House Democrats on Tuesday will launch an aggressive communications campaign to highlight Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerThis week: Mueller dominates chaotic week on Capitol Hill Top Republican considered Mueller subpoena to box in Democrats Kamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have ‘no choice’ but to prosecute Trump for obstruction MORE‘s sweeping investigation into Russian election interference just ahead of the former special counsel’s appearance before Congress for a pair of hotly anticipated hearings.
The office of Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi, Mnuchin reach ‘near-final agreement’ on budget, debt ceiling Wendy Davis launches bid for Congress in Texas Steyer calls on Pelosi to cancel ‘six-week vacation’ for Congress MORE (D-Calif.) has crunched Mueller’s 448-page report into a six-page document featuring the former FBI director’s most damning findings, which will be distributed Tuesday to Democratic lawmakers to guide their outreach to voters as all eyes in Washington turn to Mueller’s testimony.
Dubbed “Exposing the Truth,” the six-page memo was coordinated between Pelosi’s office and the two House committees where Mueller will appear on Wednesday: Judiciary, chaired by Rep. Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerWhy are we permitting federal child abuse at our border? Trump knocks Mueller after deal struck for him to testify House Democrats request briefing on Epstein, Acosta MORE (D-N.Y.), and Intelligence, led by Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffSchiff: US ‘not ready’ to battle foreign election interference in 2020 This week: Mueller dominates chaotic week on Capitol Hill Election security to take back seat at Mueller hearing MORE (D-Calif.).
From a messaging standpoint, the operation, along with an accompanying social media campaign, is designed to put a public spotlight on both the vulnerabilities in America’s election system and President TrumpDonald John TrumpChelsea Clinton announces birth of third child Ukrainian officials and Giuliani are sharing back-channel campaign information: report Trump attacks ‘the Squad’ as ‘racist group of troublemakers’ MORE‘s conduct before and after winning the White House, as noted by Mueller’s findings. As a political tool, it’s meant to pressure Republicans to consider the election, ethics and national security reforms Democrats have pushed heading into the polls next year.
“We’re at this incredible moment in time where we could either move forward as a unified nation in a very patriotic way to address these issues and these vulnerabilities, or our Republican colleagues will force us to turn the page … on one of the greatest threats facing our nation right now,” said a Democratic leadership aide.
“We’re hoping this will heighten the sense of urgency for a whole-of-government response to protect our democracy going forward.”
The document, obtained Monday by The Hill, features biting excerpts from Mueller’s report as well as subsequent remarks from the former special counsel, including his explicit refusal to exonerate Trump from crimes of obstruction.
It points out that Mueller found clear evidence that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election for the purpose of tipping the outcome toward Trump, that members of Trump’s campaign were eager to accept the foreign help and that Mueller’s team found at least 10 episodes when Trump or his allies potentially obstructed the investigation.
For rank-and-file lawmakers, it’s meant to serve as a sort of CliffsNotes version of Mueller’s mammoth report as they discuss with voters the implications of his testimony.
“Members will go home and have to engage their constituencies on what’s next — how do we hold this president accountable?” the leadership aide said. “So we put it all at their fingertips.”
Separately, Pelosi’s office is launching a social media blitz — #RetweetTheReport — featuring more than 20 of the more striking quotes from Mueller’s findings.
Democrats are hoping the campaign, combined with Mueller’s testimony, will shift public sentiment in favor of efforts to hold Trump accountable and bolster election security — and force GOP leaders to act on them.
“We hope that these hearings can perhaps turn up the temperature on our Republican colleagues who have been missing in action,” said a second Democratic aide.
The Democrats have their work cut out.
Although they’ve passed a series of election reform bills through the House this year — including legislation for stricter oversight of election vendors, mandated paper ballot systems and post-election vote audit requirements — Republican leaders in the GOP-controlled Senate have refused to take them up. And House Republicans, siding with Trump, are showing no signs they intend to be swayed by Mueller’s testimony on Wednesday.
“We’re wanting to show this for what it is, and that is the final episode of the Mueller report and a final episode to hopefully put this behind [us],” Rep. Doug CollinsDouglas (Doug) Allen Collins3,100 to be released from prison under criminal justice reform law House unravels with rise of ‘Les Enfants Terrible’ Trump praises GOP unity in opposing resolution condemning tweets MORE (Ga.), the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, told Fox News on Sunday.
Trump, for years, has characterized the investigation as a “witch hunt.” And he jumped into the debate again on Monday with a blistering new attack on Mueller, his investigation and the Democrats who pressed the reluctant special counsel to testify.
“The attorney general, based on the report, was easily able to find there was no obstruction, there’s no nothing,” Trump said from the Oval Office, referring to William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrUkrainian officials and Giuliani are sharing back-channel campaign information: report Will Democrats be up to the task of publicly interviewing Mueller? A question for Robert Mueller MORE. “They’re wasting their time.”
The aggressiveness of the Democrats’ messaging campaign heading into Wednesday’s hearings suggests a certain level of frustration among party leaders that Mueller’s report, released in April, had virtually no tangible effect on Trump’s Republican allies in terms of their approach to election security or executive accountability.
Indeed, the one Republican to condemn the president based on Mueller’s findings, Rep. Justin AmashJustin AmashRep. Haaland says Trump’s go-back remarks ‘perplexing and wrongheaded’ to Native Americans Pence says Trump ‘might’ speak out if rally crowd chants ‘send her back’ again Schiff: Trump ‘has decided racism is good politics’ MORE (Mich.), quickly became a pariah within the GOP and now faces a tough primary challenge. Amash quit the party earlier this month and is now the only Independent in the House.
For Democratic leaders, Mueller’s pubic appearance this week may be their best remaining chance to sway public opinion behind their favored election reforms. They’re fighting to maximize the opportunity.
“We feel there is a great sense of obligation to educate the American people on this thing, wherever they are,” said the leadership aide. “And I think you might see, after Mueller, potentially some more Amashes come out. Maybe not for impeachment, but definitely not being able to walk away from the facts.”
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