McConnell blocks resolution calling for Mueller report to be released publicly

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's Coronavirus Report: Former Trump advisor Bossert says to test the well, not ill; Senate standoff on next relief bill McCarthy slams Democrats on funding for mail-in balloting Harris, Ocasio-Cortez among Democrats calling for recurring direct payments in fourth coronavirus bill MORE (R-Ky.) on Monday blocked a resolution calling for special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE's report to be released publicly. 

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerHarris, Ocasio-Cortez among Democrats calling for recurring direct payments in fourth coronavirus bill House Republicans, key administration officials push for additional funding for coronavirus small business loans Rep. Massie threatens to block next relief bill, calls for remote voting 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. 

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"Whether or not you're a supporter of President TrumpDonald John TrumpSanders says he wouldn't 'drop dead' if Trump decided on universal healthcare Overnight Health Care: Trump officials lay groundwork for May reopening | Democrats ramp up talks with Mnuchin on next relief deal | Fauci says death toll could be around 60,000 Hillicon Valley: State officials push for more election funds | Coronavirus surveillance concerns ramp up pressure for privacy bill | Senators warned not to use Zoom | Agencies ask FCC to revoke China Telecom's license 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 BarrWilliam Pelham BarrOvernight Health Care: Trump officials lay groundwork for May reopening | Democrats ramp up talks with Mnuchin on next relief deal | Fauci says death toll could be around 60,000 COVID-19 is no excuse for Attorney General Barr to skirt the rule of law Trump officials lay groundwork for May reopening MORE 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 RosensteinCOVID-19 is no excuse for Attorney General Barr to skirt the rule of law Full appeals court to rehear case over McGahn subpoena Graham starts closed-door depositions in FISA probe 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 RubioSenate blocks dueling coronavirus relief plans Five problems banks face in getting coronavirus relief out the door Mnuchin, Schumer in talks to strike short-term relief deal 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 GrahamBipartisan senators call on China to close all wet markets Bipartisan lawmakers call for global 'wet markets' ban amid coronavirus crisis Trump attacks WHO amid criticism of his coronavirus response 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 ClintonBiden releases plans to expand Medicare, forgive student debt The Memo: Sanders's influence endures as campaign ends The two infectious diseases spreading across America MORE's email use and the Carter Page Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act applications.