Idaho’s congressional delegates in Washington, D.C., issued statements voicing support for President Donald Trump after the recent announcement that Special Counsel Robert Mueller found no evidence his campaign “conspired or coordinated” with Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election.
The report, which was given to Attorney General William Barr on Friday, also states Mueller reached no conclusion on whether Trump obstructed justice, which brought a hearty claim of vindication from Trump but set the stage for new rounds of political and legal fighting.
In his statement released Sunday evening, Republican Sen. Jim Risch, who is a senior member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, reiterated previous guarantees that the committee failed to uncover any evidence to support collusion during its previous investigation.
“For me, there was no news in Mueller’s report,” Risch said. “We have reviewed thousands of documents including dozens of witness statements throughout the Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation, and I reached the same conclusion as Mueller: President Trump did not collude with the Russians.”
Risch concluded his statement with criticisms of Democrats and the national media for the harsh claims levied against Trump. He also called on the nation to unify.
“Over the past two years, Democrats and many in the national media have made horrible claims against President Trump, have questioned his loyalty to our country, and have consistently assured the American people of his guilt. They were wrong,” Risch said. “All of this has been a deliberate distraction from the President’s accomplishments, and the charade has gone on long enough. It’s time for our nation to come together and move forward as one. With the conclusion of this investigation, I hope the Democrats will join us in doing so.”
Republican Rep. Russ Fulcher also issued a brief statement on the situation in a tweet Sunday.
“675 days and zero proof of collusion,” Fulcher wrote. “It’s time for Congress to get back to work. #MuellersReport #Barr.”
And on Monday afternoon, Republican Sen. Mike Crapo, who is the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, issued a statement of his own lauding the completion of the report while cautioning vigilance when it comes to foreign nations influencing the nation in the future.
“I have repeatedly said this investigation should come to a conclusion without interference from either side of the political aisle,” Crapo said. “Now that special counsel Mueller has released his report, he states clearly that the investigation did not establish members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities. Special counsel Mueller found no credible evidence to bring charges against President Donald Trump with regard to conspiracy or collusion with the Russian government.”
Crapo also said he anticipates reviewing “additional findings of the (Mueller) report with regard to Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.”
“As chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, I have worked with all members of the Committee to expand sanctions against the government of Russia for its involvement in malicious cyber operations against the United States, including meddling in U.S. elections; for its military incursions in Ukraine and Crimea; and for a host of other malign Russian activities,” said Crapo. “The United States must remain alert and proactive in its efforts to thwart foreign influence in our election process.”
Rep. Mike Simpson, also a Republican, issued a statement Monday condemning what he called a poor response to Russian meddling from former President Barack Obama.
“I have said from the beginning that I oppose foreign intervention in U.S. elections, and I was disappointed in President Obama’s weak response to Russian meddling, even well before the 2016 Presidential election,” Simpson said. “Special Counsel Mueller delivered a thorough, fair, and non-partisan report that, in the end, found no evidence of collusion with Russia and did not bring charges against President Trump.
”I look forward to reviewing additional details from the report and am pleased this investigation has come to a close. Hopefully, Congress can now move forward with pressing issues that face our nation including border security, immigration reform, and repairing our aging infrastructure as well as focusing on fiscal year 2020 appropriations.”
Political positioning continued into Monday as White House aides and allies blanketed television news broadcasts to trumpet the findings and claim that Trump has been the victim in a probe that never should have started.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said Trump will let Attorney General William Barr decide whether the special counsel’s Russia report should be publicly released, though she adds that “he’s more than happy for any of this stuff to come out.”
Trump cheered the Sunday outcome but also laid bare his resentment after two years of investigations that have shadowed his administration.
”It’s a shame that our country has had to go through this. To be honest, it’s a shame that your president has had to go through this,” Trump said.
Democrats pointed out that Mueller found evidence for and against obstruction and demanded to see his full report. They insisted that even the summary by the president’s attorney general hardly put him in the clear.
Mueller’s conclusions, summarized by Barr in a four page letter to Congress, represented a victory for Trump on a key question that has hung over his presidency from the start — whether his campaign worked with Russia to defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton.
That was further good news for the president on top of the Justice Department’s earlier announcement that Mueller had wrapped his investigation without new indictments. That could deflate the hopes of Democrats in Congress and on the 2020 campaign trail that incriminating findings from Mueller would hobble the president’s agenda and re-election bid.
But while Mueller was categorical in ruling out criminal collusion, he was more circumspect on presidential obstruction of justice. Despite Trump’s claim of total exoneration, Mueller did not draw a conclusion one way or the other on whether he sought to stifle the Russia investigation through his actions including the firing of former FBI director James Comey.
According to Barr’s summary, Mueller set out “evidence on both sides of the question” and stated that “while this report does not conclude the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”