Americans Now Must Hear from Special Counsel Robert Mueller in Open Hearings

Statements of Common Cause

Below are two statements on the report release.

Statement of Common Cause President Karen Hobert Flynn

Americans want answers and instead, we are getting more lies, delay, and distraction. Attorney General William Barr made clear today that we no longer have an independent and impartial Department of Justice, undermining the integrity of the Department and any trust people had in him.

Congress must move quickly to convene televised public hearings so Americans can hear directly from Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Congress and the American people must learn about the truth about Russia’s attacks on the 2016 presidential race.

Our democracy was attacked by a hostile foreign power that launched a sophisticated series of attacks to create division by exploiting sensitive issues using polling data provided by the Trump Campaign, according to the Mueller investigation. Russia has acknowledged wanting to help elect Donald Trump and we know they hacked into 21 states’ election files. Russia’s cyber-attacks against us continue to this day even as President Trump cozies up to Vladimir Putin.

Attorney General William Barr’s mischaracterizations of the Mueller Report, in four letters, two Congressional testimonies and his news conference this morning, are breathtaking. Barr alleged that President Trump “fully cooperated” with the investigation, despite the many examples in the Mueller report of Trump’s efforts to derail or control the investigation.  The Attorney General is serving as little more than an apologist for the President, his family, and a lengthy list of disgraceful and potentially illegal acts. The American people need to hear in detail about those acts and the Specials Counsel’s conclusions.

Anyone who reads even a few pages of the Mueller Report will realize there is ample evidence of wrongdoing throughout. Far from the “total exoneration” the White House is desperately spinning, the report states, “if we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state.” They don’t state that and the report goes further, saying while the report does not “conclude the President committed a crime, it does not exonerate him either.”

The Department of Justice must provide the full, un-redacted Mueller report to Congress and public hearings must be held with both Attorney General Barr and Special Counsel Mueller to hear about key conclusions so the American public can decide for themselves if President Trump obstructed justice, as the report suggests in 10 distinct areas.

Statement of Common Cause V.P. for Policy & Litigation Paul S. Ryan

Special Counsel Robert Mueller dropped the ball analyzing whether the Trump campaign violated campaign finance laws by coordinating with Russians. Mr. Mueller wrote that “‘coordination’ does not have a settled definition in federal criminal law,” so he made up his own definition requiring an “agreement . . . between the Trump Campaign and the Russian government.” But federal campaign finance laws do define “coordination” in great detail and the Special Counsel’s made-up definition directly conflicts with these laws. In 2002, Congress amended campaign finance law, explicitly stating that “coordination” regulations “shall not require agreement or formal collaboration to establish coordination.” Mr. Mueller doesn’t cite the campaign finance “coordination” statute and regulations a single time in his 400+ page report. Hard to know whether the Trump campaign engaged in illegal coordination with Russians when the Special Counsel did not apply the law. Mr. Mueller needs to explain this misapplication of law to Congress—and whether he would have prosecuted violations if he had applied the correct law.

The Special Counsel’s report does not exonerate the Trump campaign of other campaign finance violations either. Instead, prosecutors decided that proving a criminal case—which requires proving violators knew what they were doing was illegal— beyond a reasonable doubt would be too hard. On those potential violations, the ball is now in the FEC’s court for civil enforcement.