Washington, D.C. (NBC News/KSBY Staff) – Many Republicans are cheering and some Democrats are scoffing as the first word on the details of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation emerge.
For supporters of President Donald Trump, the four-page summary of the investigative findings released by Attorney General William Barr felt like an exoneration of the man they support.
For Trump’s opponents, some of whom had visions of the Mueller’s work ending with the president being led away in handcuffs, it is a disappointment.
Congressional Republicans focused on the first part of that statement. “No collusion and no obstruction. The cloud hanging over President Trump has been removed by this report,” said Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who spent the weekend with Trump in Mar-a-Lago, in a statement.
“Bad day for those hoping the Mueller investigation would take President Trump down,” added Graham, who praised Mueller and his team.
The Russia investigation “was based on false pretenses, false intel, and false media reports,” tweeted former House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., a strong supporter of the president. “House Intel found a year ago there was no evidence of collusion, and Democrats who falsely claim to have such evidence have needlessly provoked a terrible, more than two-year-long crisis.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., echoed the attack. “Democrat leaders acted irresponsibly and threw caution to the wind to damage and distract from the work the Trump administration is doing on behalf of our fellow citizens. While this conclusion is an embarrassment to those Democrats, it is more discouraging to think of the opportunity costs to our country.”
Hill Democrats on Sunday reiterated their calls for the public release of Mueller’s report and the underlying documents. On Twitter, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., highlighted the line in the summary that said the report “does not exonerate” Trump.
In a follow-up tweet, Nadler said that he’d like Barr to testify before Congress. “In light of the very concerning discrepancies and final decision making at the Justice Department following the Special Counsel report, where Mueller did not exonerate the President, we will be calling Attorney General Barr in to testify before @HouseJudiciary in the near future,” he said.
Central Coast Representative of the 24th District, Salud Carbajal, D-Calif., tweeted his belief that the Mueller report should be made public. He added this in a 2nd tweet.
Attorney General Barr’s brief summary of Mueller’s investigation raises more questions than it answers – and by no means exonerates the President.
— Rep. Salud Carbajal (@RepCarbajal) March 24, 2019
Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Sunday that Barr’s letter “raises as many questions as it answers.”
“The fact that Special Counsel Mueller’s report does not exonerate the president on a charge as serious as obstruction of justice demonstrates how urgent it is that the full report and underlying documentation be made public without any further delay,” the pair said in a joint statement. “Given Mr. Barr’s public record of bias against the Special Counsel’s inquiry, he is not a neutral observer and is not in a position to make objective determinations about the report.”
California Senator Kamala Harris, D-Calif., who is also running for President, pushed for a full release of the Special Counsel’s report.
The Mueller report needs to be made public, the underlying investigative materials should be handed over to Congress, and Barr must testify. That is what transparency looks like. A short letter from Trump's hand-picked Attorney General is not sufficient.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) March 24, 2019
Senator Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., also joined her party in calling for a full release. Saying in part “Congress must do its job and determine whether President Trump abused his authority and what next steps are appropriate,” Feinstein said.
The probe, which was launched in May 2017, employed 19 lawyers with the assistance of 40 FBI agents, intelligence analysts, forensic accountants, and other professional staff. Barr said that Mueller issued more than 2,800 subpoenas, executed nearly 500 search warrants, obtained more than 230 orders for communication records and made requests to 13 foreign governments for evidence, the summary said.
What seemed certain in the wake of Sunday’s release was that it marked no end to the political divide, to the fierce criticism of Trump or to calls for more of Mueller’s report to be released.
Members of Congress are scheduled to return to Washington on Monday following a week-long recess. All eyes will be on Capitol Hill, where key oversight committees plan to scrutinize Mueller’s findings.