WASHINGTON • US Congressional Democrats yesterday demanded to see all of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's evidence from his inquiry into Russian interference in the 2016 election, as they consider how to use the probe's findings against President Donald Trump.
Mr Trump yesterday dismissed unfavourable testimony in the report as "fabricated" by his political foes. "Statements are made about me by certain people in the Crazy Mueller Report, in itself written by 18 Angry Democrat Trump Haters, which are fabricated & totally untrue," he tweeted.
The day before, he had proclaimed "Game Over" for his critics following the long-awaited publication of the Mueller report, which cleared him of colluding with Russia. "FOR THE HATERS AND RADICAL LEFT DEMOCRATS - GAME OVER," said the billionaire former showman in a message on Twitter that, not for the first time, imitated the iconography of acclaimed fantasy series Game Of Thrones.
Not so fast, replied prominent Democrats, as they vowed to continue investigating the Republican President over what they said was "dishonest" and "immoral" conduct revealed by the two-year-long Russia probe. US House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerrold Nadler issued a subpoena yesterday to obtain the full investigation report by Mr Mueller, saying he cannot accept a redacted version that "leaves most of Congress in the dark".
"My committee needs and is entitled to the full version of the report and the underlying evidence, consistent with past practice. The redactions appear to be significant. We have so far seen none of the actual evidence that the Special Counsel developed to make this case," Mr Nadler said in a statement.
The Democrats' subpoena gives US Attorney-General William Barr until May 1 to produce the materials requested.
After a 22-month probe on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, Mr Mueller concluded that Mr Trump's team did not conspire with Moscow.
But while Mr Trump has declared victory and cast himself as fully exonerated, the report made it clear that investigators did not share that conclusion when it comes to the charge of obstruction of justice.
It is a finding that Democrats have seized on. "Donald Trump has spent his entire presidency engaged in a non-stop campaign of obstruction, intimidation, and abuse of power," said Democratic Party chairman Tom Perez. "No one is above the law."
Senator Bernie Sanders, the front runner for the Democratic nomination for president, was equally adamant on the need for more investigation. "It is clear that Donald Trump wanted nothing more than to shut down the Mueller investigation," he said. "While we have more detail from today's report than before, Congress must continue its investigation into Trump's conduct and any foreign attempts to influence our election."
With their newly acquired majority in the House of Representatives, Democrats now have the power to launch investigations, summon witnesses and subpoena documents.
As part of these investigations, they have called on Mr Mueller to testify before the House of Representatives by May 23.
Mr Barr, who has come under heavy fire from Democrats for how he managed the publication of the report, will face Congress on May 2.
After the report's release, some lawmakers from the Democratic Party's left wing have once again waved the threat of impeachment. But the party's leaders have once again clearly dismissed this option.
Even if the House of Representatives were to embark on such a path, it would likely be doomed to fail in the Republican-controlled Senate, where a two-thirds majority is required to remove a sitting president.
Eighteen months out from presidential and congressional elections, the opposition must be careful in how it navigates the choppy waters of the Russia investigation.
The probe has spanned more than half of Mr Trump's presidency without affecting his base. He enjoys a 90 per cent approval rating among Republicans.
On the other side of the aisle, some 20 Democrats are vying for their party's nomination. These candidates exercised caution in reacting to the report, posting one or two tweets before pivoting to the core issues of their campaigns and the subjects that are priorities for voters: health insurance, rising inequality, education and student debt.
It was a formula that paid dividends in the midterm elections last year, when they retook the House after eight years of Republican rule.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS