WASHINGTON, DC — Members of Rhode Island’s Congressional delegation called for the release of the full report of Special Counsel Robert Mueller early this week after Attorney General Barr’s summary concluded no evidence of collusion with Russian officials’ interference in the 2016 election by President Donald Trump, stopping short of absolving him of obstructing justice.
Mueller completed his report this weekend, and Barr, a Trump appointee skeptical of challenges to Presidential power who has nonetheless pledged to release as much information on the report as possible, released a four-page summary Sunday outlining Mueller’s findings that Trump and his associates did not cooperate in Russian interference in the 2016 election.
“…the Special Counsel did not find that the Trump campaign, or anyone associated with it, conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in these efforts, despite multiple offers from the Russian-affiliated individuals to assist the Trump campaign,” Barr wrote in his summary of Mueller’s report.
Mueller, Barr wrote, left the question of whether Trump’s conduct during the investigation could be considered obstruction open, allegedly quoting from Mueller’s report, “While this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”
That, Barr wrote, left the decision as to whether Trump had committed obstruction of justice up to him.
Regarding the possibility that the president committed an obstruction of justice, Barr wrote that his determination did not consider or depend on the Justice Department principle that a sitting president cannot be indicted.
Rather, Barr, wrote, the absence of evidence of collusion with Russian officials, “bears upon the President’s intent with respect to obstruction.”
“In cataloguing the President’s actions, many of which took place in public view, the report identifies no actions that, in our judgment, constitute obstructive conduct, had a nexus to a pending or contemplated proceeding, and were done with corrupt intent, each of which, under the Departments principles of federal prosecution guiding charging decisions, would need to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt to establish an obstruction of justice offense,” Barr wrote.
Barr also wrote that he would continue reviewing Mueller’s report in an effort to release as much further detail as legally possible.
Late Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) blocked a Senate resolution to make the Mueller report public, preventing a vote. A similar measure passed the House 420-0.
“Attorney General Barr’s summary further underscores why Special Counsel Mueller’s report must be released to the public. The American people deserve to see the investigation’s complete findings,” said Congressman Jim Langevin, (D-RI) on his Facebook page Monday.
“Mr. Mueller’s investigation goes to the heart of our democracy, and the American people deserve nothing less than full transparency,” Langevin said in a statement following Barr’s letter to Congress summarizing the report.
“The Special Counsel has filed his report. Now the American people need to see the entire report and I urge the Attorney General to release the entire document and supporting evidence without delay. If any part needs to be held back for national security reasons, that information and underlying evidence should be made available in a classified setting,” stated Sen. Jack Reed, (D-RI), Senator Reed, the Ranking Member of the Armed Services Committee and an ex officio member of the Intelligence Committee.
“President Trump’s Attorney General claims the evidence is not clear enough to charge the President, but notes “it also does not exonerate him.” Let the American people see the report and decide.
“Filing this report does not end this process, as we know from every prior Special Counsel investigation. The crucial next step is Congress fulfilling its constitutional oversight duty. Mr. Mueller and others involved in the report should testify before Congress in open setting,” Reed wrote.
“Now, Attorney General Barr ought to make good on the commitments to transparency he made to us over the course of his confirmation,” said US Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, (D-RI),
“That means outlining a clear, expeditious process for reviewing the report, transmitting it to Congress, and preserving the work product and records of the special counsel. This is no time for cover-ups.”
“The Special Counsel did not exonerate the President. In fact, according to the Attorney General’s letter, he described a pattern of evidence suggesting the President engaged in obstruction of justice,” said Congressman David N. Cicilline (D-RI), “The Attorney General needs to make this evidence available to Congress immediately, along with the entirety of the Mueller report, so we can decide what steps to take next.”
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