2020 Dems call on Mueller to testify about redacted report

2020 Dems call on Mueller to testify about redacted report
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Democratic presidential hopefuls called for special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump orders more troops to Mideast amid Iran tensions Trump: Democrats just want Mueller to testify for a 'do-over' Graham: Mueller investigation a 'political rectal exam' MORE to testify before Congress after the Justice Department released a redacted version of the report on the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

The demands started coming minutes after Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrPapadopoulos on AG's new powers: 'Trump is now on the offense' House Democrats must insist that Robert Mueller testifies publicly Why Mueller may be fighting a public hearing on Capitol Hill MORE held a news conference earlier on Thursday in which he defended President TrumpDonald John TrumpPapadopoulos on AG's new powers: 'Trump is now on the offense' Pelosi uses Trump to her advantage Mike Pence delivers West Point commencement address MORE as well as his own determination that the president did not obstruct justice based on his reading of the Mueller report.

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Four contenders, Sens. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharKlobuchar to roll out policy priorities for farmers in Iowa 2020 hopeful John Delaney unveils T climate plan Samantha Bee slams 2020 Democrats who go on Fox News MORE (D-Minn.), Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisSan Francisco police chief apologizes for raid on journalist's home Gillibrand seizes on abortion debate to jump-start campaign Senate Democrats to House: Tamp down the impeachment talk MORE (D-Calif.), Cory BookerCory Anthony Booker2020 Democrats target federal ban on abortion funding Gillibrand seizes on abortion debate to jump-start campaign 2020 hopeful John Delaney unveils T climate plan MORE (D-N.J.) and Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandTrump defense pick expected to face tense confirmation 2020 Democrats target federal ban on abortion funding Gillibrand seizes on abortion debate to jump-start campaign MORE (D-N.Y.), quickly issued calls for Mueller’s testimony.

Only the person that conducted the investigation, they argued, could provide answers to the questions surrounding Russia’s role in the 2016 election and Trump’s conduct toward the special counsel probe.

“Barr is acting more like Trump’s defense attorney than the nation's Attorney General. His press conference was a stunt, filled with political spin and propaganda,” Harris wrote on Twitter.

“Americans deserve the unvarnished truth. We need Special Counsel Mueller to testify publicly in Congress.” 

Klobuchar released a video statement in which she insisted that Mueller should go before the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

“We want to hear from Director Mueller himself,” she said. “He should be able to give us his own views of what happened here so we can answer questions. He’s the one that conducted this major investigation and he’s the one — not Attorney General Barr — that should answer the questions of America.”

Booker echoed that call, asserting that Congress and the American people “need to hear directly from the person who authored the report.” 

Gillibrand demanded not only that Mueller testify before Congress, but that lawmakers hold public hearings with multiple witnesses. She also said that members of Congress should be allowed to see an unredacted version of the special counsel’s report.

“Now that the Mueller report is public, the American people deserve full transparency and accountability,” Gillibrand tweeted. “The Senate should hold public hearings on the investigation with major witnesses and Mueller should testify to his findings. And give Congress the full, unredacted report.” 

The field of presidential contenders had earlier denounced Barr for holding a news conference before the Mueller report was released, seeing it as an attempt to downplay findings that could be viewed as damaging or embarrassing to Trump and put a partisan spin on a report ahead of its publication.

The release of Mueller’s report on Thursday came weeks after the special counsel concluded his nearly two-year investigation into whether the Trump campaign conspired with the Russian government to influence the 2016 election.

Barr's four-page summary of the investigation’s principle findings released last month said that Mueller’s team was unable to uncover evidence of coordination between the Trump campaign and Moscow.

It also noted that the special counsel could not clear the president on the question of whether he obstructed justice. Ultimately, Barr made the determination not to pursue such a case.

Barr's decision, as well as his news conference ahead of the redacted report’s release on Thursday morning, has fueled criticism by Democrats that the nation’s top law enforcement official has politicized a national security probe.

“AG Barr should work to protect the interests of the people, not the President,” John HickenlooperJohn Wright HickenlooperThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump says no legislation until Dems end probes Budowsky: 3 big dangers for Democrats Biden retains large lead over Sanders, other 2020 Dems in new Hill-HarrisX poll MORE, the former Colorado governor and a 2020 presidential contender, wrote on Twitter. “It's clear from this morning's press conference where his allegiances lie. The American people deserve answers.” 

“The Attorney General should be the nation’s top law enforcement officer – not a spokesman for the president,” Washington state Gov. Jay InsleeJay Robert InsleeOvernight Energy: Democrats push EPA to collect 4K in 'excessive' Pruitt travel expenses | Greens angered over new rules for rocket fuel chemical | Inslee to join youth climate strikers in Las Vegas Inslee hits 65,000 donor threshold for primary debate Inslee says he'll join youth climate strikers in Las Vegas MORE, another Democratic hopeful, tweeted. “This press conference was a disgrace.”

Another 2020 candidate, Rep. Eric SwalwellEric Michael SwalwellHouse Intelligence enjoys breakthrough with Justice Department Hillicon Valley: Assange hit with 17 more charges | Facebook removes record 2.2B fake profiles | Senate passes anti-robocall bill | Senators offer bill to help companies remove Huawei equipment On The Money: Senate passes disaster aid bill after deal with Trump | Trump to offer B aid package for farmers | House votes to boost retirement savings | Study says new tariffs to double costs for consumers MORE (D-Calif.), went even further in his criticism of Barr, calling on the attorney general to step down in the wake of the Thursday news conference. 

“He made a show of allegiance to the President over the American people by declaring ‘no collusion’ and excusing the President on the basis of his emotional state,” Swalwell said in a statement. “He has proved that he’s an embedded Trump ally who puts this President’s political future above of the rule of law. That makes him unfit to serve. He must resign.”