Tue, 16 Jul 2019

US Lawmakers Call for Release of Full Mueller Report

Voice of America
24 Mar 2019, 04:05 GMT+10

U.S. Special Counsel Robert Muellers completion of a long-awaited report on his investigation into Russia's role in the 2016 presidential election and any potential wrongdoing by President Donald Trump is drawing calls from lawmakers for the reports release.

Mueller submitted the report Friday to the Justice Department, headed by Attorney General William Barr, who is now reviewing it before deciding if any of it will become public.

The results of the report are still confidential, but the Justice Department confirmed that it includes no new indictments.

Barr, the top U.S. law enforcement official, said he could update Congress as early as this weekend about the findings in the report, which concludes Mueller's nearly two-year-long investigation.

WATCH: After Months of Anticipation, Mueller Probe Concludes

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It is not clear how much of the report will be provided to Congress or how much, if any of it, could become public.

Top congressional Democrats said it is 'imperative' to make the full report public. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer said in a joint statement, 'The American people have a right to the truth.''

They also said that Barr must not give Trump any 'sneak preview'' of the findings or evidence.

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Explore the Mueller investigation: Check out our timeline of events, indictment profiles and history of past investigations.

Explore the Mueller investigation: Check out our timeline of events, indictment profiles and history of past investigations.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said the White House has not received or been briefed on the report and says 'we look forward to the process taking its course.'' She said the next steps are 'up to Attorney General Barr.'

The Associated Press reported that Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani has requested an early look at the findings before they are made public, but has not received any assurances that the Trump legal team will get a preview.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he hopes that Attorney General Barr will 'provide as much information as possible'' on the findings, 'with as much openness and transparency as possible.''

Georgia Representative Doug Collins, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, said he expects the Justice Department to release the report to the committee without delay 'and to the maximum extent permitted by law.'

Another top Republican, Senator Chuck Grassley, said the findings must be made public to end the 'speculation and innuendo'' that hangs over Trump's administration.

It is not known if Mueller found criminal conduct by Trump or any of his staff, beyond the charges already brought against several aides. So far, Mueller has brought charges against 34 people, including Russian intelligence officers, and three Russian companies. Charges have also been filed against Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen.

The Democratic heads of six House committees wrote a joint letter to Barr Friday, saying, 'If the Special Counsel has reason to believe that the president has engaged in criminal or other serious misconduct, then the Justice Department has an obligation not to conceal such information. The president must be subject to accountability.'

Democratic presidential hopefuls also joined the chorus of calls for the reports release.

Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, a frequent critic of the president, requested that Barr disclose the report to the American public. Now.

Kamala Harris, a senator from California, not only demanded total transparency, but said Barr must publicly testify under oath about the investigations findings.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York said Americans have a right to know its findings.

Senator Bernie Sanders, who represents Vermont, circulated a petition calling on Barr to release the full report, saying, The president claims thats what he wants.

Pressure for the reports release is also being applied by special interest groups.

The American Civil Liberties Union urged the Justice Department to release the report swiftly because Americans have the right to know if President Trump and his associates coordinated with Russia to interfere in our elections, the full extent of Russian efforts to affect our elections, and any attempts to interfere with the investigation.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights declared, No one, not even the president, is above the law. It added the reports release is about restoring trust in our elections and shining light on potential crimes and corruption that threatens our democracy.

The liberal advocacy group, People for the American Way, said, To the greatest extent possible, Americans deserve to see the results of an investigation into the attempts to subvert our democracy. Our elected representatives have a constitutional obligation to review every single aspect of the Mueller investigation and to make sure that the public knows exactly what role the president and his allies played in Russias campaign to meddle in our elections.

In a letter to Congress, Barr said that the Justice Department did not block Mueller from taking any action during the investigation. Barr is required to report to Congress any instance in which the Justice Department overruled a requested action by Mueller.

Trump's lawyers, Giuliani and Jay Sekulow, issued joint statements Friday saying they are 'pleased'' that Mueller has delivered his report on the Russia investigation.

A spokesman for Mueller says he will be concluding his services as special counsel in the coming days and says a small number of staff will remain to assist in closing the office's operations.

The central questions that Mueller, a former FBI director, have been examining are whether Trump or his aides colluded with the Russians to undermine Democrat Hillary Clinton's campaign in 2016 and whether the president attempted to obstruct the subsequent investigation to protect himself and his political advisers and aides.

As of Saturday morning, Trump had been notably silent on the reports release. During the course of the probe, he repeatedly denied any collusion and obstruction, and called the investigation a 'witch hunt.' Russia has denied interfering in the election.

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