WASHINGTON, D.C.—People For the American Way Executive Vice President Marge Baker released the following statement ahead of Robert Mueller’s appearance at congressional hearings this week:
“Donald Trump has violated the law, betrayed the Constitution, and broken faith with the American people. The full scope of his corruption and criminality should be the continued focus of congressional investigations, but this week, we have the opportunity to shine a light on a key piece of Trump’s illicit behavior: his collusion with Russia during the 2016 presidential elections and his obstruction of justice as Robert Mueller and his team sought to investigate Russian election interference.
“Trump believes there is nothing wrong with colluding with a foreign power like Russia. That’s not just a matter of his tweets or other public statements—Mueller’s investigation found more than 270 secret contacts between Trump’s team and Russian-linked operatives. Reasonable people have a word for that: collusion. And patriotic Americans understand the grave danger posed by presidential candidates welcoming interference into our elections by oligarchs and authoritarian governments.
“Mueller’s investigation found several instances of obstruction of justice. Trump tried to fire Mueller when he learned he was being investigated for obstruction of justice. Trump tried to limit the special counsel investigation to exclude acts by him or his campaign. Trump ordered the White House counsel to cover up his attempts to fire Mueller, including by falsifying documents. Trump discouraged witnesses from cooperating with the special counsel investigation, including Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort, through methods that included dangling pardons. If Trump were not president, he would almost certainly be facing indictment for these acts.
“Despite Trump’s and Attorney General William Barr’s best efforts to obscure these facts, the report makes them clear, and Mueller’s testimony will bring them to life. We should fully expect Republicans to pettifog, dissemble, and distort throughout these hearings. Pundits will talk about the hearings as if it’s just a political horse race. But no one should permit the Republicans and their enablers to cloud the real issue: Trump is a corrupt politician without precedent, and his campaign and his administration committed serious legal and ethical violations. No one is above the law, and Congress must hold him accountable.”
People For the American Way is a progressive advocacy organization founded to fight right-wing extremism and defend constitutional values including free expression, religious liberty, equal justice under the law, and the right to meaningfully participate in our democracy.