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Democrats move forward Trump's probe schedule risking 2020 campaign clash

REUTERS/Mary F. Calvert

A day after former U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s high-profile testimony, House Democrats vowed to push forward with an investigation of President Donald Trump that could delay any move on impeachment into the 2020 election campaign season.

The House of Representatives Judiciary Committee is expected to move its obstruction investigation of the president trump into federal court this week with a lawsuit to compel former White House Counsel Don McGahn to testify and a separate legal request for access to the Mueller probe’s grand jury evidence.

“We need to hear from a few more witnesses who are key characters in the Mueller report,” Democratic Representative Jamie Raskin said of the investigation by the Judiciary Committee, which has jurisdiction over impeachment.

But as Democratic members of the committee contemplate court action now and fresh hearings later in the year, the clock for any move toward impeachment appeared to be ticking down.

Mueller’s report on his 22-month investigation, released in mid-April, found insufficient evidence to allege that the Trump campaign conspired with Moscow in its effort to help Trump get elected in 2016, although campaign officials met with Russians.

The report provided no view on whether Trump tried to obstruct Mueller’s inquiry. Both issues dominated the Wednesday hearings, in which Mueller emphasized he had not exonerated Trump of obstruction of justice, as the president said, but sometimes struggled to keep up with lawmakers’ questions and gave occasionally halting answers.

Lawmakers are due to leave Washington on Friday for a six-week break. Legal action could tie Democrats up in court for months, during which time Congress and the public are expected to pivot to the 2020 election campaign.

26th July 2019

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