By Rebecca Heilweil
Following Robert Mueller's back-to-back testimonies on Capitol Hill Wednesday, all eyes have turned to the leadership of the House of Representatives, and the question of whether Democrats will move to begin an impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump.
Those efforts have the support of a slew of progessive politicians, including presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, and Rep. Ilhan Omar. Another supporter of impeachment proceedings: former Bush White House's ethics lawyer Richard Painter.
"It's time now to open a formal impeachment inquiry and demand evidence, not just on what's in the Mueller report, but [on] President Trump's other violations of the law and the Constitution [including] his receipt of emoluments of foreign governments, including the Saudi Arabian government," he told Cheddar.
Those looking for a smoking gun from Mueller's testimonies yesterday were left disappointed, as the former special counselor mostly deferred to his report that had been made public in April. He also avoided discussions of impeachment proceedings throughout the two hearings.
"If the Democrats expected him to come in and say something dramatic, or to come there and act like a movie star, that was foolish. We all knew Robert Mueller was going to be a professional prosecutor," Painter said.
But Painter had tough words for both parties.
He warned that aggressive questioning from Republicans could deter others from entering public service. "It certainly doesn't help to see Robert Mueller treated the way he was yesterday," said Painter.
On the other hand, he said, "The Democrats expect him to carry their water because they're too timid to impeach Donald Trump, or to even open an impeachment inquiry."
"The Russians interfered in an American election, and we need to deal with this now," Painter said. "We also need to pass legislation that will prevent future election meddling."
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has maintained that she will not support impeachment, despite pressure from some of her own colleagues.
Politico reported that she told Rep. Jerry Nadler yesterday that drawing articles of impeachment was still premature.