GOP celebrates AG’s summary of Mueller report, Dems want full report released

By: - March 25, 2019 10:15 am

President Donald J. Trump arrives at Joint Base Andrews Air Force Base Wednesday, March 20, 2019, in Maryland, en route Ohio. | Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead via Flickr Public Domain

WASHINGTON —  Attorney General William Barr’s conclusions of the long-awaited report from Special Counsel Robert Mueller have Republicans declaring victory for President Donald Trump, while Democrats demanded the full report see the light of day.

William Barr

Barr’s four-page summary of Mueller’s report into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election was submitted on Sunday to lawmakers. In total, 34 people and three corporations were indicted or pleaded guilty in connection with the probe.

U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit), who promised to introduce an impeachment resolution before the Mueller report was complete, demanded the public be allowed to see the full document.

“Earlier this month, we voted unanimously in the House of Representatives to call for a full public report of Robert Mueller’s investigation,” she said Sunday. “We cannot do our jobs as representatives without the full report. Attorney General Barr’s letter does not give a full picture and it would be a disservice to the American people if transparency is not practiced here. The full report must be release to Congress and the American people immediately.”

The U.S. House voted 420-0 earlier this month in support of a resolution to release the full Mueller report.

Rashida Tlaib | Ken Coleman

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, a Democrat, is one of 17 state AGs calling for the report to be released publicly. She said on MSNBC on Sunday that she and her colleagues are “prepared to use every tool in our disposal” to do so.

According to Barr, Mueller’s investigation did not find evidence that the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference. Mueller also declined to draw a conclusion on whether the president obstructed justice, saying that while his report “does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”

Trump heralded the findings. “No Collusion, No Obstruction, Complete and Total EXONERATION. KEEP AMERICA GREAT!” the president wrote on Twitter Sunday.

Trump’s allies were quick to rally behind the president, portraying the entire exercise as a waste of time and money.  

Robert Mueller on Capitol Hill May 16, 2013 in Washington, DC. |Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

His spokeswoman, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, labeled the Mueller probe a “two-year waste of taxpayer time and dollars,” speaking on NBC’s “Today” show on Monday.

“Democrats in Congress who have stated that they found ‘ample evidence’ of collusion, that there was ‘direct evidence’ of collusion, and that there is a ‘cloud of treason’ surrounding the White House were wrong. These statements were lies,” Florida Republican U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz said in a statement. “The people who spread these lies owe President Trump and the American people an apology.”

U.S. Rep. Justin Amash (R-Cascade Twp.) voted “present” on the resolution to make the report public, but has often broken with his party with criticism over what he sees as Trump’s abuse of power.

“Americans of all backgrounds should be happy that AG Barr’s principal conclusions from Mueller’s report suggest no criminality between the Trump campaign and Russia,” Amash wrote on Twitter.  

“I’ll continue to press the AG to release to the public as much as can be legally and appropriately made available. It’s important to note that the scope of this investigation, the report, and the principal conclusions are limited to allegations regarding Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.”

Democrats, meanwhile, have seized on the obstruction of justice comments in the report to call for further investigations. U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Flint) and others continue to push for the release of the entire Mueller report.

“The Attorney General’s summary of the Special Counsel’s report raises many questions, which is why full transparency is necessary,” he said Sunday. “Congress and the American people should have the opportunity to read every page of Special Counsel Mueller’s report.”

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a joint statement that “Attorney General Barr’s letter raises as many questions as it answers.

U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Flint) speaks at a press conference featuring House Democrats at the U.S. Capitol April 20, 2016, in Washington, DC | Win McNamee, Getty Images

“The fact that Special Counsel Mueller’s report does not exonerate the president on a charge as serious as obstruction of justice demonstrates how urgent it is that the full report and underlying documentation be made public without any further delay. Given Mr. Barr’s public record of bias against the Special Counsel’s inquiry, he is not a neutral observer and is not in a position to make objective determinations about the report.”

Pelosi and Schumer added that “for the president to say he is completely exonerated directly contradicts the words of Mr. Mueller and is not to be taken with any degree of credibility.”

U.S. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) said he plans to call Barr in to testify before his committee “in light of the very concerning discrepancies and final decision making at the Justice Department following the Special Counsel report, where Mueller did not exonerate the President.”

He plans to summon Barr “in the near future,” he wrote on Twitter.

“Attorney General Barr must make the full Mueller report public, and provide Congress with all of its underlying documentation and findings,” Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) said in a statement. “Mr. Barr must also refrain from giving President Trump or his team advance access to the findings or its evidence. Any White House interference into what is made public would be wholly inappropriate.”

Sanders said on the “Today” show Monday that the president is leaving it up to Barr to decide whether to release the report.

“I don’t think the president has any problem with” releasing the report, she said. “He’s more than happy for any of this stuff to come out because he knows exactly what did and what didn’t happen.”

Advance Editor Susan J. Demas contributed to this story.

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Robin Bravender
Robin Bravender

Robin Bravender was the States Newsroom Washington Bureau Chief from January 2019 until June 2020. She coordinated the network’s national coverage and reported on states’ congressional delegations, federal agencies, the White House and the federal courts. Prior to that, Robin was an editor and reporter at E&E News, a reporter at Politico, and a freelance producer for Reuters TV.