So Much For Transparency: The Senate Blocked A Resolution To Release Mueller's Report
Well, so much for that. On Monday, March 26, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked a resolution to release the Mueller report. The resolution, which was non-binding, called for Mueller's full report on the Russia investigation to be released to the public. Ironically, McConnell's decision came just days after he released a statement calling for "transparency" with regards to the report from Special Counsel Robert Mueller. A representative of McConnell's office referred Elite Daily to his March 26 remarks on the Senate floor in lieu of additional comment.
Because the resolution was non-binding, it wouldn't have compelled Mueller or Attorney General William Barr to release the report; instead, it would have been a measure expressing that Congress wanted the report to be publicly available. It passed unanimously in the House earlier in March and was backed by many Democrats like Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, Oversight Committee Chair Elijah Cummings, and Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff, before it moved to the Senate, where it was blocked by McConnell without a vote.
According to Business Insider, McConnell cited national security concerns as his reason to prevent the report's public release, despite issuing a statement three days earlier wherein he said, "The Attorney General has said he intends to provide as much information as possible. ... I sincerely hope he will do so as soon as he can, and with as much openness and transparency as possible."
A CNN video shows McConnell responding to Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer's attempt to pass the resolution. In the video, McConnell justified his actions, saying,
The Attorney General told us yesterday that he's working with the Special Counsel to determine how much of the Special Counsel's report can be produced without violating the law and without jeopardizing other ongoing matters.
The resolution does not say it has to be done immediately. The resolution ... certainly allows for the Attorney General to make sure that nothing is released that violates the law. All it says is it ought to be released.
Schumer added that he was "befuddled" by the majority leader's reasoning. He later tweeted, "I just asked for the Senate to pass a resolution to make public the full Mueller report. This same resolution passed the House 420-0. But @SenateMajLdr McConnell just objected. What are they trying to hide?" Representatives of McConnell did not immediately respond to Elite Daily's request for comment on the tweet.
Though the report hasn't been released to the public in its entirety, a four-page summary of the Mueller report was released by Barr on March 24, which stated that the report found no Russian collusion, although it stopped short of exonerating the president on accusations of obstruction of justice, finding no conclusion either way. However, Republicans, including the president, celebrated the apparent findings. In a statement on March 25 titled, "'No Collusion, No Conspiracy, No Obstruction," McConnell said, "The result of that investigation is being hailed as good news for the president. It certainly is that. But really, it is good news for the country."
But even though President Donald Trump tweeted "No Collusion, No Obstruction, Complete and Total EXONERATION. KEEP AMERICA GREAT!" the summary of the report doesn't actually exonerate Trump. In his four-page summary to Congress, Barr wrote, "The Special Counsel states that 'while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.'"
The battle for the Mueller report's full release and the implications of its findings are likely to result in legal and political debates for the foreseeable future, so expect the report to remain center-stage in the news cycle for weeks and even months to come.