WASHINGTON — Attorney General William Barr released a redacted version of the Mueller Report to Congress and the public on Thursday. Following are responses from Asian Pacific American members of Congress.
Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii): “Despite the attorney general’s attempt to spin the Mueller Report in Donald Trump’s favor, it’s clear the special counsel’s investigation found serious wrongdoing by the president and many of his associates.
“The special counsel’s report lays out, in meticulous detail, evidence that Donald Trump obstructed justice. Among the many rich details in the report, Robert Mueller shows how Donald Trump fired James Comey to end the investigation into his campaign; how the president instructed Don McGahn to order Rod Rosenstein to fire the special counsel; and how Donald Trump sent messengers to Jeff Sessions to ‘unrecuse’ himself in order to limit the scope of the investigation.
“If not for existing Department of Justice policy, the special counsel had ample evidence to indict Donald Trump for obstruction.
“The special counsel also confirmed what our intelligence community had already unanimously concluded: that the Russian government interfered in the 2016 election to elect Donald Trump.
“Although the special counsel felt he couldn’t meet the high bar necessary to prove criminal conspiracy with the Russians, he demonstrated that Donald Trump and his campaign were willing to engage with our foremost adversary to gain an advantage in the 2016 election. This is just wrong, plain and simple.
“The special counsel’s report in no way exonerates the president. In fact, it implicates the president in criminal activity. Congress has an obligation to act like the separate branch of government it is and conduct serious oversight of this administration. Everything should be on the table.”
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.): “The attorney general’s press conference today should concern us all, filled with political spin and propaganda. He acted more like the president’s defense attorney than our nation’s attorney general.
“Congress must receive this report in full along with all underlying investigative materials. As a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, I know a selectively redacted version of the report is not sufficient for Congress to fulfill its responsibility to conduct meaningful oversight over this investigation and decisions made by Trump Administration officials surrounding its conclusion.
“Barr’s actions have made it impossible for the American people to have faith that the Justice Department’s handling of this process was anything but partisan. Americans deserve the unvarnished truth. We need Special Counsel Mueller to testify in Congress before the public can even begin to trust this process or have confidence in the rule of law.”
Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.): “I’m still reviewing the redacted version of the Mueller Report, but what I’ve read makes it crystal clear that this is anything but an exoneration of Donald Trump’s actions. If anything, we now know for certain that Trump repeatedly lied to the American people, inappropriately attempted to end the special counsel’s investigation, ordered subordinates to obstruct justice multiple times and stubbornly refused to participate in an interview with criminal investigators.
“This report also confirms — beyond all doubt and contrary to Donald Trump’s false claims — that Russia attacked our democracy and interfered with our election in ‘sweeping and systematic fashion’ to help his candidacy. It confirms that the Russian government had ‘a series of contacts’ with Trump campaign officials. And it confirms that the Trump campaign shared internal polling data with the Russian government with the expectation that Trump would benefit from Russia’s efforts.
“No amount of redactions can change or diminish these facts, which completely undercut the PR spin that Attorney General Barr and Trump inappropriately used to shape public opinion over the past few weeks. The American people deserve to hear the truth — and that is why Robert Mueller must testify before Congress in a public hearing as soon as possible to fully — and accurately — explain the report and the context behind its findings.”
Rep. Judy Chu (D-Pasadena): “Russia tried to interfere in our election. The Trump campaign knew that. And Donald Trump tried to interfere at least 10 times to keep that information from the public. This is what we know today thanks to the release of the Mueller Report.
“Far from exonerating the president, this report raises questions of obstruction of justice that Congress must examine. But first, we must receive the full, unredacted report and hear from Special Counsel Mueller himself.”
Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Manhattan Beach): “Bill Barr is wrong. There is nothing, nada, zilch in the obstruction of justice statute that says the defendant must also commit a second, underlying crime. People have been prosecuted for obstruction even if they did not commit an underlying crime. Barr is making this up …
“The fact that McGahn disobeyed Donald Trump and never executed Trump’s order to fire Mueller is irrelevant to the requirements for obstruction of justice. You only need to ‘endeavor’ to obstruct justice to commit the crime.”
Rep. Mark Takano (D-Riverside): “We have a constitutional duty to serve as a check on the Executive Branch and this is the heavily redacted Mueller Report Attorney General Barr just delivered to Congress. Unbelievable … The American people deserve to know the truth.”
Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Sacramento): “Despite AG Barr’s spin, the Mueller Report includes troubling details about the interference in our election. It’s critical that Special Counsel Mueller publicly appears before Congress, as we continue to uncover the full truth for the American people.”
Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Santa Clara): “All Americans should be outraged about Mueller’s conclusions about the systematic interference in our elections. We can never allow this to happen again.”
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii): “The most dangerous coverup is that U.S. voting machines are vulnerable to hackers. If we lose faith in election results, democracy crumbles. The Justice Department should be focused on instituting paper ballot backups, per my Securing America’s Elections Act.”
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.): “From day one, Congress and the American public have demanded release of the full Mueller Report and all underlying documents; anything less is unacceptable. Congress has a right and responsibility to review the special counsel’s full investigation without omissions to determine what steps must be taken – and whether further action is necessary.
“I am troubled by Donald Trump’s hand-picked attorney general’s apparent protection of a president who could not be exonerated by the special counsel on at least ten counts of obstruction of justice, and the numerous willing contacts documented between the Trump campaign and a foreign power that was explicitly out to influence our last elections and likely our upcoming elections.
“Congress has a duty – rooted firmly in the Constitution – to safeguard the justice system and prevent obstruction of justice. To do this, we must have the full report. Attorney General Barr’s refusal to release the full report and underlying materials prevents Congress from doing our constitutional duty. Barr should be acting as the nation’s attorney general, not Trump’s personal attorney. Anything less is unacceptable.”
Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.): “In this press conference, the attorney general is clearly more intent on pleasing the president than serving the public. Some parts of this statement are just refined White House talking points.”
Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.): “With Rep. Jerry Nadler issuing a subpoena for the full Mueller Report, I again emphasize the need for Congress to have the complete, unredacted report and all the underlying evidence. Special Counsel Mueller must also testify before Congress. The report raises many questions. Attorney General Barr’s spin is unacceptable. We are entitled to answers and the American people deserve nothing less than full transparency.”
Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.): “Russia sought to undermine our democracy by interfering in our elections and should be held accountable for its actions. I look forward to reading the full Mueller Report and for the special counsel to testify before Congress.”