WASHINGTON, July 30 (Reuters) - Former U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s congressional testimony will feature in a television ad advocating for impeaching President Donald Trump, set to run before and after the Democratic presidential debates this week.
Backed by the Need to Impeach group founded by billionaire Democratic candidate Tom Steyer, the “What Mueller Said” ad will run on CNN and MSNBC, days after Mueller told two congressional panels about his investigation of Trump and Russia.
Excerpts from the testimony will show Mueller confirming he did not exonerate Trump, contradicting Trump’s repeated claims to the contrary, and Mueller answering other key questions.
The 32-second ad will appear during the pre- and post-debate commentary on Tuesday and Wednesday. It will then continue to air into August, as part of a $500,000 overall ad buy, the group said.
Steyer, a hedge fund manager who announced his long-shot Democratic candidacy earlier this month, is not part of the debate line-up. He founded Need to Impeach and made a contribution before announcing his candidacy but has no formal role in the organization, the group said.
Recent polls have shown that a majority of American voters oppose impeachment.
A report by Mueller, released in April, did not reach a conclusion on whether Trump committed the crime of obstruction of justice with his actions aimed at undermining the inquiry, but did not exonerate him. The report also said Mueller found insufficient evidence to establish that Trump and his campaign had engaged in a criminal conspiracy with Russia to sway the 2016 election.
Democrats who lead the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee are considering articles of impeachment against Trump and have gone to court to seek underlying evidence from Mueller’s probe to help determine whether to move forward.
The U.S. Constitution empowers the House of Representatives to impeach presidents. If the Democratic-led House approved articles of impeachment, formally accusing Trump of wrongdoing, the Republican-led Senate would then put him on trial and decide whether to remove him from office.
No president has ever been removed from office as a direct result of Senate conviction.
About 100 House Democrats now support impeachment. But their number is less than half of the chamber’s 235-member Democratic caucus and falls far short of the 218 votes that would be needed to approve an impeachment resolution. (Reporting by David Morgan Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Alistair Bell)