After a day of speculation and writer’s block jokes by journalists, resistance-grifters and news junkies, the world learned about 5 p.m. ET Friday that Special Counsel Robert Mueller had indeed delivered his final report to Deputy Attorney Rod Rosenstein and Attorney General William Barr.
Barr, in turn, sent a letter to the House Judiciary Committee confirming receipt of the report and pledging that he remains “committed to as much transparency as possible.”
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) released a joint statement saying, “Now that Special Counsel Mueller has submitted his report to the Attorney General, it is imperative for Mr. Barr to make the full report, it is imperative for Mr. Barr to make the full report public and provide its underlying documentation and findings to Congress.” Barr, the Democratic leaders stressed, must not allow the White House a “sneak peak” at the report before its made public.
Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), chair of the committee, quickly released a statement confirming as much, adding, “We look forward to getting the full Mueller report and related materials. Transparency and the public interest demand nothing less. The need for public faith in the rule of law must be the priority.”
Nadler’s Republican counterpart on the judiciary committee, Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA), said that he “fully expect[s] the Justice Department to release the special counsel’s report to this committee and to the public without delay and to the maximum extent permitted by law.”
Nearly everyone agrees that the findings should be made public, though how much and how quickly seems to change depending on party preference: Democrats, without exception, called for the report to be released immediately, while Republicans solemnly expressed faith that Barr would do the right thing.
Take, for instance, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), one of the president’s chief defenders in Congress. McConnell said in a statement he was “grateful we have an experience and capable Attorney General in place to review the Special Counsel’s report. Attorney General now needs the time to do that. The Attorney General has said he intends to provide as much information as possible. As I have said previously, I sincerely hope he will do so as soon as he can and with as much openness and transparency as possible.”
That statement echoed one from the president’s own lawyers, Rudy Giuliani and Jay Sekulow, who said, “We’re pleased that the Office of Special Counsel has delivered its report to the Attorney General pursuant to the regulations. Attorney General Barr will determine the appropriate next steps.”
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, “The next steps are up to Attorney General Barr, and we look forward to the process taking its course. The White House has not received or been briefed on the Special Counsel’s report.”
According to the White House press pool, the Lincoln Dinner is being held tonight at Mar-a-Lago. It was unclear whether or not the president would attend.
Democrats, meanwhile, were united in their calls for a speedy and complete release of the report. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), a candidate for president in 2020, tweeted shortly after the news broke: “Attorney General Barr—release the Mueller report to the American public. Now.” Her rival for the nomination, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), sounded a similar note: “Special counsel Mueller’s report should be made public without any delay. The American people have a right to know its findings.” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) wrote: “As Donald Trump said, ‘Let it come out.’ I call on the Trump administration to make Special Counsel Mueller’s full report public as soon as possible. No one, including the president, is above the law.”
Mark Warner (D-VA), the ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee said, “It is also critical that all documents related to the Special Counsel’s investigation be preserved and made available to the appropriate Congressional committees.”
Speaking to MSNBC, Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA), a member of the House Intelligence Committee who has also expressed interested in launching a 2020 bid, offered an alternative in case Barr limits release the report. Swalwell said he wanted to hear from the special counsel directly. “I believe we need to hear from Bob Mueller. I think the country would benefit from hearing from Bob Mueller and not just taking the attorney general at this word,” Swalwell, whose committee has the power to subpoena Mueller, said.