June 26, 2019


WASHINGTON - In case you missed it last night, the Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) appeared on MSNBC’s The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell for a conversation about former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s upcoming testimonies to Congress.

LAWRENCE O’DONNELL: Chairman Schiff told Rachel Maddow in the last hour that this is not to be considered a friendly subpoena, that this subpoena then is something that Robert Mueller did not want to have to comply with, but apparently has agreed to comply with it. Is that your understanding of it?

CHAIRMAN JEFFRIES: That's my understanding. At the end of the day Bob Mueller is a company man. He had expressed publicly his reluctance to testify and indicated when he gave his remarks a few weeks ago that that was the last time the American people would likely hear from him. We as House Democrats led by Chairman Nadler and Chairman Schiff have made it clear that we believe that the issues connected to the Mueller report were so serious that it was important for the Special Counsel to tell his story publicly to the American people. We were determined to bring that about. Thanks to the leadership of our two chairmen united behind the House Democratic Caucus and our objectives, we'll be able to bring that about on July 17.

O’DONNELL: Do you expect there to be a kind of working agreement between the two chairmen about what the two hearings will cover? For example, will you tend to leave Volume I of the report to the Intelligence Committee and have the Judiciary Committee concentrate on Volume II where the accusations of obstruction of justice are?

JEFFRIES: That is a logical breakdown. The Intelligence Committee's jurisdiction relates most naturally to Russia's attack on our democracy and Bob Mueller's conclusion that the Trump campaign welcomed that assistance, which is highly problematic and it's important that that story and narrative be told. The House Judiciary Committee's jurisdiction of course relates most directly to the obstruction of justice that was detailed in Volume II, the abuse of power, as well as the culture of corruption that many of us believe exists at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. From the very beginning we've said we're going to follow the facts, apply the law and be guided by the Constitution and the principle that in the United States of America, no single individual is above the law, not even the president of the United States of America. Bob Mueller's testimony will be an important part of us continuing that journey. 

O’DONNELL: I want to play you something that Robert Mueller said on that day that he hoped would be his last public comments where he's talking about how it was important for them to obtain full and accurate information. Let's listen to that. 

[PLAYBACK OF ROBERT MUELLER]: It was critical for us to obtain full and accurate information from every person we questioned. When a subject of an investigation obstructs that investigation or lies to investigators, it strikes at the core of their government's effort to find the truth and hold wrongdoers accountable. 

O’DONNELL: Congressman, that strikes me as one of the areas for a possible question especially in the Judiciary Committee. He didn't say "if" a subject of an investigation obstructs that investigation. He said "when" a subject of an investigation obstructs that investigation. He seems to be saying that that actually happened and that it, as he put it, struck the core of the government's effort to find the truth. Is that the kind of area you'll be looking at in the House Judiciary Committee? 

JEFFRIES: I expect that the question will be put to Bob Mueller directly. Do you believe that the president of the United States obstructed justice? He has detailed in his report and Volume II in at least 11 different instances. We know that there are over 1000 prosecutors, Republicans and Democrats, who have concluded that had any other individual other than the president committed some of the acts that are discussed in the Mueller report, they would expect that individual to be indicted. I think that’s also a line of inquiry that will be pursued as it relates to Bob Mueller. We just simply want the facts to be disclosed and communicated to the American people so they can process what has taken place over the last two years and in connection with the Trump campaign in 2016. 

O’DONNELL: Congressman Jeffries, this is going to be on July 17. His testimony to two committees on the same day. Do you expect July 18 to be a whole new day in the Congress on the question of impeachment? 

JEFFRIES: It may be a whole new day in the country depending on what emerges, but it is an important step in this journey where we are simply trying to gather all the information and present the full and complete story to the American people wherever that may lead us.