[image-1] As information from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation slowly trickles out of the Department of Justice, politicians across the country are weighing in on the findings.
Mueller investigated Russian interference in the 2016 election for two years. As part of the probe, he and his team looked into any possible cooperation between Russia and President Donald Trump’s campaign, along with possible obstruction of justice by the president himself.
Not much is known yet. The full report has not been released, but Attorney General William Barr, who has previously expressed skepticism over Mueller’s investigation, delivered a four-page summary of Mueller’s findings to top members of Congress on Sunday.
President Trump nominated Barr in December. He took over the job from Jeff Sessions, who resigned at the request of the president after recusing himself from the investigation into Russian interference in March 2017.
In his summary, Barr wrote that “the Special Counsel did not find that the Trump campaign, or anyone associated with it, conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in these efforts, despite multiple offers from Russian-affiliated individuals to assist the Trump campaign.” On the issue of obstruction of justice, Mueller wrote that “while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”
Despite that clear distinction, the president took to Twitter to claim “Total EXONERATION” over the weekend.
[embed-2] In a TV interview, Trump told journalist Lester Holt that “this Russia thing” was part of the reason why he fired FBI Director James Comey in May 2017. Some have questioned whether the firing constituted obstruction of justice, though Trump is constitutionally allowed to get rid of the FBI director.
Rep. Jim Clyburn, who represents parts of Charleston in the 6th Congressional District, says the five U.S. House will continue to look into the Trump administration through the five House committees currently investigating various allegations against the president’s finances and conduct.
“We should not construe a four page letter from the Attorney General with the complete findings of special counsel Mueller’s investigation,” Clyburn said in a statement on Sunday. “The entire findings of the report must be made public to Congress and the American people before we draw any conclusions.”
Responding to a July 2017 tweet, Rep. Joe Cunningham, who represents the coastal 1st Congressional District, walked back his premature speculation that the president had colluded with Russia.
[embed-1] “Rushing to judgement without all the facts was a mistake,” he said in a statement released on Monday. “I fully accept the findings of Robert Mueller’s investigation and believe it’s good for America that he found no apparent evidence of collusion between the president and a hostile state.”
The National Republican Congressional Committee, which works to elect Republicans to the U.S. House, sent supporters a mock “apology” from the freshman congressman in an email Tuesday afternoon.
“In the future I will stop being so emotional and such an extremist,” the committee jabbed.
Like Clyburn, Cunningham also called for the full report to be released.
Sen. Tim Scott took to Twitter to decry the investigation’s $25 million price tag.
[embed-3] “The report is good news for the republic and we need to close this chapter of our nation’s history and move on,” he added.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, who has recently aligned himself with the president more and more, used the end of the investigation to gloat.
“Good day for the rule of law,” he said in a series of statements released Sunday. “Great day for President Trump and his team. No collusion and no obstruction. The cloud hanging over President Trump has been removed by this report.
“Bad day for those hoping the Mueller investigation would take President Trump down,” he added.
Graham says he’ll be speaking with Barr on Tuesday night about what parts of the hotel will be able to released.
The S.C. Republican Party echoed some of Trump’s own feelings about the investigation, which he has repeatedly called a “witch hunt” — sometimes in all-caps.
“After two years of burdensome and overzealous investigations, costing the American taxpayers tens of millions of dollars, the Mueller report has returned exactly what President Trump has said it would: no collusion!” the party said in a statement released Monday. “This investigation will go down in history as one of the widest ranging, longest and most expensive investigations ever. And for what? Absolutely nothing.”
Tim Sullivan, director of communications for the S.C. Democratic Party, says the party is more focused on local issues, though he emphasized that Mueller’s full report is yet to come.
“We have to fix roads, get people healthcare, and provide quality educations for our children,” he said in a statement. “Our goal at the end of the day is to try and provide the best quality of life possible to the people of South Carolina and whatever it says in the report doesn’t change that.”
Gov. Henry McMaster did not immediately respond to a request for comment.