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Washington’s political leaders respond to Mueller report

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The summary of the Mueller report is simply not enough. That is the growing message from Democrats, Congress members, and other Washington leaders.

“We haven’t seen anything, basically a three-page letter so far,” said Congress Member Pramila Jayapal. “And I think it is deeply concerning that we don’t have the full report.”

Attorney General William Barr told Congress this weekend that the report from special counsel Robert Mueller does not conclude the Trump campaign colluded with Russia in the 2016 election. He further says that it does not prove that President Trump attempted to obstruct justice, nor does it exonerate him. A full report has not yet been made available to the public or Congress members.

The House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler says he’ll be calling on U.S. Attorney General William Barr to testify in the near future. Jayapal also serves on that committee.

Responding to Mueller report

Many of Washington state’s political leaders have demanded the release of the full report. Congress Member Denny Heck agrees with Jayapal. He told CNN Sunday, moments after the letter was released, that he wants to see the full report.

“I think it’s very curious as to why (Barr) said ‘Russian government,’” Heck said. “Because, as we know, often times the way the Russian government intelligence community operates is through cutouts, or people who don’t work specifically for the government but on behalf of the government. And it begs this question, again, of the importance and necessity for the entire Mueller report to be revealed. It needs to be a transparent process.”

Rep. Kim Schrier, who represents Washington’s 8th District, echoes her colleagues.

“I am glad that Mueller has completed his work investigating the actions of the president and his associates,” Schrier said Monday. “The American people have a right to see the full report and findings. I hope the full report is released soon.”

Rounding out the Democratic responses was Congress Member Adam Smith.

“It is imperative that the American people and the United States Congress see the entire Muller report,” he said in a statement issued Tuesday evening. “Thus far, we have not seen a single word that we know for a fact Special Counsel Mueller wrote, only Attorney General Barr’s opinion of that report.”

Republican Congress Member Dan Newhouse, who represents Washington’s 4th District, said the report is good news for America.

“No collusion. No obstruction,” he said in a statement. “That is the conclusion of Special Counsel Mueller, Attorney General Barr, and Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein. This is a great day for every American who values the truth, justice, and the rule of law.”

Republican Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who represents Eastern Washington’s 5th District also issued a statement, indicating she wants to see the full report:

I look forward to seeing the special counsel’s full report, but as more details continue to come forward, it proves what President Trump has been saying all along — there was no collusion. As I voted in favor of earlier this month, this report should be made available to the public for all to see. My only hope now is that we can all move forward and focus on the big issues facing our country.

Ongoing impact

Former Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna explained to KIRO Radio that Barr’s response, and the report, doesn’t draw conclusions. In short, there is not enough evidence to establish a legal argument that the president committed obstruction of justice.

Congress may have difficulty accessing the report, McKenna said. But there are ways around that.

“What they can do, of course, is replicate the investigation,” he said. “Call their own witnesses, take their own depositions, engage in their own discovery, and get at that same information directly.”

And despite the lack of a conclusion, the report, and the fallout from the investigation, could still impact the president.

“You can see the campaign ads where they just show one mug shot after another of individuals close to President Trump, worked on his campaign, or both, who were indicted, convicted, or pleaded guilty, including those who pleaded guilty to some form of obstruction,” McKenna said.

Congress Member Heck already spoke to that point over the weekend.

“This begs the question as to why is it that so many people, so close to the president, are going to jail for having lied?” Heck said. “He’s also characterized this as a witch hunt. Well, if it was a witch hunt, there were a lot of witches found. And their names were Flynn, and Cohen, Manafort, and right on down the line.”

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