How Trump, Lawmakers Are Reacting to the Redacted Mueller Report - Rolling Stone
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How Trump and Lawmakers Are Reacting to the Redacted Mueller Report Release

The president is claiming total exoneration. Democrats want answers

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Attorney General William Barr on Thursday released a redacted version of the Mueller report. Over the course of nearly 450 pages, the special counsel’s office detailed its findings regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether President Trump obstructed justice. Mueller writes that he didn’t obtain enough evidence to indicate the Trump campaign conspired with Russia to a degree that would warrant a prosecution, while placing the onus on Congress to respond to his findings regarding the president’s potential obstruction of justice as it sees fit. These findings are plenty damning and, as Democratic lawmakers have argued since the report’s release, indicate Barr was not being forthright when he cleared the president of any wrongdoing last month.

Trump, not surprisingly, agrees with Barr. The president responded to the report’s release as expected, tweeting: “As I have been saying all along, NO COLLUSION – NO OBSTRUCTION,” along with a video.

After Attorney General William Barr hosted a press conference earlier on Thursday, Trump tweeted a Game of Thrones meme — which is now pinned to the top of his Twitter page. HBO was not happy. “Though we can understand the enthusiasm for Game of Thrones now that the final season has arrived, we still prefer our intellectual property not be used for political purposes,” the network said in a statement.

Vice President Pence agreed with Trump, claiming, falsely, that the report “confirms” there was no collusion and no obstruction of justice. He also called for an investigation into the genesis of the probe. “Now that the Special Counsel investigation is completed, the American people have a right to know whether the initial investigation was in keeping with long-standing Justice Department standards — or even lawful at all,” he wrote in a statement. We must never allow our Justice Department to be exploited in pursuit of a political agenda.”

Democrats aren’t exactly seeing eye-to-eye with the White House, especially regarding the section that covers obstruction of justice. Soon after its release, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) released a joint statement arguing that the contents of Mueller’s report are not consistent with how Barr presented it when he released his “principal conclusions” last month. “As we continue to review the report, one thing is clear: Attorney General Barr presented a conclusion that the president did not obstruct justice while Mueller’s report appears to undercut that finding.”

Pelosi and Schumer also called for Mueller to testify publicly. “The only way to begin restoring public trust in the handling of the Special Counsel’s investigation is for Special Counsel Mueller himself to provide public testimony,” they wrote.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) feels similarly. Following Barr’s press conference Thursday morning, he tweeted a copy of a letter requesting Mueller appear before the committee. After the report was released, Nadler said he would follow through on his threats to issue a subpoena to obtain the entire, unredacted report. “Because Congress requires this material in order to perform our constitutionally-mandated responsibilities, I will issue a subpoena for the full report and the underlying materials,” he wrote.

“Even in its incomplete form, the Mueller report outlines disturbing evidence that President Trump engaged in obstruction of justice and other disturbing conduct,” Nadler said at a press conference later on Thursday. He also attacked Barr, saying the attorney general’s “words and actions suggest he has been disingenuous and misleading in saying the president is clear of wrongdoing.”

Several other prominent Democrats have weighed in with similar concerns.

“Even a preliminary review of the material makes it clear that the Attorney General fundamentally mischaracterized the Special Counsel’s findings in his pre-emptive press conference this morning,” Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, wrote in a statement. “In the days to come, it is essential that Congress hear directly from the Special Counsel regarding his investigation. The Senate Intelligence Committee continues its own investigation, and I expect to receive a full briefing, an unredacted report, and all the materials underlying the Special Counsel’s findings.”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) focused on the vast amount of redacted material, while calling for Mueller to testify publicly.

Same goes for Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH), who earlier this month announced his candidacy for president.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) — who, like Warren and Ryan, is running for president — called for Mueller to testify. “Attorney General Barr has made it clear he is not impartial when it comes to this investigation,” she tweeted. “Now that we have the report we should hear from Robert Mueller himself in public hearings. Our democracy demands it.”

Though it’s yet to be determined whether the efforts of congressional Democrats will ever result in the production of a full, unredacted version of the report that will be accessible to the public, it does appear that the House Judiciary Committee will have an opportunity to question Mueller. During his press conference Thursday morning, Barr said he has no problem with the special counsel appearing before Congress.


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