Representative Welch’s Reaction to the Release of the Redacted Mueller Report
Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.), a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Oversight and Reform Committee, released the following statement in response to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report, "Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election."
"Finally, a redacted report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller has been made public, but not before a conflicted Attorney General blatantly provided a biased and incomplete view of its findings.
“It is now time for Members of Congress to read the 448-page report, conduct oversight hearings, take testimony directly from Mr. Mueller, and reach independent conclusions about President Trump's conduct and how best to hold him accountable.
“It appears that Mr. Mueller did not find that the Trump campaign directly conspired with the Russians to influence the outcome of the 2016 election. However, the multitude of contacts between campaign and Russian operatives before and after the election is reprehensible and marks a break from the longstanding practice of shunning foreign influence in American elections.
“We know that contacts between campaign and Russian operatives included offers of "dirt" on the Clinton campaign and relief from American sanctions. And we know, contrary to his repeated denials, that candidate Trump did in fact have a business relationship with Russia regarding Trump Tower Moscow that was active through the summer of 2016.
“The American people were entitled to know these facts before they cast their ballots. No legal fine point or spin can excuse the President's toleration of, or participation in, this conduct.
“On the question of obstruction of justice, Attorney General Barr conveniently looked the other way in summarizing Mr. Mueller's findings. The Special Counsel's report provides detailed and substantial evidence that President Trump and his team did everything they could to obstruct and undermine the investigation.“While it is premature to determine whether those actions constitute a legally provable criminal charge of obstruction, Mr. Mueller clearly states in his report, ‘While this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.’
“The American people are entitled to a president who honors the principle that no one is above the law and acts accordingly at all times. Instead, President Trump relentlessly attacked and undermined Mr. Mueller and his team, the FBI, and Attorney General Sessions. After brazenly attempting to influence FBI Director Comey and the Attorney General, he fired them both. Throughout, he ridiculed and rejected the unanimous conclusion of our intelligence agencies that the Russians interfered in the 2016 election, a conclusion now confirmed by Mr. Mueller.
“I support congressional efforts to obtain the complete Mueller report, by subpoena if necessary. And I support further congressional inquiry into the specific and detailed acts outlined in the report that go to the question of obstruction of justice.
“As Congress begins the next phase of this sordid chapter in American history, it is vital that we work to restore the norms of our democracy so essential to our future: respect for the rule of law, respect for our institutions, respect for the truth, and respect for the right of American voters to elect their president free from foreign interference."