Senate Leader McConnell to Assert 'Case Closed' on Mueller Probe




 

(Bloomberg) -- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell proclaimed "case closed" on Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian election interference and the Trump campaign, and accused Democrats of "slandering" Attorney General William Barr over his handling of the report.

McConnell, speaking on the Senate floor Tuesday, argued that it's time to stop re-litigating the 2016 election, even as committees in the House are starting their own oversight probes of the special counsel's conclusions.

"This investigation went on for two years," McConnell said. "It's finally over. Many Americans were waiting to see how their elected officials would respond."

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer pushed back in a floor speech minutes afterward, saying McConnell was protecting a "lawless" President Donald Trump and has pursued "half-baked" election security measures only when prodded by Democrats.

"It is not done. This is very serious stuff," said Schumer of New York.

House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler has scheduled a vote for Wednesday to hold Barr in contempt of Congress for failing to provide a fully unredacted version of Mueller's report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and the evidence behind it. After the contempt vote was scheduled, the Justice Department agreed to further talks in an effort to resolve the dispute.

Barr didn't show up as scheduled Thursday to testify before the House Judiciary panel about the report.

If the committee does vote to hold Barr in contempt, the matter would go to the full House of Representatives for a vote. The contempt resolution would also empower House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to take action to enforce the subpoena.

McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, portrayed the House attempts to carry out oversight responsibilities as "unhinged partisanship."

Referring to Barr, the majority leader said, "Now they're slandering a distinguished public servant because the real world has disappointed them."

Separately, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday at Cornell University that the committee investigations are "about getting the truth to the American people, but we're also about making sure this doesn't happen again."

"The administration should be willing to share that, unless they have something to hide," said Pelosi, a California Democrat.

Meanwhile, on Monday more than 450 former federal prosecutors from both Republican and Democratic administrations signed a statement saying that Mueller's findings would have resulted in obstruction charges "in the case of any other person not covered by the Office of Legal Counsel policy against indicting a sitting President."

To contact the reporters on this story: Laura Litvan in Washington at llitvan@bloomberg.net;Terrence Dopp in Washington at tdopp@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Joe Sobczyk at jsobczyk@bloomberg.net, Laurie Asséo, Elizabeth Wasserman

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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