Trump says Russia investigation led to ‘treasonous, evil things’
Republicans have called for the US president’s critics to move on after special counsel Robert Mueller’s conclusions were revealed.
Democrats have pressed the US justice department to provide the full report on claims of Russian collusion from special counsel Robert Mueller, even as Republicans gleefully called for them to “move on” from the investigation.
President Donald Trump accused those responsible for launching Mr Mueller’s probe of “treasonous things against our country”, and said they “certainly will be looked into”.
Mr Trump said the release of Mr Mueller’s full report “wouldn’t bother me at all”.
Democrats quickly put that statement to the test, demanding that his administration hand over the entire document and not just Sunday’s four-page summary from US attorney general William Barr.
Six Democratic congressional committee chairmen wrote to Mr Barr that his summary is “not sufficient” and asked to be given Mr Mueller’s full report by April 2.
They also want to begin receiving the underlying evidence the same day. The information is “urgently needed by our committees to perform their duties under the Constitution”, they wrote, implying that the information would be subpoenaed if it is not turned over by the deadline.
Mr Barr said in his letter to US congress that Mr Mueller did not find that Mr Trump’s campaign “conspired or coordinated” with the Russian government to influence the 2016 presidential election – knocking down arguments from Democrats who have long claimed there was evidence of such collusion.
But he also said Mr Mueller reached no conclusion on whether Mr Trump obstructed the federal investigation, instead setting out “evidence on both sides” of the question and stating that “while this report does not conclude the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him”.
Without a recommendation from Mr Mueller, Mr Barr stepped in and decided there was not sufficient evidence to establish that the president obstructed justice. Democrats said Mr Barr’s judgment is not the final word.
House speaker Nancy Pelosi said: “All I’m interested in is them releasing the full report, the full Mueller report.”
Despite Mr Mueller’s refusal to exonerate Mr Trump, his spokesmen and leading congressional Republicans all claimed total vindication for the president anyway.
Questioned by reporters, Mr Trump said he welcomed Mr Mueller’s results but complained he had been abused by the investigation occurring at all and taking too long.
“We can never let this happen to another president again,” he said.
“There are a lot of people out there that have done some very evil things, very bad things, I would say treasonous things against our country.
“Those people will certainly be looked at. I’ve been looking at them for a long time. And I’m saying, why haven’t they been looked at? They lied to congress. Many of them you know who they are.”
Although he did not name names, Mr Trump has spent months railing against former justice department officials, including former FBI director James Comey, accusing them of an illegal witch hunt for the purpose of de-legitimising his presidency. He has also falsely claimed that the investigation was based on memos compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele, and even blamed the late senator John McCain for passing the memos to the FBI.
The investigation began months before the FBI saw the dossier – and the FBI already had a copy by the time Mr McCain turned it in.
On Monday, after a series of evening strategy meetings, Democrats vowed to continue their multiple investigations into Mr Trump, perhaps with shifted focus.
House intelligence committee chairman Adam Schiff, the California Democrat who has become a focus of Republicans’ post-Mueller ire, said he is “circumspect about how much more we will be able to find on issues that he thoroughly investigated”, but said Mr Mueller’s conclusion would not affect his own committee’s counterintelligence probes.
Democrats also signalled that they will curtail some public focus – at least, from their investigations of Mr Trump – and try to keep attention on their policy goals.