White House

‘We Shall Not Shrink': 2 Pennsylvania Congresswomen Press Robert Mueller During Hearing on Former Special Counsel's Investigation

Two new congresswomen from the Philadelphia suburbs, Mary Gay Scanlon and Madeleine Dean, questioned Robert Mueller on Wednesday morning

What to Know

  • Mary Gay Scanlon is a longtime public interest lawyer with a Philadelphia law firm. Madeleine Dean served as a state representative.
  • Both were elected in 2018 in a women's wave that changed the dynamics of Pennsylvania politics.
  • They each directly questioned Robert Mueller about his time as Special Counsel and the March 22 report he authored.

Montgomery County's U.S. Rep. Madeleine Dean seized her opportunity on the national political stage Wednesday, declaring that Congress "shall not shrink from that duty" to continue to investigate President Trump.

Dean, who is on the House Judiciary Committee, was among the lawmakers who questioned former Special Counsel Robert Mueller about his investigation into Russian election interference and allegations of obstruction of justice by Trump.

The former Pennsylvania state lawmaker elected last year to her first term in Congress has been among the most vocal on Capitol Hill calling for an impeachment inquiry into the president.

She used her time with Mueller to reiterate the Democrat-controlled Congress's duty to check the executive branch.

"Your report did not exonerate the president. Instead, it provided substantial evidence of obstruction of justice, leaving Congress to do its duty," Dean said. "We shall not shrink from that duty."

Dean was not alone in representing the Philadelphia region in the much-anticipated hearing. U.S. Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, who represents Delaware County and a portion of Philadelphia, is also on the committee.

She questioned Mueller about Trump's knowledge of stolen Democratic campaign emails by the Wikileaks during the 2016 presidential campaign.

"I want to ask you some questions about the president’s statements regarding advanced knowledge of the Wikileaks dumps," Scanlon began her questions. "So the president refused to sit down with your investigators for an in-person interview, correct?"

"Correct," Mueller said as their exchange began into details about what Mueller found of Trump's knowledge of the leaked emails.

The hearing delved into his work investigating Russian election interference and criminal activity by members of President Trump's administration. Mueller will also go before the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday afternoon.

In his 22 months as head of the Office of Special Counsel, Mueller charged 34 people, including the president's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort and his first national security adviser, Michael Flynn. 

Both Dean and Scanlon are Democrats serving in their first full terms in Congress. They were part of a Wave of Women elected as part of the Democrats' takeover of the House majority in 2018.

In all, four women Democrats from southeastern Pennsylvania won first terms in Congress last year in an historic victory.

They were given seats on the Judiciary Committee by Democratic House leaders in January, and took their turns questioning Mueller toward the end of the hearing, which began at 8:30 a.m. and ran past noon.

All 41 committee members — 24 Democrats and 17 Republicans — received up to five minutes each. Scanlon, who serves as the committee's vice chairwoman, was first among all first-term congressmembers. Dean was third to last to question Mueller.

U.S. Reps. Mary Gay Scanlon, left, and Madeleine Dean, right, sit on the House Judiciary Committee. Scanlon represents Delaware County and a portion of Philadelphia. Dean represents Montgomery County and a sliver of Berks County.

"I'm so pleased to be serving on this important committee," Dean said Tuesday in an interview with NBC10. "We are being very meticulous, very careful because of the importance of the subject. I've been crafting my questions with the people in my office and with the able staff members of the Judiciary Committee."

"All along, I've looked at this as what's important are Mueller's words, not mine," she said.

Scanlon's role — as the first lawmaker elected last year to get a chance to ask Mueller questions about his investigation — is not lost on her, the congresswoman's spokeswoman said.

"A lot of why this freshman class ran last year and why the district put their faith in the representative has to do with the fact that something wrong is happening with this government," Scanlon's spokeswoman Gabby Richards said Tuesday.

"My boss has not only read the (Mueller) report front to back multiple times, she is definitely prepared for the intensity of tomorrow," she added.

Both women said during their election campaigns last year that they were running to bring fresh voices to Washington D.C., and to challenge the Trump White House's priorities of border walls, environmental deregulation and abolishing the Affordable Care Act, and to increase women's representation in Washington D.C.

"I'm on the frontline," she said, in the earlier interview, of her seat on the Judiciary Committee. "And seeing how the administration is obstructing our duty of oversight, like when former White House Counsel Donald McGahn was told not to testify under some crazy blanket immunity by the Trump administration, I will continue to make that argument."

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