Post-Mueller, Democrats Still See Obstruction, Republicans Say Move On

April 18, 2019 Updated: April 18, 2019

WASHINGTON—Before the Mueller report became public on April 18, Democrats contended President Donald Trump is unfit for office because he obstructed justice, while Republicans insisted that it’s time to move on from the investigations and allegations.

And after Attorney General William Barr released a lightly redacted version of the Mueller Report?

Democrats still argued that Trump obstructed justice and should be thrown out, while Republicans say they need to leave the Russia collusion scandal behind and get serious about addressing the nation’s grave problems.

More than anything else in the 448-page report, Democrats pointed to this passage in which special counsel Robert Mueller said:

“If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the president clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, however, we are unable to reach that judgment.”

That passage was prominent in a statement by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) a few hours after Barr’s morning meeting with reporters to discuss his release of the report.

“The special counsel made clear that he did not exonerate the president. The responsibility now falls to Congress to hold the president accountable for his actions,” Nadler said.

Nadler added that “because Congress requires this material in order to perform our constitutionally mandated responsibilities, I will issue a subpoena for the full report and the underlying evidence,” in an apparent reference to the impeachment process.

When a reporter asked Nadler, “Does that mean impeachment?” he replied, “That’s one possibility; obviously, there are others. We have to get to the bottom of what happened and take whatever actions seem necessary.”

At almost the same time, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a joint statement that “the differences are stark between what Attorney General Barr said on obstruction and what special counsel Mueller said on obstruction.

“As we continue to review the report, one thing is clear: Attorney General Barr presented a conclusion that the president did not obstruct justice, while Mueller’s report appears to undercut that finding.”

The two Democrats also said Congress must have the full, un-redacted report and they want Mueller and Barr to testify on Capitol Hill to answer questions about their actions and conclusions.

‘Move On’

For their part, Republicans boosted Trump, hailed Barr, and urged a new focus on Congress.

“I think he has every right to feel good about what we’ve heard today,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

“Nothing we saw today changes the underlying results of the 22-month-long Mueller investigation that ultimately found no collusion,” said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).

“Notwithstanding the partisan echo chamber to do otherwise, I fully approve of how Attorney General Barr has balanced legal requirements with the public’s need to know in handling the release of the report,” he said.

“It is time to move on. Americans deserve better than this partisan quest to vilify a political opponent. 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 said.

Impeachment

The same pattern was seen April 18 among Democratic and Republican political strategists.

Due to the Mueller statement cited by Nadler, Jim Manley, a Washington-based Democrat, told The Epoch Times he sees impeachment as a growing possibility.

“I’d hate to be Speaker Pelosi and her staff right now because, with the release of the report, the push for impeachment is only going to grow. She successfully pushed it aside a while ago. It will be interesting to see if she can do it again,” said Manley, who was previously communications director for then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

Jimmy Williams, a former senior economic adviser to Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) and now a South Carolina-based strategist, told The Epoch Times he has no doubt that the full, un-redacted report should be released to Congress.

“The American people paid for this report. They deserve to see all of it. Period,” Williams said.

Asked if he would include grand jury, intelligence sources and methods, and ongoing investigation materials, Williams said, “Eventually, yes. At some point, all of these state and lower Justice Department investigations have to conclude.”

Republicans expect no letup from the Democrats, despite the Mueller report.

“Democrats will keep making demands. Nothing will ever be enough. They will use the redacted version to attempt to impeach Trump for obstruction, but that will be partisan and pointless,” Texas-based campaign strategist Matt Mackowiak told The Epoch Times.

“Speaker Pelosi has said impeachment must be impeachable. The question now is whether she can hold off her rabid progressive base by holding to that standard,” Mackowiak said.

Americans for Limited Government President Richard Manning told The Epoch Times that “Democrats should never mention the Mueller report again, as it exposes that their entire obsession about Russian collusion as unambiguously false.”

And while they don’t expect Democrats to change their tune, Republicans told The Epoch Times they expect Barr and Senate Republicans to leave no stone unturned in the investigation of the origins of the Russia collusion probes under President Barack Obama.

“The origin of the Mueller investigation, including the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) abuses, will now be investigated by the Senate Judiciary Committee,” Mackowiak said.

“Hopefully, Attorney General Barr will also fully probe that issue to determine if laws were broken,” he said.

Manning agreed, saying “the Mueller report begs for this investigation,” but Mark Fitzgibbons, a Virginia-based Republican marketing expert with American Target Advertising, sounded a cautionary note, saying he worries that Barr “will find that the system is so rigged to protect law-breaking within the government that he may conclude the effort is beyond his resources, even as U.S. Attorney General.”

And if that occurs, he predicted, “America is bound to repeat this fiasco one way or another.”

Contact Mark Tapscott at mark.tapscott@epochtimes.nyc

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