From the Senate floor, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Tuesday morning called to an end of the “Groundhog Day spectacle” of the investigation into President Trump.
“This investigation went on for two years. It’s finally over,” said McConnell of the probe by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who looked into potential ties between the Trump campaign and Russian interference in the 2016 election.
“Many Americans were waiting to see how their elected officials would respond,” McConnell told the chamber. “With an exhaustive investigation complete, would the country finally unify to confront the real challenges before us? Would we finally be able to move on from partisan paralysis and breathless conspiracy theorizing?”
“Would we remain consumed by unhinged partisanship, and keep dividing ourselves to the point that Putin and his agents need only stand on the sidelines and watch as their job is done for them?” he asked. “Regrettably, I think the answer is obvious.”
McConnell declined to mention that, by refusing to sign a bipartisan statement of condemnation before the election, he reportedly prevented President Obama from publicly addressing Russian interference before the 2016 election.
Mueller’s 448-page report, which was released by Barr in a redacted version last month, included several instances of possible obstruction of justice. Mueller noted that “while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”
Barr has repeatedly said that, according to the report, there is insufficient evidence to support obstruction charges against Trump. On Monday, a letter signed by more than 450 former federal prosecutors from both parties said Mueller’s report would have produced obstruction charges against Trump had he not held the office of the president.
Back on the Senate floor, McConnell derided Democrats who he believes have refused to accept Mueller’s findings, saying: “The American people actually elected President Trump” and that his colleagues across the aisle “appear to be working through the five stages of grief.”
“The facts disappointed them,” McConnell continued. “Our legal system will not magically undo the 2016 election for them.”
“Case closed,” he added, despite this week’s chaotic back-and-forth between the White House and House Democrats, who are considering contempt proceedings against Attorney General William Barr on Tuesday. Trump, meanwhile, has refused to hand over his tax returns to the House Ways and Means Committee, leading to a formal denial from the Treasury Department on Monday afternoon.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), on the floor, accused McConnell and his speech of “whitewashing” the investigation.
“It’s sort of like Richard Nixon saying ‘let’s move on’ at the height of the investigation of his wrongdoing. Of course he wants to move on,” said Schumer. “It is not done. This is very serious stuff.”