The billionaire leading the charge to impeach Trump is calling on Democrats to get the ball rolling after the Mueller report

  • Tom Steyer is ramping up his calls for President Donald Trump to be impeached following the release of a redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report.
  • Mueller “really gave a charge to Congress to do their duty,” Steyer said in a phone interview with INSIDER on Thursday.
  • Steyer, a former hedge-fund manager turned philanthropist and political activist, was among the public figures linked to the Democratic Party who received suspicious packages in October 2018.

A billionaire who’s been leading a campaign for President Donald Trump’s impeachment is urging Congress to move forward with proceedings and hold the president “accountable” following the release of a redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian election interference.

Tom Steyer, who’s among the top five Democratic donors in the country, on Thursday told INSIDER, “If you read the Mueller report, he very specifically says that it is up to the Congress of the US, it is their responsibility to hold this president accountable under the Constitution. They are the only people who can do it.”

Steyer said that he’s been calling for “publicized hearings under the aegis of impeachment to hold this president accountable” for roughly a year and “the only place that can hold this president accountable” is Congress.

“I agree with Robert Mueller that it is their sworn responsibility to do that job,” Steyer added.

Read more: Read the full report from special counsel Robert Mueller

“If you listen to what Mr. Mueller says, he says very clearly, ‘The responsibility lies with Congress to hold Donald Trump accountable. Here is the evidence you need, it’s laid out for you. I can’t do it, as a special prosecutor, but I’m giving you all the information you need,'” Steyer said.

House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler made similar remarks to reporters on Thursday afternoon, stating, “The special counsel made clear that he did not exonerate the president and the responsibility now falls to Congress to hold the president accountable for his actions.”

Nadler said impeachment is “one possibility” and he believes what was written in Mueller’s report provides a “roadmap,” while also signalling it’s “too early to reach those conclusions.”

Mueller’s report did not explicitly call on Congress to move forward with impeachment proceedings, but in explaining why the special counsel’s office did not make a judgment on whether the president committed obstruction of justice outlined the legislature’s authority to check the executive on such matters.

“With respect to whether the President can be found to have obstructed justice by exercising his powers under Article II of the Constitution, we concluded that Congress has authority to prohibit a President’s corrupt use of his authority in order to protect the integrity of the administration of justice,” the report states.

The report noted it’s against Justice Department policy to indict a sitting president and made it clear that the special counsel’s office did not fully exonerate Trump. In short, Mueller signalled to Congress that the ball is in their court and it’s up to lawmakers to come to a decision on whether Trump obstructed justice.

Some top Democrats have expressed scepticism on the subject of impeachment, however.

Last month, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Trump is not “worth it” and portrayed impeachment as a risky gamble for Democrats.

“Impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path, because it divides the country,” Pelosi added.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer echoed Pelosi on this subject after the release of the redacted report on Thursday.

“Based on what we have seen to date, going forward on impeachment is not worthwhile at this point. Very frankly, there is an election in 18 months, and the American people will make a judgement,” Hoyer told CNN on Thursday.

When asked whether Hoyer and Pelosi have valid concerns about the implications of impeachment, Steyer told INSIDER it depends on the “context” in which you ask the question.

“Are we going to uphold the Constitution of the US? Are we going to protect the American people? Are we going to set a precedent that the president cannot put himself above the law and cannot put his interests ahead of the interests of the American people? Under those circumstances I think Congress’s duty is clear,” Steyer said.

“If you say to me, ‘No, Tom, that’s not the context. The context is a short-term political, tactical context.’ I would say actually, the Constitution is clear on this – Robert Mueller reiterated it in his report,” Steyer added. “It is up to the Congress of the US to uphold the Constitution, protect the American people, and hold the president accountable.”

Mueller “really gave a charge to Congress to do their duty,” Steyer said.

Expressing sentiments similar to many top Democrats in Congress, Steyer also slammed how Barr has handled the process surrounding the release of the report.

“The attorney general very unfortunately…interposed himself between the special prosecutor, the Congress, and the American people,” Steyer said. “His representations of what was in the report and what the implications of the report were very misleading, intentionally so.”

“[Barr] acted like the lawyer for the president instead of the lawyer for the American people,” Steyer said, describing Thursday’s events as a “sad day for America.”

Steyer, a former hedge-fund manager turned philanthropist and political activist, was among the public figures linked to the Democratic Party who received a suspicious package in October 2018. His push for impeachment has at times made him a target of Trump’s ire and mockery.

In January, amid rumours he might run for president, Steyer said he would not run and instead focus on his “Need to Impeach” campaign.

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