2020 Candidates Respond To Mueller Turning In His Report On The Trump-Russia Investigation
News that Special Counsel Robert Mueller's long-anticipated Russia report had finally landed on Attorney General William Barr's desk after nearly two years of scrutiny sparked a flurry of reactions Friday from politicians eager to take on President Donald Trump in the next presidential election. But although Mueller's report is wrapped, it might never be made public — much to some politicians' chagrin. Indeed, calls for transparency dominated 2020 presidential candidates' reactions to Mueller's report dropping.
Barr notified lawmakers that he'd received Mueller's report on Russia's alleged meddling in the 2016 presidential election in a letter sent Friday to the top members of Congress' two judiciary committees. However, the attorney general has yet to provide lawmakers with a summary of Mueller's report, writing that he may be able to advise them of the report's "principal conclusions" as early as this weekend.
He did note, however, that there had been no instances in the entirety of Mueller's investigation where the attorney general had felt that a proposed action by a special counsel was so inappropriate or unwarranted that it should not be pursued.
In his letter to lawmakers, Barr asserted that he was "committed to as much transparency as possible" and would therefore discuss what parts of the report could be released to Congress and/or the public with both the special counsel and Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein. The majority of the Democratic 2020 presidential candidates have urged the attorney general to make the full report public.
Sen. Cory Booker — Democrat
New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker called for the report to immediately be made public, arguing that taxpayers funded Mueller's investigation into election meddling and thus deserved to know its outcome. "The Trump Administration shouldn't get to lock up Robert Mueller's report and throw away the key," he wrote in a tweet directing people to add their name to his petition if they agreed. The New Jersey senator went on to argue that "anything short of full transparency will be detrimental to our country moving forward" in a tweet posted to his official Senate Twitter account.
Julián Castro — Democrat
Democratic candidate Julián Castro also called for Mueller's report to be "publicly released in its entirety." The former secretary of housing and urban development argued that "people deserve to know the full truth about Russia's interference in our democracy" in a tweet posted Friday.
Former Rep. John Delaney — Democrat
Former Maryland Rep. John Delaney said Friday that releasing Mueller's entire report would be a "patriotic action" for the attorney general. "This moment requires transparency," he tweeted. The 2020 candidate urged the public to demand to see the Mueller report in a separate tweet also posted Friday. Later, he returned to Twitter to thank Mueller for his work and service to the country. "He is a decorated former Marine, dedicated public servant and has conducted his work with dignity and without leaks," he wrote.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard — Democrat
Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard's reaction to news of the Mueller report was short and to the point: Make it public.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand — Democrat
Kirsten Gillibrand echoed Democrats' calls for the special counsel's report to be immediately made public, arguing that "the American people have a right to know its findings." The New York senator also lashed out at President Donald Trump, tweeting, "Whatever Mueller's report contains, here's what we already know: Trump has spread hate, clouded truth, sown division and undermined our democracy." Gillibrand is set to hold her campaign's launch rally in front of Trump International Hotel & Tower in New York City on Sunday.
Sen. Kamala Harris — Democrat
California Sen. Kamala Harris called for the attorney general to "publicly testify under oath" about Mueller's findings. "We need total transparency here," she tweeted. Like Booker, she also urged supporters eager for Mueller's report to be made public to add their names to a petition on her 2020 campaign website.
Gov. Jay Inslee — Democrat
In a tweet posted Friday, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee argued that "Trump and his attorney general cannot be trusted to summarize or excerpt it accurately."
Sen. Amy Klobuchar — Democrat
Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar told Rachel Maddow it was time for "a full disclosure," arguing that the attorney general must not keep Mueller's report behind closed doors. "This report must be released," she said Friday during an interview on MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. "This isn't just about politics, it's about our democracy." According to the Hill, Klobuchar expounded on that message in an email to her campaign supporters. "The Russian government interfered in our elections and we need to know the facts in order to secure our democracy," the outlet reported she wrote. "This has always been my position. In fact, at Attorney General Barr's confirmation hearing I asked him to commit to releasing the full report. He wouldn't make that commitment."
Beto O'Rourke — Democrat
Although former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke's tweeted response to news the Mueller report had dropped was just eight words, he argued that making the report public should be a bipartisan issue during a Friday campaign stop in Charleston, South Carolina. "Republicans and Democrats should whatever they can to make sure that their constituents, the American people, can read that report, form their own judgement, make their own decision," he told reporters. "This is an unprecedented attack on this country and on our democracy and we are owed the facts ... For this democracy to succeed, people must put our country before their party, the next election, the approval of the president. What matters now is the future of the United States."
Sen. Bernie Sanders — Democrat
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders used the president's own words in his call for the Mueller report to be made public. "As Donald Trump said, 'Let it come out,'" Sanders tweeted, arguing that, "No one, including the president, is above the law."
Sen. Elizabeth Warren — Democrat
Bill Weld — Republican
Although former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld hasn't officially announced a presidential campaign — he launched a presidential exploratory committee in February — he's so far the only Republican even willing to explore the idea of challenging Trump in the Republican primary. On Friday, he tweeted that it was "important for this process to play out without interference," in reference to news Mueller had wrapped his investigation. "It's about Rule of Law," he added.
While not every 2020 presidential candidate has yet to comment on reports that the special counsel has handed the Russia report over to the attorney general (President Trump, for example, has been surprisingly quiet), those that have commented have echoed a strikingly similar message: Release the report. It's too soon to tell, however, if their calls for transparency will influence the attorney general.