McConnell blocks resolution calling for Mueller report to be released publicly

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump, Dems prep for Mueller report's release McConnell touts Trump support, Supreme Court fights in reelection video Why Ken Cuccinelli should be Trump's choice for DHS MORE (R-Ky.) on Monday blocked a resolution calling for special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE's report to be released publicly. 

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSchumer slams Justice Dept over 'pre-damage control' on Mueller report Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Sanders welcomes fight with Trump over 'Medicare for all' | DOJ attorney in ObamaCare case leaving | NYC mayor defends vaccination mandate | Ohio gov signs 'heartbeat' abortion bill Dems see room for Abrams in crowded presidential field MORE (D-N.Y.) asked for unanimous consent for the nonbinding resolution, which cleared the House 420-0, to be passed by the Senate following Mueller's submission of his final report on Friday. 

ADVERTISEMENT

"Whether or not you're a supporter of President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Dems demand Barr cancel 'inappropriate' press conference on Mueller report DOJ plans to release 'lightly redacted' version of Mueller report Thursday: WaPo Nadler accuses Barr of 'unprecedented steps' to 'spin' Mueller report MORE ... there is no good reason not to make the report public," Schumer said from the floor. "It's a simple request for transparency. Nothing more, nothing less." 

But McConnell objected, noting that Attorney General William Barr is working with Mueller to determine what in his report can be released publicly and what cannot. 

"The special counsel and the Justice Department ought to be allowed to finish their work in a professional manner," McConnell said. "To date, the attorney general has followed through on his commitments to Congress. One of those commitments is that he intends to release as much information as possible." 

Under Senate rules, any one senator can try to pass or set up a vote on a bill, resolution or nomination. But in turn, any one senator can block their request.

Mueller turned his report over to the Justice Department on Friday, signaling the formal end of the two-year investigation. Barr sent a four-page letter to the House and Senate Judiciary committees on Sunday outlining Mueller's main findings.

Mueller, according to the letter, did not uncover evidence that the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government to interfere in the 2016 election.

The attorney general's letter also said that Mueller made no conclusion as to whether Trump obstructed justice in the investigation into Russia's election interference. But it states that Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod Jay RosensteinHouse Dems demand Barr cancel 'inappropriate' press conference on Mueller report Mueller won't attend Barr press conference on report Schumer slams Justice Dept over 'pre-damage control' on Mueller report MORE, after reviewing Mueller's findings, determined that they would not pursue an obstruction of justice charge.

He's separately told lawmakers he's working with Mueller to determine what in the report should or should not be publicly released. 

Schumer added after McConnell's objection that the resolution didn't say the report should be released "immediately" but just that it ought to be released. 

"I'm sort of befuddled by the majority leader's reasoning in this regard because it is not in the words of this resolution," he said. 

But McConnell countered that the president has had to wait two years while the investigation was ongoing and "it's not unreasonable to give the special counsel and the Justice Department just a little time to complete their review in a professional and responsible manner."

Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioDems say attorney general undermined credibility with Trump talking point Pollster says there is no downside to Dems jumping into 2020 primary Senate confirms Trump's pick for ambassador to Saudi Arabia MORE (R-Fla.), a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, quickly backed McConnell up in a tweet.

The GOP-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee passed legislation during the previous Congress that would protect Mueller from being fired, but it wasn't taken up on the Senate floor amid opposition from McConnell and other GOP senators. 

It's the second time a Republican senator has blocked Schumer's attempt to pass the House resolution. 

The New York Democrat’s first attempt came hours after the resolution cleared the House unanimously, but Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamWhy Ken Cuccinelli should be Trump's choice for DHS Ten post-Mueller questions that could turn the tables on Russia collusion investigators GOP senators double down on demand for Clinton email probe documents MORE (R-S.C.), the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, objected to his request

Graham blocked the resolution from passing after Schumer refused to amend it to include a provision calling on the Justice Department to appoint a special counsel to investigate alleged department misconduct in the handling of the investigation into 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonMcAuliffe says he won't run for president in 2020 Chuck Todd slams reports that DOJ briefed Trump on Mueller findings: 'This is actual collusion' Crowdfund campaign to aid historically black churches hit by fires raises over M MORE's email use and the Carter Page Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act applications.