Spotlight: Resolution calling for release of Mueller report blocked again in U.S. Senate

Source: Xinhua| 2019-03-28 15:51:48|Editor: xuxin
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WASHINGTON, March 28 (Xinhua) -- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Wednesday blocked a resolution calling for the public release of special counsel Robert Mueller's report on alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

It was the second time in a week that such a resolution was blocked in the U.S. Senate.

Senator Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, tried to get unanimous consent for the upper chamber to pass the resolution, which cleared the House in a 420-0 vote earlier this month.

"The fact is that a four-page summary cannot possibly illuminate what this thorough of an investigation uncovered," Feinstein said from the Senate floor. "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."

However, McConnell denied her request to pass the non-binding resolution, citing 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," the Republican heavyweight argued.

"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 said.

Under Senate rules any one senator can propose passing a bill or resolution by unanimous consent, which, however, requires support from every other senator, meaning one member can also block their request on the floor.

It was the third time Democrats had tried to pass the House resolution, which argues there is "overwhelming public interest" in the government releasing the contents of Mueller's findings.

The resolution also urged the Department of Justice 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 was also the second time that McConnell had blocked the resolution from passing. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer tried to pass the resolution on Monday, but McConnell blocked him.

Mueller last week wrapped up his nearly two-year investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election by submitting a confidential report to Barr, whose summary to Congress later stated that there was no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

The special counsel did not reach a conclusion on whether Trump had obstructed justice, according to Barr's four-page synopsis. The attorney general concluded Mueller's findings are "not sufficient" to support a charge.

Democrats are demanding the complete release of Mueller's report as well as Barr's appearance before Congress to get a clearer picture of the special counsel's investigation.

A number of Democratic committee chairs in the House earlier this week requested the attorney general submit Mueller's full report to Congress by April 2.

Jerrold Nadler, head of the House Judiciary Committee, said Wednesday he is worried Barr will not meet the deadline.

"I am very concerned that it is apparent that the Department (of Justice) will not meet the April 2 deadline that we set, and I'm very disturbed by that," Nadler told reporters Wednesday evening.

"I asked him when we would see it, and he couldn't get specific. He said weeks, not months, as we've heard before," the Democrat said.

Speaking to Fox News Wednesday night, Trump lashed out at the Russia investigation, calling it "treason."

"We can never allow this treasonous -- these treasonous acts to happen to another president," he told long-favored Fox host Sean Hannity. "This was an attempted takeover of our government, of our country, an illegal takeover."

"We are getting to the bottom of it," he added. "Hopefully they won't get away with it."

Mueller took over the Russian investigation in May 2017 after Trump abruptly fired former FBI director James Comey, a move that raised questions about potential obstruction of justice.

The investigation has led to felony charges against 34 people, including six Trump associates and advisors, and three entities.

Much of the charges against the Trump associates related to lying to Congress or federal investigators. None of them directly related to the question of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Russia has denied any meddling.

Trump has touted Barr's summary as a "complete exoneration."

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