to prevent it from happening again. It's like he's leaving the doors unlocked and the windows open for the next election.

SHAPIRO: Congressman Jamie Raskin, Democrat of Maryland, sits on the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees. Thank you for joining us today.

RASKIN: Thank you for having me. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.