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Mueller report submission leads to Capitol Hill chorus: Make it public

"The American people have a right to the truth. The watchword is transparency," Democratic leaders said.
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Lawmakers from both parties demanded the swift release of special counsel Robert Mueller's report after it was submitted to the Justice Department on Friday, as President Donald Trump's allies cheered the conclusion of a nearly two-year investigation that has repeatedly rocked his administration.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called for the report's public release in a statement minutes after Attorney General William Barr reported to lawmakers that he had received the report.

"The American people have a right to the truth," Schumer and Pelosi said in a joint statement. "The watchword is transparency."

No details of Mueller's findings have been released, but Barr said in the letter he may be able to brief congressional leaders on the report as soon as this weekend. Schumer told reporters Friday night that he was confident the report would eventually be made public.

"It will be made public. Public pressure will force it to be," he said.

The top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., called for the report's release "without delay."

"I fully expect the Justice Department to release the special counsel’s report to this committee and to the public without delay and to the maximum extent permitted by law," he said in a statement, noting that he looked forward to reviewing the report.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, the former chairman of the Senate Judiciary, said the report's findings should be made public "to finally put an end to the speculation and innuendo that has loomed over this administration since its earliest days."

Other Republicans caged their calls for transparency, however.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, did not call for the report’s public release, instead saying he would work with his committee to "ensure as much transparency as possible, consistent with the law."

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The South Carolina Republican, one of Trump's staunchest allies on Capitol Hill who will be with the president Friday night at his private Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, noted that Barr reported in his letter to lawmakers notifying them of his receipt of the report that he and the special counsel had not disagreed on any proposed courses of action.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., encouraged Barr — whom he applauded as "experienced and capable" — to release as much information "as possible."

As soon as news broke that the highly anticipated report had been submitted, signaling the end of Mueller's probe into Russian election interference and any possible Trump campaign involvement, Democrats rushed to demand that the public learn what's in it.

Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., demanded the investigation's documents be preserved.

"The Special Counsel's report must be provided to Congress immediately, and the Attorney General should swiftly prepare a declassified version of the report for the public," he said in a statement. "Nothing short of that will suffice."

“The American people deserve to know all the facts now. The future of American democracy depends on it," said Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., in a statement that called for the report's release.

“Our democracy deserves it,” wrote Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said concealing the report “would be tantamount to a cover-up.”

"The public interest is paramount in disclosing not only conclusions, but the facts that led to them. There is no excuse for concealing any part of this report along with its findings & evidence—it would be tantamount to a cover-up," he wrote in a tweet.

Sen. Jack Reed, the top Democrat of the Senate Armed Services Committee, called for Mueller to come before Congress.

"I urge Mr. Mueller to testify before Congress about the evidence he gathered, the scope of his work, and findings," Reed said in a statement.

The Democratic chairs from six House committees — House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., Committee on Oversight and Reform Chairman Elijah E. Cummings, D-Md., Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., Committee on Financial Services Chairwoman Maxine Waters, D-Calif., Committee on Ways and Means Chairman Richard E. Neal, D-Mass., and Committee on Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot L. Engel, D-N.Y. — issued a joint statement urging Barr to make the report public post-haste and turn over evidence to the relevant congressional panels.

"Consistent with the Justice Department's past practice and to ensure Congress can discharge its constitutional responsibilities, we also expect the underlying evidence uncovered during the course of the Special Counsel's investigation will be turned over to the relevant Committees of Congress upon request," they wrote.

They continued: "Because the Justice Department maintains that a sitting president cannot be indicted, to then withhold evidence of wrongdoing from Congress because a sitting President cannot be charged is to convert Justice Department policy into the means for a cover-up. Anything less than full transparency would raise serious questions about whether the Department of Justice policy is being used as a pretext for a cover-up of misconduct."

Meanwhile, the White House, lawyers for the president as well as some of Trump's closest allies said the attorney general would be in control of the report going forward.

"We're pleased that the Office of Special Counsel has delivered its report to the Attorney General pursuant to the regulations. Attorney General Barr will determine the appropriate next steps,” Rudy Giuliani and Jay Sekulow, members of the president's legal team for the Russia investigation, said in a statement.

Trump's former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, cheered the end of the investigation he derided.

Press secretary Sarah Sanders added that the White House "has not received or been briefed on the Special Counsel's report."