Democrats prepare legislation to address gaps exposed in Mueller report

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wants new legislation after Robert Mueller's testimony
(Andrew Harnik / Associated Press)

Although some Democrats want to use former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s testimony Wednesday to spark impeachment hearings, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hopes to lay the groundwork for legislation to address issues raised by the Russia investigation.

Her team is preparing a wave of measures that would likely be introduced after the August recess that starts Friday.

“We hope that hearing from Mueller will spark a sense of urgency to do something,” said a senior Democratic leadership aide, who requested anonymity to discuss the caucus’ plans.

Mueller is scheduled to testify for five hours on Wednesday.


Some of the ideas for new legislation are intended to prevent what Democrats have described as abuses of power.

For example, the Mueller report said President Trump asked Donald McGahn, his White House counsel, to draft a false document saying he was never asked to fire the special counsel.

Democrats want a measure to specifically prohibit such steps, and they want to limit presidential influence over law enforcement decisions.

Other ideas under consideration have already been in circulation, such as requiring campaigns to report foreign offers of assistance.

During the 2016 campaign, Trump’s eldest son accepted a meeting with a Russian lawyer after being told she wanted to help provide political dirt on Hillary Clinton. The meeting, which was also attended by several top Trump campaign aides, did not result in any criminal charges.

Democrats have struggled to advance legislation that they say is necessary to safeguard future elections from foreign interference like what Russia deployed in 2016.

The House last month passed a measure known as the SAFE Act, which would have sent more money to states to beef up election security, but it remains stalled in the Republican-controlled Senate.

“No matter what you think about obstruction, no matter what you think about conspiracy, there are gaps in our election security,” said another Democratic aide.