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Underwood says Mueller's testimony showed that Trump obstructed justice

U.S. Rep Lauren Underwood, D-Naperville, said the testimony of former special counsel Robert Mueller on Wednesday showed that President Donald Trump attempted to obstruct justice.
U.S. Rep Lauren Underwood, D-Naperville, said the testimony of former special counsel Robert Mueller on Wednesday showed that President Donald Trump attempted to obstruct justice.

U.S. Rep Lauren Underwood, D-Naperville, said the testimony of former special counsel Robert Mueller on Wednesday showed that President Donald Trump obstructed justice.

During the hearing, Mueller confirmed "the way the president's behavior met the three critical criteria for obstruction of justice," Underwood said in a conference call on Thursday.

"One, that his attempts to remove the special counsel would qualify as an obstructive act as it would obstruct the investigation, two, that there is substantial evidence indicating that the president knew his conduct was under investigation by a federal prosecutor who would present any evidence of a federal crime to a grand jury and three, that the president knew the special counsel's investigation could be hurtful to him and that he instructed [White House Counsel] Don McGahn to fire the special counsel, which showed intent," Underwood said.

Unlike her colleague, U.S. Rep. Sean Casten, D-Downers Grove, she is not ready to back an impeachment inquiry against Trump.

"I'm committed to uncovering the facts," Underwood said. "Right now, we're doing the important oversight work. These investigations will continue from the six committees."

She noted that six House committee investigations are working to uncover more facts.

"There is so much more that we do not know," Underwood said. "For example, Mueller could not tell us the results of whether other federal agencies investigated Russian compromise in the form of money laundering, so Congress must do so."

Underwood also said Mueller's testimony showed that the Russians' 'sweeping' interference in the 2016 presidential election was intended to help Trump and that the Trump campaign "welcomed" the assistance.

"It was unpatriotic and wrong for Mr. Trump and his campaign to accept Russia's help," she said. "However, receiving help from a foreign government is not illegal in every instance. I introduced legislation to fix that."

For example, Underwood said that nonprofit advocacy organizations are currently allowed to accept contributions from foreign governments, individuals and organizations and they don't have to disclose that information.

"Volume 1 of the Mueller Report outlined the social media disinformation campaigns and others, so we know they are well aware of our laws and are willing to exploit any loopholes that exist," she said.

This week, Underwood helped introduce the Foreign Influence Reporting in Elections Act. She said the proposed legislation would help prevent foreign interference in U.S. elections by requiring political campaigns to report contacts with foreign nationals who are trying to make campaign donations or coordinate with the campaign to the Federal Election Commission and the FBI.

"This bill would apply to all campaigns, from presidential to state and local races," she said. "The bottom line is worth repeating, which Mueller warned again yesterday – there are multiple, systematic efforts by Russia to interfere in our election. And we that foreign adversaries are working to interfere in future elections. So the time is now to act to protect our democracy. We cannot afford to wait."

In addition, Underwood joined with other freshman House lawmakers to form the bipartisan Task Force Sentry which will work to craft legislation to keep foreign adversaries "from interfering with our democracy," she said.

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