GOP Cheers Mueller Report Summary, Dems Seek Transparency - NBC Southern California
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President Donald Trump

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GOP Cheers Mueller Report Summary, Dems Seek Transparency

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said that the "cloud hanging over President Trump has been removed by this report"

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Barr Releases Statement on Findings in Mueller Investigation

    Special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into the 2016 election determined that nobody from the Trump campaign colluded with Russia, according to a letter to Congress from Attorney General William Barr.

    (Published Sunday, March 24, 2019)

    President Donald Trump and the White House claimed vindication by the summary of special counsel Robert Mueller's report on alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election of President Donald Trump after the attorney general said it found Trump's presidential campaign did not coordinate or conspire with Russia.

    Other Republicans, like Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham and Vice President Mike Pence, cheered the summary after its release on Sunday, but Democrats wanted to learn more about a part of the report that stated that Mueller "does not conclude that the President committed a crime [but] also does not exonerate him."

    Top Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer said in a statement that the summary "raises as many questions as it answers."

    The report was submitted to Attorney General William Barr on Friday, and Barr sent Congress his summary of its "principal conclusions" on Sunday. Read more about it here

    Trump Calls Mueller Probe 'an Illegal Takedown That Failed'

    [NATL] Trump Calls Mueller Probe 'an Illegal Takedown That Failed'

    President Donald Trump called special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation 'an illegal takedown that failed' on Sunday

    (Published Sunday, March 24, 2019)

    Mueller's investigation has captivated Washington and much of the country, in part because of the secrecy around it. The summary from Barr, a Trump appointee, is the first window into what Mueller found.

    White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement that Mueller "did not find any collusion and did not find any obstruction," though Mueller did not exonerate Trump on the second point, according to the summary.

    She continued, "Attorney General Barr and Deputy Attorney General (Rod) Rosenstein further determined there was no obstruction. The findings of the Department of Justice are a total and complete exoneration of the President of the United States." 

    Trump later celebrated the report as "a complete and total exoneration" and knocked Mueller's investigation as "an illegal takedown that failed."

    Graham, who'd been golfing with Trump earlier Sunday, said in a statement that it was a "Great day for President Trump" and that the "cloud hanging over President Trump has been removed by this report."

    Pence said in a statement, "This total vindication of the President of the United States and our campaign should be welcomed by every American who cherishes the truth and the integrity of our elections."

    Trump aide Dan Scavino tweeted about Mueller's investigation not finding that the Trump campaign or its associates "conspired or coordinated with Russia," commenting, "As we've been saying for the past two years."

    But Pelosi, the House speaker, and Schumer, the Senate Democratic leader, said in their joint statement that Barr is "not a neutral observer," urging the full release of Mueller's report.

    They also said Barr's prior "bias" against the special counsel inquiry shows he is "not in a position to make objective determinations." He had criticized the investigation before Trump nominated him to be attorney general, and, in his confirmation hearings, Barr didn't pledge to release them in full.

    Pelosi and Schumer added that "the fact that 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."

    The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Democratic Rep. Jerry Nadler, said the public needed to learn more about the fact that Mueller chose not to draw a conclusion on whether Trump committed obstruction of justice and why the summary was released within two days of the report being submitted.

    "There must be full transparency in what Special Counsel Mueller uncovered to not exonerate the President from wrongdoing. [The Department of Justice] owes the public more than just a brief synopsis and decision not to go any further in their work," the New York congressman tweeted, calling for Barr to testify.

    A Timeline of Mueller’s Russia Investigation

    [NATL] A Timeline of Mueller’s Russia Investigation

    On May 17, 2017, former FBI Director Robert Mueller was appointed special counsel to oversee the investigation into possible links between Russia and the Trump campaign. He secured the conviction of one Trump associate, guilty pleas from several others and the indictment of Russians who allegedly interfered in the 2016 election.

    (Published Thursday, April 18, 2019)

    Barr wrote that he and Rosenstein decided that the evidence was not sufficient to establish that Trump had committed an obstruction-of-justice offense.

    The report capped a nearly two-year-long investigation in which 34 people were indicted, including Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who was recently sentenced to 7 ½ years in prison, and former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who has been cooperating in the probe.

    Former FBI Director James Comey, who was fired by Trump as the FBI investigated whether his campaign was tied to Russia, tweeted on Sunday a photo of himself in the woods with the comment, "So many questions." His termination was believed to be part of Mueller's obstruction of justice investigation.