The conclusion of the Mueller investigation into whether Trump colluded with Russia in the election has been submitted. And, Mueller’s report will be governed by rules written in the wake of the Starr Report. We explain.
Just the FAQs, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON – Members of Congress continued to wait Sunday for Attorney General William Barr to provide a summary of conclusions from a nearly two-year investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Barr told lawmakers on Friday he could release the findings as soon as this weekend.
Democrats have raised concerns that officials may try to limit access to the report to a select few – the top eight Democratic and Republican leaders in Congress and on key committees – known as the Gang of Eight.
“Do not think you can bury this report,” Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said on ABC’s “This Week.” “Do not think you can bury the evidence in secret by briefing eight people in Congress and say we have discharged our responsibility. That’s not going to cut it. So it is essential that the report be made completely public.”
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Despite the findings, Democrats have vowed to continue their own investigations.
Republicans criticized the Democrat’s ongoing probes, saying the focus of the Mueller investigation was to determine whether there was conspiracy or collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia to impact the 2016 election.
“We’ve not seen any of that,” Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, the top Republican on the House Oversight Committee, also said on ABC’s “This Week.”
Jordan said Democrats had said Mueller was the right person to conduct the investigation.
“He is the best person we can pick. He’s right next to Jesus. He can almost walk on water,” Jordan said. “He will have the definitive statement on that fundamental question … but all indications are that there’s not going to be any findings of any collusion whatsoever.”
House Democratic leaders held a conference call with members Saturday afternoon urging members to press for access to the report.
Leaders of key House committees led by Democrats said Sunday investigations will continue, including one looking into Trump’s finances and other aspects of his presidency.
The House Judiciary Committee recently launched an investigation into whether Trump sought to obstruct justice or misuse his powers, requesting documents from 81 “agencies, entities, and individuals” connected to the administration and Trump’s private businesses.
The House Intelligence Committee announced it will look into Russian interference in the 2016 election as well as Trump’s foreign financial interests.
“The job of Congress is much broader than the job of special counsel. The special counsel was looking and can only look for crimes,” Rep. Jerrold Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said on Fox “News Sunday.” “We have a much broader mandate and we have to exercise that mandate to protect the integrity of government and protect the integrity of liberty and the country.”
Republicans slammed Democrats for continuing the investigations, calling it part of a “fishing expedition.”
“They don’t think this Mueller’s report is going to be the bombshell they all anticipated it was going to be so now they’re launching all kinds of other charges, all kinds of other investigations,” Jordan said,
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, a Republican, agreed.
One day after Special Counsel Robert Mueller concluded his Russia investigation, President Donald Trump spent Saturday in Palm Beach, at his Mar-a-Lago estate and golfing at his golf club. (March 23)
“If anyone thinks that the Mueller report being concluded is the end of the Democrats’ attempt to take down President Trump, they haven’t been paying attention the last two years,” he said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
The House overwhelmingly supported a resolution in March pressing for lawmakers to get a copy of the full Mueller report. The Senate, however, blocked the measure.
Some Republicans also called Sunday for full access to the report.
“I want to see all of it,” Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “What was the underlying criminal predicate for the entire investigation.”
He said Trump should also support transparency, “The best thing for the country and for the president is for this probe to move forward and to be concluded.”
Despite earlier calls by some Democrats to try to impeach Trump, Nadler and Schiff said Sunday it’s too early to talk about impeachment.
“Our mandate is not to impeach the president or anything like that,” said Nadler. “Our mandate is to defend the rule of law and to vindicate our constitutional liberties and to buck up the institutions that have been weakened by the attacks of this administration.”
Republicans, however, said Democrats are backpedaling on their call to impeachment and have every intention of trying to unseat Trump.
“What they’re basically saying is they are going to impeach the president for being Donald Trump,” said Cruz. “And they don’t care about the evidence.”
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