Durbin calls Mueller report findings on Trump team 'troubling'

Durbin calls Mueller report findings on Trump team 'troubling'
© Stefani Reynolds

Senate Minority Whip Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinHillicon Valley: Zuckerberg would support delaying Libra | More attorneys general join Facebook probe | Defense chief recuses from 'war cloud' contract | Senate GOP blocks two election security bills | FTC brings case against 'stalking' app developer Senate Republicans block two election security bills Democrats dig in ahead of Supreme Court ruling on 'Dreamers' MORE (D-Ill.) says special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerFox News legal analyst says Trump call with Ukraine leader could be 'more serious' than what Mueller 'dragged up' Lewandowski says Mueller report was 'very clear' in proving 'there was no obstruction,' despite having 'never' read it Fox's Cavuto roasts Trump over criticism of network MORE’s findings about contacts between Trump campaign officials and Russian agents, as well as President TrumpDonald John TrumpGraham to introduce resolution condemning House impeachment inquiry Support for impeachment inches up in poll Fox News's Bret Baier calls Trump's attacks on media 'a problem' MORE’s efforts to impede Mueller’s investigation, are “troubling.”

“The Special Counsel’s findings paint a very different picture than what the President and his Attorney General would have the American people believe,” Durbin said in a statement Thursday following the Mueller report’s release.

“Special Counsel Mueller has provided a detailed and sobering report about the troubling contacts between the Trump campaign and the Russians and about the President’s efforts to impede and end the Special Counsel’s investigation,” he said. 

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Durbin, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, joined other Democrats in calling for Mueller to testify before the Senate and House Judiciary committees.  

Mueller found that Russian officials reached out to Trump’s campaign on several occasions with pledges of assistance, although they sometimes didn’t follow through or campaign officials were unaware they were dealing with Russian agents. 

Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahySenators have chance to double funding for women entrepreneurs—they should take it On The Money: Trump dismisses 'phony Emoluments Clause' after Doral criticism | Senate Dems signal support for domestic spending package | House panel to consider vaping tax Senate Dems signal they'll support domestic spending package MORE (Vt.), another senior Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, said “members of the Trump campaign were not simply useful pawns in Russia’s attack on our elections.”

“They were eager, unapologetic beneficiaries of Russia’s interference. They welcomed it. They encouraged the release of stolen materials and planned a press strategy around it. They not once reported it to law enforcement authorities. Then they misrepresented the facts and hid their actions from the American people,” Leahy said in a statement.

The highest-profile interaction came on June 9, 2016, when senior representatives of the Trump campaign, including Donald Trump Jr.Donald (Don) John TrumpTransgender cyclist responds to Trump Jr. criticizing her women's world championship win Trump says he doesn't want NYT in the White House Romney earns rants and raves for secret Twitter name MORE, campaign chairman Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortEx-Clinton lawyer predicts at least one count of obstruction of justice from Trump impeachment inquiry New York City lawmakers vote to close Rikers Island jail by 2026 Perry says Trump directed him to discuss Ukraine with Giuliani: report MORE and senior adviser Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerMnuchin to attend Saudi economic forum one year after Khashoggi death Career State official warned about Biden's son: report Buttigieg knocks Trump as a 'walking conflict of interest' MORE met with a Russian attorney “expecting to receive derogatory information” about Trump’s campaign opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe Memo: Trump 'lynching' firestorm is sign of things to come Hillary Clinton has said she'd consider 2020 race if she thought she could win: report Nielsen on leaving Trump administration: 'Saying no and refusing to do it myself was not going to be enough' MORE

The attorney, Natalia Veselnitskaya, however, failed to provide any evidence backing up her claims that Clinton and other Democrats had received funds from illegal activity in Russia and instead talked about U.S. sanctions against Russian officials. 

On July 27, 2016, then-candidate Trump publicly called on Russia to help find documents missing from Clinton’s personal computer server, saying, “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.”

Russian military hackers that same day targeted the email accounts of Clinton’s personal office. They also broke into a Democratic National Committee account hosted on the cloud.

Mueller reported that Russian agents working for the GRU, a military intelligence agency, contacted a former Trump campaign member while posing as the hacker Guccifer 2.0 to ask about a stolen Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee document, which the Trump official described in a response as “pretty standard.” 

The special counsel also found that on June 17, 2017, Trump called then-White House counsel Don McGahn and instructed him to call acting Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinTrump attacks Sessions: A 'total disaster' and 'an embarrassment to the great state of Alabama' Mueller rejoins DC law firm Lewandowski says Mueller report was 'very clear' in proving 'there was no obstruction,' despite having 'never' read it MORE and inform him that Mueller must be removed from his post for conflicts of interest. McGahn refused by saying he would rather resign than trigger a “potential Saturday Night Massacre.”