- The former special counsel Robert Mueller made a public statement Wednesday reiterating the findings of his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
- Numerous Republicans shifted their tone slightly following his comments, but most remained adamant that there was no wrongdoing on President Donald Trump’s part and that the US should move on.
- Few Republicans have spoken out about the investigation’s findings in ways that reflect poorly on Trump, with just one saying he committed impeachable offenses.
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WASHINGTON – Republicans in Congress and President Donald Trump’s inner circle answered the former special counsel Robert Mueller’s public statement Wednesday with repeated claims there was no wrongdoing on the president’s part, even with Democrats ramping up calls for impeachment proceedings.
Republicans have by and large stood by the president, who holds a commanding level of favorability with GOP voters. But after Mueller’s remarks Wednesday on his investigation into 2016 Russian election interference, some Republicans slightly adjusted their tone in relation to accusations that Trump obstructed justice.
“Today’s statement by Mr. Mueller reinforces the findings of his report,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, said in a statement. “And as for me, the case is over.”
“Without an underlying offence or collusion, and the overwhelming cooperation by the Trump White House with the Mueller investigation, the attorney general’s decision on obstruction is sound,” he added. “It will be the final word in my view.”
Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, the House Judiciary Committee’s ranking Republican, echoed Graham by calling for Congress to move on and pursue other business.
“Special Counsel Mueller confirmed today what we knew months ago when his report was released: There was no collusion and no obstruction,” Collins said in a statement. “Relitigating the 2016 election and reinvestigating the special counsel’s findings will only further divide our country. I appreciate Special Counsel Mueller highlighting the grave threat Russian interference in our elections poses to our democracy.”
A slight change in tone came from Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign manager, Brad Parscale.
In April, when Attorney General William Barr released a partially redacted copy of the special counsel’s final report, Parscale said in a tweet: “No Collusion. No Obstruction.”
But on Wednesday, when Mueller reiterated that he did not “make a determination as to whether the president did commit a crime,” Parscale followed with a slight tweak as it related to obstruction-of-justice accusations, emphasising there was “no case for obstruction.”
“Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s remarks today confirmed what we already knew. There was no collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign, and there was no case for obstruction,” Parscale said in a statement. “President Trump has been fully and completely exonerated. Mueller said his investigation is over. The case is now closed.”
Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan has made headlines and drawn the ire of his fellow Republicans by being the only GOP member of Congress to say Trump engaged in impeachable conduct.
Minutes after Mueller concluded his statement Wednesday without taking any questions from reporters, Amash suggested action should be taken, writing in a post on Twitter, “The ball is in our court, Congress.”
Amash is on an island in the GOP as it relates to impeachment. Others, however, have expressed dissatisfaction with how the special counsel’s report described Trump’s behaviour.
“I am sickened at the extent and pervasiveness of dishonesty and misdirection by individuals in the highest office of the land, including the president,” Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah said in an April statement. As of Wednesday, Romney has not weighed in on Mueller’s latest statement.
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