House Democrats to Hold Hearings on Mueller Report Featuring Former Nixon White House Counsel John Dean

A key House panel will hold a series of hearings beginning next week on the revelations laid out in the Mueller report, along with testimony from key legal experts, including a former prominent White House lawyer from the Richard Nixon era.

The announcement on Monday by the House Judiciary Committee, which holds the power to begin impeachment proceedings, came as Congress will return later that evening from a weeklong recess and House Democrats will resume its interparty debate on whether to move forward with opening an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.

Witnesses will include the likes of former White House counsel John Dean, who worked for President Richard Nixon during the crux of the Watergate scandal that later led to impeachment proceedings, and other unnamed "former U.S. Attorneys and legal experts," according to the Judiciary Committee. Amid Watergate, Dean testified at congressional hearings and pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice charges.

"These hearings will allow us to examine the findings laid out in Mueller's report so that we can work to protect the rule of law and protect future elections through consideration of legislative and other remedies," Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat, said in a statement. "Given the threat posed by the President's alleged misconduct, our first hearing will focus on President Trump's most overt acts of obstruction."

Democrats to hold series of Mueller hearings
Committee Chairman of U.S. House Judiciary Committee Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) speaks to members of the press on May 29 in New York City. Getty/Stephanie Keith

Mueller's 448-page report, published at the end of his 22-month-long investigation, laid out 11 instances of potential obstruction of justice, including attempts by Trump to hinder or thwart the probe by having Mueller removed as special counsel. The report also concluded that while the Trump campaign "expected it would benefit" from Russian election interference, members of it were not found to have "conspired or coordinated with the Russian government."

The public hearings, the first of which will be June 10, will play a crucial role in Democrats' ability to highlight portions of the Mueller report that they believe amount to wrongdoing by Trump. Some Democrats will likely use the opportunity to make their case to the American people why the House should open an impeachment inquiry into the president, a move that a growing number of party members have called for since the Mueller report's release.

Several Judiciary Committee Democrats viewed Mueller's public remarks last week, the first of their kind, as a call for Congress to proceed with an impeachment inquiry. The former special counsel stated, after reiterating he could neither indict a sitting president nor exonerate Trump of all criminal wrongdoing, that "the Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing."

"Russia attacked our elections to help President Trump win, Trump and his campaign welcomed this help and the President then tried to obstruct the investigation into the attack," Nadler said. "Mueller confirmed these revelations and has now left Congress to pick up where he left off."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, along with other Democratic leaders in the chamber, have continued to downplay impeachment talk, even amid the White House's stonewalling of House Democrats' demands for documents and witness testimonies. Speaking at a Commonwealth Club event shortly after Mueller broke his silence, the California Democrat cautioned her party.

"You don't bring an indictment, or you don't bring an impeachment, unless you have all of the facts, the strongest possible case, so that the president is held accountable one way or another," she said last week.

But patience could be running thin, as one member of leadership—on top of rank-and-file Democrats—has now suggested impeachment proceedings could be inevitable.

Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, a South Carolina Democrat, told CNN over the weekend he believed that at some point in the future, impeachment proceedings will be initiated against the president.