Watch CBS News

Mueller says he won't speak beyond his report — what will Congress do now?

Nadler: "Trump is lying" about Mueller report
House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler reacts to Mueller statement, says "President Trump is lying" 05:09

Outgoing special counsel Robert Mueller made it clear in his surprise announcement Wednesday that he does not intend to speak about his investigation beyond what was said in his , a disappointment to Democrats in Congress who have called on him to testify. 

"The report is my testimony," Mueller said in a statement at the Justice Department. "I would not provide information beyond that which is already public in any appearance before Congress."

What remains to be seen, however, is how Congress will react to news that Mueller doesn't want to testify — and whether lawmakers will subpoena Mueller to appear anyway. Mueller had been invited to testify before both the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, but had not agreed to appear publicly. Mueller's announcement will come as a relief to Republicans, many of whom insisted there was no need for Mueller to testify. But the path forward for Democrats, who had insisted Mueller must testify, remains unclear, and many Democrats' statements suggested no specific steps forward from here. 

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler did not commit to pursuing impeachment. 

"With respect to impeachment, all options are on the table and nothing should be ruled out," Nadler said.

Mueller says his Russia report did not exonerate Trump 02:55

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer went further than other Democrats in leadership Wednesday, saying Mueller must testify. But he did not say how.

"After his press conference this morning, I believe that special counsel Mueller needs to testify before Congress, and I continue to call on Attorney General Barr to release the full, unredacted report to Congress," Hoyer said in a statement. 

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said at an event in Suffolk County, New York, Wednesday that the "report is a wakeup call. We must get right on the horse." 

Chuck Schumer says U.S. needs to get "Johnny on the pony" to stop Russian interference in elections 01:44

Senate Intelligence Vice Chairman Mark Warner told CBS News correspondent Nancy Cordes that, "for the sake of the American people" Mueller should testify "in whatever setting is appropriate." But with Democrats in the minority in the Senate, he cannot compel Mueller to testify. 

More Democrats running for president called for impeachment, including Sen. Cory Booker, a New Jersey Democrat who had yet to cross that line. 

"Robert Mueller's statement makes it clear: Congress has a legal and moral obligation to begin impeachment proceedings immediately," he tweeted.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has resisted calls to initiate impeachment proceedings, said Congress "Congress holds sacred its constitutional responsibility to investigate and hold the President accountable for his abuse of power."

"The Congress will continue to investigate and legislate to protect our elections and secure our democracy," she said in a statement. "The American people must have the truth."

One thing looks certain — if there is a subpoena, it won't come from Sen. Lindsey Graham's Senate Judiciary Committee. Graham, who has already suggested he's heard enough from Mueller, reiterated that sentiment on Wednesday. 

"Today's statement by Mr. Mueller reinforces the findings of his report," Graham tweeted. "And as for me, the case is over. Mr. Mueller has decided to move on and let the report speak for itself. Congress should follow his lead."

Mueller alluded to the impeachment process in his statement Wednesday morning while explaining why his office declined to make a determination as to whether Mr. Trump obstructed justice. Citing a Justice Department opinion that a president cannot be indicted while in office, Mueller said "the Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing."

Despite that, Mr. Trump, his White House, and his campaign took Mueller's statement as an exoneration. 

"Nothing changes from the Mueller Report," the president tweeted. "There was insufficient evidence and therefore, in our Country, a person is innocent. The case is closed! Thank you."

Republican Rep. Justin Amash, the only Republican to say Mr. Trump committed impeachable offenses, said Mueller's comments made it clear that it is Congress' responsibility to act. Amash has escalated his rhetoric against the president and his administration in recent weeks. 

"The ball is in our court, Congress," Amash tweeted. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.