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McConnell blocks resolution calling for release of Mueller report for second time

The Hill logo The Hill 3/27/2019 Jordain Carney

Video by The Washington Post

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) blocked a resolution that called for special counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russian meddling in the 2016 election to be publicly released for the second time this week.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee and a member of the Intelligence Committee, tried to get unanimous consent for the Senate to pass the resolution, which cleared the House in a 420-0 vote.

"The fact is that a four-page summary cannot possibly illuminate what this thorough of an investigation uncovered. I find it so disappointing that so many are rushing to judgment without being able to see the full report or all of the underlying facts," Feinstein said from the Senate floor.

But McConnell objected to her request to pass the non-binding resolution, noting that Attorney General William Barr is currently working with Mueller to determine what in the report should or should not be released.

"I have consistently supported the proposition that his report ought to be released to the greatest extent possible, consistent with the law. ... I think we should be consistent in letting the special counsel actually finish his work and not just when we think it may be politically advantageous to one side or the other," McConnell added.

Roy Blunt, John Barrasso, Mitch McConnell are posing for a picture: Mitch McConnell said AG William Barr and Robert Mueller are working to see what in the report should not be released. © Stefani Reynolds Mitch McConnell said AG William Barr and Robert Mueller are working to see what in the report should not be released. Under Senate rules any one senator can try to pass a bill or resolution by unanimous consent. But the move requires every other senator to sign off, meaning one member can also block their request on the floor.

It's the third time Democrats have tried to pass the House resolution, which argues there is "overwhelming public interest" in the government releasing the contents of the high-profile report. The resolution calls on the DOJ to fully release the report to Congress and to release it to the public "except to the extent the public disclosure of any portion thereof is expressly prohibited by law."

It's also the second time that McConnell has blocked the resolution from passing. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) tried to pass the resolution on Monday but McConnell blocked him.

The New York Democrat's first attempt came hours after the resolution cleared the House unanimously, but Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, objected to his request.

Graham blocked the resolution from passing after Schumer refused to amend it to include a provision calling on the Justice Department to appoint a special counsel to investigate alleged department misconduct in the handling of the investigation into 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's email use and the Carter Page Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act applications.

McConnell's move has been backed up by some GOP senators. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) defended him on Monday saying the Mueller resolution was "an unnecessary solution looking for a problem."

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) warned on Wednesday that he would also object to the resolution.

"My plan is to object to the release of the Mueller report and/or all of the Mueller information until they also release the complete information from the White House, DOJ, FBI, on why they chose to credit the dossier," he said in a tweet.

Mueller turned his report over to the Justice Department on Friday, signaling the formal end of the two-year investigation. Barr sent a four-page letter to the House and Senate Judiciary committees on Sunday outlining Mueller's main findings.

Mueller, according to the letter, did not uncover evidence that the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government to interfere in the 2016 election.

The attorney general's letter also said that Mueller made no conclusion as to whether Trump obstructed justice in the investigation into Russia's election interference. But it states that Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, after reviewing Mueller's findings, determined that they would not pursue an obstruction of justice charge.


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