- The 18 Democratic candidates vying to take on President Donald Trump in 2020 are reacting strongly to the special counsel Robert Mueller’s report – and to Attorney General William Barr’s framing of the findings.
- The 448-page report said Mueller’s team didn’t find sufficient evidence to bring a charge of conspiracy against anyone involved in the Trump campaign and did not come to a “traditional prosecutorial decision” as to whether Trump had committed obstruction of justice.
- While 2020 Democrats are unlikely to make Trump-Russia investigations a major campaign issue, the report is likely to serve as campaign-trail fodder for the Democrats hoping to defeat Trump.
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The 18 Democratic candidates vying to take on President Donald Trump in 2020 are reacting strongly to the special counsel Robert Mueller’s report – and to Attorney General William Barr’s framing of Mueller’s findings.
During the 2018 midterms, Democratic candidates running for Congress focused their messaging mainly around issues like healthcare, taxes, and education – deferring on taking a stance on whether Trump should be impeached until after seeing the report.
In the 448-page report, released Thursday, the special counsel’s team said it did not find sufficient evidence to bring a charge of conspiracy against anyone involved in the Trump campaign over Russian meddling in the 2016 US election.
The report also said that while Mueller’s team did not make a “traditional prosecutorial judgment” as to whether Trump obstructed the Mueller investigation and other federal investigations involving him, they could not “exonerate” him on allegations of obstruction of justice.
Mueller’s report detailed 11 separate instances that were examined on suspicion of obstruction of justice – but said that by not executing his wishes, Trump’s own aides and advisers may have stopped him from committing more clear-cut obstruction.
By all accounts, 2020 Democrats are still unlikely to center their campaign messages on the Trump-Russia investigations.
But the report’s murky conclusions on obstruction – and its conclusion that the Trump campaign believed it would benefit from Russian interference in the 2016 election – will most likely serve as campaign-trail fodder for the Democrats hoping to defeat Trump in 2020.
Here are the presidential candidates who have weighed in so far on the Mueller report, and what they have said:
Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont wrote: “It is clear that Donald Trump wanted nothing more than to shut down the Mueller investigation. While we have more detail from today’s report than before, Congress must continue its investigation into Trump’s conduct and any foreign attempts to influence our election.”
Source: Bernie Sanders/Twitter
Sen. Kamala Harris, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said: “Congress needs to see the full, unredacted Mueller report and all of the investigation’s underlying evidence — and Special Counsel Robert Mueller must testify publicly before Congress.”
Source: Kamala Harris/Twitter
After Attorney General William Barr’s press conference but before the report was released, Sen. Cory Booker, also a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said: “The American people deserve the truth. Not spin from a Trump appointee. Release Mueller’s full report now.”
Source: Cory Booker/Twitter
Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana: “The Mueller report is a disturbing if not completely surprising collection of evidence that shows a president putting his own interests ahead of the country’s. Today again demonstrates why we need to change the channel in 2020.”
Sen. Elizabeth Warren said: “Congress needs to see the full, unredacted report. Special Counsel Robert Mueller should testify before Congress and the American people as soon as possible.”
Source: Elizabeth Warren/Twitter
Former HUD Secretary Julían Castro said: “Far from exonerating anyone, the Special Counsel report exposes disgraceful behaviour by Donald Trump and his inner circle—both in seeking assistance from Russia & attempting to cover it up. Mueller should testify and Congress should investigate charges of obstruction of justice.”
Source: Julian Castro/Twitter
Rep. Eric Swalwell of California said: “It sounds like the report suggests the President obstructed justice, but Barr excused him of that because the President was frustrated by the critical coverage he was receiving from the press. That’s not a temperament worthy of the President of the United States. Anger cannot be a defence for a President defying the rule of law.”
Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota said: “Attorney General Barr has made it clear he is not impartial when it comes to this investigation. Now that we have the report we should hear from Robert Mueller himself in public hearings. Our democracy demands it.”
Source: Amy Klobuchar/Twitter
Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado said: “AG Barr should work to protect the interests of the people, not the President. It’s clear from this morning’s press conference where his allegiances lie. The American people deserve answers.”
Source: John Hickenlooper/Twitter
The entrepreneur Andrew Yang said: “I am glad that the Mueller Report has been made public. It’s important to the American people. My focus is on beating Donald Trump at the ballot box and solving the problems that got him elected in the first place.”
Source: Andrew Yang/Twitter
Rep. John Delaney wrote: “The one conclusion that every American should reach from the Mueller report is that we are better than this. We deserve a President free on conflicts, conducting themselves with honour and integrity, and possessing a moral compass that guides their actions. We have to win in 2020.”
Source: John Delaney/Twitter
Marianne Williamson wrote: “Using the role of AG for purposes of political messaging is a degradation of the office; William Barr has shown himself to be just another political lackey who serves to do the President’s bidding above all else. The president said he wanted a Roy Cohn and apparently he found it.”
Source: Marianne Williamson/Twitter
Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio said: “Special Counsel Robert Mueller should be called to testify before Congress. No more summaries, no more redactions — the American people deserve complete transparency. Full stop,”
Source: Rep. Tim Ryan
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand wrote: “We can’t trust Trump’s handpicked AG to be transparent about the Mueller report. Congress needs to see it in full—and the public needs to know whether Trump obstructed justice.”
Source: Kirsten Gillibrand/Twitter
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