Hakeem Jeffries says Trump could be illegitimate, a Russian asset or "useful idiot"

Jeffries: Trump could be Russian asset or "useful idiot"

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, the fourth-highest ranking Democrat in the House, said special counsel Robert Mueller's report should be made public so Americans can find out whether President Trump is a legitimate leader, an asset of the Russian government, a kingpin or a "useful idiot."

"Let's take the first step in terms of the full disclosure of the report and the underlying documentation," Jeffries said on "Face the Nation" Sunday. "The American people deserve to know whether Donald Trump is either: A, a legitimate president; B, a Russian asset; C, the functional equivalent of an organized crime boss or; D, just a useful idiot who happens to have been victimized by the greatest collection of coincidences in the history of the republic."

Concluding a far-reaching investigation that ran for almost two years, Mueller submitted his final report to Attorney General William Barr on Friday, triggering a new effort by Democrats to ensure the probe's findings are made available to all members of Congress and eventually, the American public. Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein spent Saturday and Sunday reviewing the report and preparing to brief top lawmakers in Washington.

Jeffries, considered a rising star in the Democratic caucus, said his party wants the Justice Department to release as much of the report as possible. "We don't want to see simply crib notes," he said. "We don't want to see an outline. We don't want to see an executive summary. We need to see everything so that the American people can draw conclusions on their own."

Asked if House Democrats will seek to launch impeachment proceedings against the president regardless of Mueller's conclusions, Jeffries said Democrats didn't run on impeachment in 2018 when they took control of the House after nearly a decade in the minority.

He said Democrats will focus on their legislative agenda on health care, voting rights and infrastructure — and only initiate impeachment proceedings if the case against Mr. Trump is "compelling."

"We are not going to proceed unless the case is compelling, the evidence is overwhelming, and most importantly public sentiment around impeachment is bipartisan," Jeffries added.