Democrats turn focus to evidence collected in Mueller obstruction probe

Democrats focus on evidence collected in Mueller probe

Washington — A summary of the long-awaited Mueller report found no evidence of collusion with Russia. But Democrats vowed to press on with their own investigations. They agree the full report needs to be released publicly, and both Robert Mueller and Attorney General Barr should testify publicly under oath before Congress.

They want to know exactly what evidence Mueller had that "did not exonerate" the president on the question of obstructing justice, as Mueller wrote.

"Just because these actions did not rise to the very high bar of beyond a reasonable doubt of obstruction of justice does not mean that everything is hunky dory. In fact, Mueller said this does not exonerate the president," said Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii.

Virginia Rep. Gerry Connolly said there was good reason for Democrats to continue the multiple ongoing congressional investigations into the president.

"I think there's lots of legal peril still out there and I think it's a very rich environment for further investigation and scrutiny," Connolly said.

But Democrats also know impeachment is now likely off the table and they need to proceed carefully or risk being seen as overreaching by voters in 2020.

At the start of the year, more than half of Democrats were already calling for their party to keep focused on their own agenda, instead of investigating the president.

Republicans said Mueller's conclusions were proof it was time for Democrats to move on.

"I sincerely hope that now at last our friends on the left will be able to put aside their fixation on permanently re-litigating their loss in 2016," said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, who played a central role in the Clinton impeachment saga, reminded Democrats that his party later faced backlash for its focus on former President Bill Clinton.

"Learn from our mistakes," he said.