The partisan battle over the results of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation broke out immediately after AG William Barr reported its findings to Capitol Hill on Sunday afternoon.
The conclusion of Mueller’s exhaustive two-year probe means the political war over whether to impeach President Donald Trump is only just beginning.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) warned against drawing any conclusion from the findings, zeroing in on the fact that Mueller didn’t exonerate Trump over obstruction of justice.
“The fact that special counsel Mueller’s report does not exonerate the president on a charge as serious as obstruction of justice demonstrates how urgent it is that the full report and underlying documentation be made public without any further delay,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Senator Chuck Schumer of New York said in a joint statement.
“The American people have a right to know,” they added.
Democrats will continue to investigate:
Trump may have escaped any criminal charges from Mueller's probe, but impeachment is still on the table as far as many Democrats are concerned.
“We’re going to move forward with our investigation into obstruction of justice, abuses of power, corruption, to defend the rule of law, which is our job,” Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, told reporters in New York afterward. “It’s a broader mandate than the special prosecutor has. His mandate is only for crimes.”
Mr. Nadler said he rejected Mr. Trump’s claim of vindication and focused on Mr. Barr, whom he described as having prejudged the matter of obstruction.
“He auditioned for his job by writing a 19-page memorandum giving a very extreme view of obstruction of justice in presidential power and saying basically no president can commit obstruction of justice,” Mr. Nadler said, referring to a memo Mr. Barr wrote in June 2018 about executive authority.
Republican urge Democrats to move on:
From the White House on down to rank-and-file Republicans, the release of Barr’s summary marked the beginning of a renewed effort to push the “move on” message the nation.
“I understand that Democrats today are struggling with their own deep divisions and that it might be easier to attack President Trump than work together for a common cause,” said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), a close Trump ally. “But after months upon months of manufactured outrage on this issue, it is time we move on for the good of the nation and focus on the job we were sent to Washington to do: work to address the real challenges facing our country.”
"I am glad that the special counsel’s investigation has finally drawn to a close and we can put this outrageous chapter behind us," declared House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) "Rather than focus on the issues that affect the lives of everyday Americans, like jobs, health care, and border security, Democrats and their allies in the media have chosen to spend the last 674 days perpetuating conspiracy theories and lies in a shameless effort to discredit a President whose election they still are trying to overturn."