Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked a vote on a resolution calling for the public release of special counsel Bob Mueller’s report despite President Donald Trump claiming he would have no problem with it being released.
On Sunday, Attorney General Bill Barr sent Congress a four-page letter saying that Mueller did not find evidence to conclude that Trump or his campaign colluded with Russia but stopped short of exonerating him on obstruction of justice. Barr said he determined the Justice Department would not pursue an obstruction of justice charge. He previously said he would release only a summary of the report’s findings, and not the report itself.
Trump said Monday that “it wouldn’t bother me at all” if the report was released.
On Monday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer asked for unanimous consent to vote on a nonbinding resolution calling for the DOJ to release the full report. The same resolution was passed in the House by a 420-0 vote.
"Whether or not you're a supporter of President Trump ... there is no good reason not to make the report public," Schumer said on the Senate floor. "It's a simple request for transparency. Nothing more, nothing less."
McConnell objected to the bill, blocking the vote. Under Senate rules, any senator can propose a vote but any single senator can block that vote.
"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."
Schumer rejected McConnell’s explanation.
"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.
McConnell replied that "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."
This is the second time Republicans blocked the vote in the Senate. Last week, Lindsey Graham blocked the vote, demanding an amendment calling for a new special counsel to investigate Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration.
Democrats demand Mueller report:
Six committee chairs from the House of Representatives sent Barr a letter Monday calling for the release of the full Mueller report by April 2.
The lawmakers said that Barr’s letter was “not sufficient for Congress.”
"We look forward to receiving the report in full no later than April 2, and to begin receiving the underlying evidence and documents that same day," the letter said.
"To the extent that you believe applicable law limits your ability to comply, we urge you to begin the process of consultation with us immediately in order to establish shared parameters for resolving those issues without delay," they wrote.
"All I’m interested in is for them to release the full report, the full Mueller report," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reiterated to reporters Monday night.