VOA NEWS – Ken Bredemeier
U.S. special counsel Robert Mueller’s still secret report about Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election is more than 300 pages long, officials said Thursday, as Democrats made new demands that Attorney General William Barr release the full document after only writing a four-page summary last weekend.
«Show us the report,» Speaker Nancy Pelosi, leader of the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives, implored the country’s top law enforcement official. «We don’t need you interpreting it. We have to see what the facts are. We do not need an attorney general … to be an interpreter of something that he should just show us.»
Barr quoted just 65 words from the Mueller report in the summary, although he described some material the prosecutor had collected.
In a letter Sunday to congressional leaders that he also released to the public, Barr said Mueller had concluded that President Donald Trump and his campaign had not conspired with Russia to help him win, but had reached no conclusion whether Trump, as president , had obstructed justice by trying to thwart the investigation.
«While this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him,” Barr quoted from Mueller’s conclusions. Based on their reading of the report, Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein decided that no charges were warranted against Trump.
But it is believed that no lawmakers have seen the report.
Despite the fact that Mueller reached no conclusion about obstruction, Trump this week has claimed full vindication, saying Mueller had found «No collusion, no obstruction, no nothing.»
Barr said in his summary that he would release as much of the report as Justice Department rules allow, after classified material and confidential testimony heard by a grand jury and Mueller’s investigators are redacted.
Democrats have demanded that he hand the report to Congress by next Tuesday, but Barr told one Democratic congressional leader, Congressman Jerrold Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, that it would be «weeks, not months» before it is turned over. Barr did, however, agree to testify before Nadler’s panel about the report.
With Barr’s statement that Mueller concluded that Trump and his campaign had not conspired with Russia, the president and his Republican allies on Thursday vented their wrath at one of Trump’s most vocal critics, Congressman Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, who has continued to claim that Trump’s actions before and after the election constituted collusion with Russia. The House panel for months has been investigating Russian interference in the election.
«Congressman Adam Schiff, who spent two years knowingly and unlawfully lying and leaking, should be forced to resign from Congress!» Trump asserted.
In a rare public display of rancor, the minority Republican bloc of nine lawmakers on the Intelligence panel told Schiff, a lawmaker from the western state of California, that they had «no faith» in him leading the committee and demanded his resignation.
Schiff angrily refused and said some of the actions of Trump and his associates amounted to «collusion» and «compromise.»
He recited a list of Trump campaign contacts with Russia, including Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr.’s. meeting in 2016 with a Russian contact promising incriminating information on Trump’s opponent, Democrat Hillary Clinton, and former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s discussions with Russia’s then ambassador to Washington just before Trump assumed power in early 2017.
«You might say that’s all OK,» Schiff told Republicans on the congressional panel. «You might say that’s just what you need to do to win. But I don’t think it’s OK. I think it’s immoral. I think it’s unethical. I think it’s unpatriotic and, yes, I think it’s corrupt – and evidence of collusion.»
He added, «I have always said that the question of whether this amounts to conspiracy is another matter. But I do not think that conduct, criminal or not, is OK. And the day we do think that’s OK is the day we will look back and say that is the day America lost its way.”