Given that most people have not read the 400-plus page Mueller Report (just 3% polled by CNN said they had read the whole thing), this is a true public service being delivered by Elizabeth Warren. By reading unredacted portions of the Mueller Report on the floor of the Senate, Senator Warren is fossilizing the special counsel’s words into the public record in an easily digestable, 41-minute podcast-esque missive on the president of the United States’ impeachable offenses.
I read the Mueller Report. Most of it, at least. The day it was published was a wild sprint across all of media to get something factual and worthwhile up as soon as reasonably possible. I read the “collusion” section in detail, but skipped most of the obstruction section once it became obvious that the episodes cited by special counsel Robert Mueller were all what had been publicly reported by outlets like the New York Times and Washington Post (Mueller cited reporting quite a bit in that section too).
But there are previously unknown details to widely known stories that seriously add to Trump's legal woes on obstruction of justice. Senator Warren focuses on the obstruction of justice section in her Impeach Trump Podcast, live from the Senate floor, because she read the entire Mueller Report—including this line from Robert Mueller himself that is nothing less than an impeachment referral to the United States Congress on the topic of obstruction of justice:
“With respect to whether the President can be found to have obstructed justice by exercising his powers under Article II of the Constitution, we concluded that Congress has authority to prohibit a President's corrupt use of his authority in order to protect the integrity of the administration of justice.”
Trump likely obstructs justice damn near every single day. News just broke today that the White House is ordering the former White House counsel (AKA, the White House's top lawyer) to not comply with a legal subpoena from Congress. This was literally one of the reasons for Richard Nixon's impeachment, per his articles of impeachment:
In his conduct of the office of President of the United States, Richard M. Nixon, contrary to his oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has failed without lawful cause or excuse to produce papers and things as directed by duly authorized subpoenas issued by the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives on April 11, 1974, May 15, 1974, May 30, 1974, and June 24, 1974, and willfully disobeyed such subpoenas. The subpoenaed papers and things were deemed necessary by the Committee in order to resolve by direct evidence fundamental, factual questions relating to Presidential direction, knowledge or approval of actions demonstrated by other evidence to be substantial grounds for impeachment of the President. In refusing to produce these papers and things Richard M. Nixon, substituting his judgment as to what materials were necessary for the inquiry, interposed the powers of the Presidency against the the lawful subpoenas of the House of Representatives, thereby assuming to himself functions and judgments necessary to the exercise of the sole power of impeachment vested by the Constitution in the House of Representatives.
Impeachment isn't up for debate. Congress has a constitutionally mandated duty to oversee the executive, and the special counsel appointed to look in to whether the president did crimes is telling Congress that only they have the power to decide whether the president really did do crimes—which means that there is enough evidence that the president may have done crimes that Congress needs to look at it. Elizabeth Warren understands this rigid reality to be her job, unlike most of the Democratic leadership who is shying away from the oath they swore to uphold to us. Take note, fellow Democrats. This is what real leadership looks like.
Jacob Weindling is a staff writer for Paste politics. Follow him on Twitter at @Jakeweindling.