- The Department of Justice released the special counsel’s report on Thursday.
- Republicans in President Donald Trump’s inner circle celebrated the report’s findings that there was no evidence of conspiracy between the 2016 campaign and Russia.
- Supporters of the president also demanded Democrats and members of the media take a lesson from what they characterised as a smear campaign against Trump.
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WASHINGTON – Republicans closely aligned with President Donald Trump met the official public release of the special counsel’s Russia report with anger and cries of vindication Thursday, marking yet another chapter in the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US election.
Republicans had previously celebrated and claimed complete exoneration after Attorney General William Barr released his summary of former FBI Director Robert Mueller’s investigation. The summary said Mueller had found no conspiracy or cooperation between the Trump campaign and Russia but left the question of obstruction of justice wide open.
With Thursday’s release of the official report to Congress, those same Republicans ran victory laps around those who had previously said there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russians, and demanded swift justice for what they characterised as a smear campaign against the president.
The Republican National Committee’s chairwoman, Ronna McDaniel, said in a statement that the report was a “complete and total vindication of President Trump.”
“It is increasingly clear that the only scandal here is the Obama administration’s repeated failure to act against Russian cybermeddling,” she added. “Instead, they prioritised spying on a political opponent – the Trump campaign – and used a phony DNC-funded dossier as justification.”
McDaniel then called for an investigation into how the investigation began, citing “fake and partisan information.”
“After two years and over $US35 million, American taxpayers deserve answers and the integrity of our democratic process depends on ensuring this never happens again,” she said.
The president’s son Donald Trump Jr. defended himself against accusations he might have colluded with the Russians, saying he was fully transparent with Mueller’s team.
“Despite the media’s endless lies about me supposedly committing perjury, I spent 27 hours testifying under oath to Congress & was always open/honest with them,” he wrote on Twitter. “It’s pretty clear that had I done something wrong, Muellers team of Dems would have charged me. Better luck next hoax!”
Brad Parscale, the manager for Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign, said in a statement that Trump had been “fully and completely exonerated yet again” and took aim at those who initiated the investigation.
“Now the tables have turned, and it’s time to investigate the liars who instigated this sham investigation into President Trump, motivated by political retribution and based on no evidence whatsoever,” Parscale said. “There is simply no denying that ‘spying did occur’ on the Trump campaign during the 2016 election, as Attorney General Barr himself noted in testimony before Congress.”
“Now that the collusion and obstruction conspiracy theories have been exposed for the pathetic hoaxes they always were, the Obama-era DOJ and FBI must answer for their misdeeds and the scam that they perpetrated against the American people,” he added. “Justice will be served.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a close confidant of Trump’s, said in a statement, “It is time to move on.”
“Americans deserve better than this partisan quest to vilify a political opponent and I urge our Democratic colleagues in the House to put their emotions and opinions aside, and instead use that passion to come to the table and work on real solutions for all Americans,” McCarthy added.
Jason Miller, a former senior communications adviser to Trump’s campaign, mockingly told his Twitter followers to be kind to anyone who might have been hoping for an alternative conclusion.
“If you see a crazed, triggered #CollusionDelusion truther today, particularly in the DC area, please show them compassion,” Miller wrote on Twitter. “You have no idea how hard this is for them.”
Andrew Surabian, a former assistant to Trump and confidant of Trump Jr., suggested reporters should be less trustworthy of Obama-era officials.
“The biggest lesson for the media regarding the #RussiaHoax is that they should be a lot less trusting of using current & former national security state officials as anonymous sources,” he wrote on Twitter. “Maybe just maybe, people who are trained in disinformation aren’t the most trustworthy sources?”
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