WASHINGTON – The Mueller Report – at least most of it – was released Thursday with Democrats and Republicans offering sharply different opinions about what the special counsel found in his lengthy investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Read the redacted report at: https://media.npr.org/assets/news/2019/04/muellerreport.pdf
“This report is a detailed, deeply damning portrait of criminal wrongdoing & national scandal. President Trump & his associates sold out our democracy & welcomed help through Russia’s illegal actions during the 2016 campaign,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal via Twitter.
The Trump campaign, meanwhile, issued a press release saying “the verdict stands: no collusion, no obstruction, no wrongdoing, no crimes” while also posting a video montage of “reckless, false charges” Democrats made as it took the nation on a “frantic, chaotic, conspiracy-laden roller coaster for two years.”
Topping the montage – Blumenthal, from an October 2018 television interview in which he claimed: “The evidence is pretty clear that there was collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians.”
The back-and-forth won’t end soon even as the White House and many Republicans say it is time to move on. Democrats in Congress plan to continue their investigation, and are insisting the Special Counsel Robert Mueller appear before the relevant committees to testify.
The Connecticut delegation – made up of all Democrats – appears to be in agreement on the need for further oversight. They want Mueller to testify rather than rely on Attorney General William Barr’s analysis of what the report says.
– “I will support a subpoena for the full, un-redacted Mueller Report. Only complete disclosure is acceptable, Special Counsel Mueller & his team must testify before Congress about the findings of their investigation,” Blumenthal said.
– “The American people deserve the full report so they can decide for themselves on these findings. Our democracy depends on transparency, and Congress should use our oversight powers to demand it,” Sen. Chris Murphy said.
– “Special Counsel Mueller needs to come before Congress and testify on his report. Americans need Mueller’s account on the record, and his analysis of the report and the conclusions that were reached, not just Attorney General Barr’s narrative,” Rep. John B. Larson said.
– “Even with its many redactions, the report raises serious questions and concerns that the American people deserve answers to. That is why Congress and the American people need Special Counsel Mueller to come and testify on his report. This is clearly the only way that we will be able to determine Mueller’s true analysis of the report, its findings, and its conclusions,” Rep. Joe Courtney said.
– “Despite Attorney General Barr’s political spin, the Mueller report details multiple instances in which President Trump attempted to obstruct justice and end the Special Counsel’s investigation … As such, Congress and the American people deserve to see the full report and all of its underlying evidence, as well as hear directly from Special Counsel Robert Mueller on his team’s findings,” Rep. Rosa DeLauro said.
The redacted report, which runs more than 400 pages, did not find that Trump or his campaign coordinated or conspired with the Russian government to interfere in the 2016 election.
“While the investigation identified numerous links between individuals with ties to the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump Campaign, the evidence was not sufficient to support criminal charges. Among other things, the evidence was not sufficient to charge any Campaign official as an unregistered agent of the Russian government or other Russian principal,” says the report.
That’s not to say there was no evidence – it just fell short of a criminal conspiracy, according to the report.
Mueller’s report does offer plenty of evidence of contacts between the campaign and Russia – particularly Paul Manafort, former Trump campaign chairman and New Britain native.
Manafort was sentenced to just under four years in prison last month after being convicted last year of tax and bank fraud. The case is the only one brought to trial so far by Mueller.
The report also does not fully clear Trump of obstruction allegations stating: “If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the president clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state.”
The report notes “there is evidence that the President’s actions had the potential to influence Manafort’s decision whether to cooperate with the government. The President and his personal counsel made repeated statements suggesting that a pardon was a possibility for Manafort, while also making it clear that the President did not want Manafort to “flip” and cooperate with the government.”