Maine’s congressional delegation on Sunday called on the U.S. attorney general to make the Mueller report available to the American public.
Special counsel Robert Mueller concluded his 22-month investigation late last week, and U.S. Attorney General William Barr released a four-page summary of Mueller’s report Sunday afternoon.
That summary of Mueller’s “principle conclusions” confirmed the January 2017 report by the U.S. intelligence community that the Russian government sought to interfere in the 2016 presidential election but that no one in the “Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts.”
That conclusion was vindication for President Donald Trump, who has long denied that he or anyone on his campaign colluded with the Russian government.
“It’s a shame that our country had to go through this, to be honest it’s a shame that your president has had to go through this,” Trump told reporters outside the White House on Sunday.
The special counsel’s report also did not conclude that Trump obstructed justice, but it “does not exonerate him,” Barr wrote in his summary.
U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican who sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is conducting its own investigation into Russia’s election meddling, said it was “good news for America” that Mueller’s team cleared Trump campaign associates of any allegations of collusion with the Russian government’s meddling in the 2016 election.
Collins added that it is “imperative that the report be released in as complete a form as possible so that the public can fully understand the rationale for the exoneration on the allegations involving coordination or conspiracy with the Russians as well as the inability of Mr. Mueller to reach a conclusion on obstruction of justice.”
U.S. Sen. Angus King, an independent who caucuses with Democrats and sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Barr’s summary “confirmed” what King had gathered from public reports about Mueller’s investigation since he was appointed in May 2017 after Trump fired then-FBI Director James Comey. Comey later told a congressional panel that Trump fired him to stymie a nascent FBI investigation into Russian election interference, an accusation Trump has denied.
But King said the special counsel’s decision to not make a “traditional prosecutorial judgment” on obstruction of justice has left him with several lingering questions.
“That’s why I believe that AG Barr and his staff must show us their work, explain their decision, and expediently release as much of the report as possible, without compromising ongoing investigations or divulging classified sources or methods — and protect Americans’ full faith and confidence in our system of government,” King said.
U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, a Democrat, said Barr’s letter raised “serious concerns” because the summary did not explicitly exonerate Trump of alleged obstruction of justice.
“The American public needs more than a four-page summary from the President’s hand-picked Attorney General to determine the scope of the Mueller investigation’s findings,” Pingree said, adding that the U.S. House of Representatives on March 14 voted unanimously to endorse the release of the full Mueller report. The U.S. Senate has yet to vote on that resolution.
“We should expect nothing less than total transparency,” she said.
U.S. Rep. Jared Golden, a Democrat, joined his colleagues in calling on the U.S. attorney general to release the Mueller report.
“For the good of the country, all Americans should now have the opportunity to read the report in its entirety. That’s why I voted with Republicans and Democrats to make the report available to the public earlier this month,” Golden said.
“We must keep an open mind and be respectful of the continuing investigations — some of which stem from the Special Counsel’s work — without jumping to any conclusions,” he added.