Democratic presidential hopefuls called for special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel 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 BarrBill BarrTrump pushes back on book claims, says he spent 'virtually no time' discussing election with Lee, Graham Woodward: Milley was 'setting in motion sensible precautions' with calls to China Barr-Durham investigation again fails to produce a main event MORE held a news conference earlier on Thursday in which he defended President TrumpDonald TrumpTexas announces election audit in four counties after Trump demand Schumer sets Monday showdown on debt ceiling-government funding bill Pennsylvania AG sues to block GOP subpoenas in election probe MORE as well as his own determination that the president did not obstruct justice based on his reading of the Mueller report.
Four contenders, Sens. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharHillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — Officials want action on cyberattacks Senate panel advances antitrust bill that eyes Google, Facebook This week: Democrats face mounting headaches MORE (D-Minn.), Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisBiden taps big bank skeptic to for top regulatory post Harris unveils 0M commitment to new global health fund Senate advances Biden consumer bureau pick after panel logjam MORE (D-Calif.), Cory BookerCory BookerThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Biden jumps into frenzied Dem spending talks Biden employs flurry of meetings to unite warring factions Biden says he will review executive actions after police reform talks fail MORE (D-N.J.) and Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Gillibrand11 senators urge House to pass .5T package before infrastructure bill Hochul tells Facebook to 'clean up the act' on abortion misinformation after Texas law Democratic senators request probe into Amazon's treatment of pregnant employees 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.”
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.⁰ ⁰Americans deserve the unvarnished truth. We need Special Counsel Mueller to testify publicly in Congress.— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) April 18, 2019
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.”
Robert Mueller must testify in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee as soon as possible. Congress & the American people need to hear directly from the person who authored the report.— Sen. Cory Booker (@SenBooker) April 18, 2019
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.”
Now that the Mueller report is public, the American people deserve full transparency and accountability.— Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (@gillibrandny) April 18, 2019
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 HickenlooperRep. Tim Ryan becomes latest COVID-19 breakthrough case in Congress NY Democrat tests positive for COVID-19 in latest House breakthrough case Florida Democrat becomes latest breakthrough COVID-19 case in House 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.”
AG Barr should work to protect the interests of the people, not the President. It's clear from this morning's press conference where his allegiances lie. The American people deserve answers.— John Hickenlooper (@Hickenlooper) April 18, 2019
“The Attorney General should be the nation’s top law enforcement officer – not a spokesman for the president,” Washington state Gov. Jay InsleeJay Robert Inslee Washington state extends eviction protections through end of October Washington governor to Idaho officials: Stop 'clogging up my hospitals' Seattle area to require COVID-19 vaccine to enter indoor venues MORE, another Democratic hopeful, tweeted. “This press conference was a disgrace.”
The Attorney General should be the nation’s top law enforcement officer - not a spokesman for the president. This press conference was a disgrace.— Jay Inslee (@JayInslee) April 18, 2019
Another 2020 candidate, Rep. Eric SwalwellEric Michael SwalwellOvernight Defense & National Security — Milley becomes lightning rod The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by National Industries for the Blind - Schumer: Dem unity will happen eventually; Newsom prevails How lawmakers aided the Afghan evacuation 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.”