Attorney General William Barr released a redacted version of the Mueller Report on the special counsel’s probe of alleged Russian collusion by the Trump presidential campaign in 2016. As expected, it wasn’t the final word. Democrats immediately criticized Barr for carrying water for Trump by declaring there was no collusion even though Mueller said that he was “unable” to reach such a definitive conclusion.
“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,” Mueller wrote in the report. “Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, we are unable to reach that judgment.”
It’s certainly an odd way for an investigator to conclude that he found no evidence of guilt and it is all Democrats require to keep the ball rolling on the obsessive investigation that has dragged on for the length of Trump’s term in office. Dems are dismissing Barr’s statements and demanding Mueller testify before Congress, though how that would reveal any new information of substance remains a mystery.
It Goes On
Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, tweeted out a statement saying Mueller needed to testify so his “findings” would be “better understood.” In a second tweet, Nadler hinted at a continuing Dem strategy to use any redactions whatsoever against Barr:
We cannot take Attorney General Barr's word for it. We must read the full Mueller report, and the underlying evidence. This is about transparency and ensuring accountability. https://t.co/eNDgQKJHa8
— (((Rep. Nadler))) (@RepJerryNadler) April 18, 2019
Even before Barr’s press conference upon releasing the report, Nadler was accusing him of clear bias. “The attorney general appears to be waging a media campaign on behalf of President Trump,” the Rep. said at a news conference the evening before the release.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) released a joint statement echoing Nadler’s remarks and slamming Barr for his “regrettably partisan handling” of the report. “We believe 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 in the House and Senate as soon as possible. The American people deserve to hear the truth,” the statement read.
A mainstream media goliath that has been heavily pushing the probe since its inception also was quick to hone in on Barr’s redactions as a way to keep the hunt alive. “[T]he Trump administration — based on its pattern of dishonest conduct in office — simply cannot be trusted to be straight with the nation about what parts of the report need to remain concealed from public view,” The New York Times claimed in an editorial.
GOP: Give It Up Already
Former Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz, who had served as chairman of the House Oversight Committee before resigning from Congress in 2017, slammed Democrats’ determination not to let the probe go. “I think it is very telling when the attorney general put out a statement and said, not only did the president rebuff the push by Russia to try to collude, but did so multiple times. That was one of the most telling things,” Chaffetz told Fox News.
“I think the Democrats are scrambling. I don’t think they know what to do. I think it is part of their demise and I think it’s a big part of why I think Donald Trump will be re-elected in 2020.”
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), in a series of tweets, furthered what will no doubt be a Republican strategy of harshly criticizing Democrats for continuing to beat what they believe is a thoroughly dead horse. “No collusion. No obstruction,” Jordan proclaimed. “[T]his sad chapter of American history is behind us….. It would be a shame for the onslaught of misguided politicized investigations to continue.”
It would be a shame for the onslaught of misguided politicized investigations to continue.
The American people expect more from those who represent them in Washington. (5/5)
— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) April 18, 2019
It is clear that Mueller’s intentional stressing that nothing about his investigation clears Trump of obstruction, even as his probe failed to find the president guilty of anything, will be seized by Democrats to keep the Russia Collusion Circus rolling. Whether or not Dems can garner any political gain at this point by refusing to cut bait remains to be seen. It’s hard to imagine how giving Mueller a national platform to explain how he found nothing incriminating about the president’s actions after an exhaustive investigation furthers Democrat hopes to damage Trump’s position. Be that as it may, Dems are clearly not willing to let go. And Republicans will use that as a weapon against them moving forward.