On Wednesday, former Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III testified before the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees about his two-year investigation on Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and if Donald Trump and his campaign associates played a role. The hearings were more than seven hours long but yielded little new information. Mueller’s testimony was consistent with his team’s 448-page report on the Russia investigation, and he often refused to answer questions or offer specific opinions about whether or not Trump has committed crimes. 

Here's what we do know based on Mueller’s testimony and what it all means for the 2020 election:

1. Donald Trump has not been cleared of possible crimes he may have committed. 

Trump has long claimed that he did not work with Russia in attacking our elections. He’s also said that Mueller’s report proves that there was no wrongdoing and no collusion. But Mueller put that to rest in the first few minutes of his testimony. He told Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, that the findings of the report indicate that Trump was “not exculpated for the acts that he allegedly committed.” Translation: Trump is lying when he says that he has been found innocent. The report found no such thing, but Mueller refuses to say for sure what crimes may have been committed.


 2. Donald Trump spent the day rage tweeting about the hearings, suggesting that Mueller is corrupt and that a government conspiracy, led by Democrats, is trying to take him down. 

Trump tweeted all through the hearings, insulting Mueller, calling him “conflicted” and suggesting that he needed to investigate Hillary Clinton, former FBI Director James Comey, among others. He also doubled down on his claims of no collusion, obstruction or cause for impeachment, even though Mueller’s testimony contradicted this.

3. 2020 Democratic candidates weighed in on the hearings and called for Trump to be impeached. 

Senator Elizabeth Warren was the first to weigh in, even before the hearings began, saying Mueller’s report is an “impeachment referral” and that Congress needs to act. Other candidates made their thoughts known, as well, including former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro and Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA), who underscored that Trump obstructed justice and should be impeached.

4. Talk of impeachment will fire up the Democratic base but won’t translate into serious leverage for 2020 candidates. 

Mueller confirmed that Trump lied and could possibly be charged for obstruction of justice once he leaves office. But this doesn’t make a strong enough case for impeachment. Both Democrats and Republicans would need to vote for impeachment proceedings, and Republicans are unlikely to do so. They want to make Mueller look unqualified, and they succeeded. He often seemed confused and refused to answer questions almost 200 times. The hearings didn’t help Americans understand if Trump actually committed any crimes. People in favor of impeachment will feel vindicated by these hearings, and those against it will continue to call it a “witch hunt.”


5. Instead of impeachment, Democrats should be campaigning to make sure elections are secure in 2020. 
The biggest takeaway from the hearings is Mueller’s testimony that Russia definitely interfered in the 2016 election and more is coming. Responding to questions about Russia’s tampering in our elections, Mueller said, “They’re doing it as we sit here.”


Foreign interference in American elections is not only illegal, but it means that we are not guaranteed a free and fair election. Yet, Republicans continue to block election security bills and refuse to dedicate resources to voting rights. This poses yet another threat to our democracy in 2020 and is likely to result in another term for Donald Trump.