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Colorado Republican Sen. Cory Gardner, in a series of tweets on Thursday, asked Congress to “move forward” in the wake of the publicly released but heavily redacted report by special counsel Robert Mueller on Russian interference in the 2016 election. His potential 2020 challengers, including Vail native Mike Johnston, asked for the release of the full report.
“The Special Counsel report made public [Thursday] includes the release of as much information as is consistent with U.S. law,” Gardner tweeted. “Now that the report is public, it’s time for Congress to move forward and get to work on behalf of the American people.”
Attorney General Williams Barr held a press conference Thursday morning, defending President Donald Trump and his campaign’s numerous interactions with Russian operatives and claiming there was no collusion between Trump and Russia during the 2016 election.
“Barr proved again [Thursday] that he is more committed to a partisan defense of the President than to a steadfast defense of our country,” tweeted Johnston, a former Denver state senator. “Barr should turn over the report without redactions to Congress and the American public and @CoryGardner should join me in calling for its release.”
Gardner, a Republican, did promise to keep up the heat on Russian President Vladimir Putin ahead of the 2020 campaign.
“The report also confirms what we already know, Russia interfered in our election,” Gardner tweeted, contradicting numerous statements to the contrary from Trump. “I will keep up the pressure on the Putin regime and pursue additional sanctions – they cannot go unpunished.”
Democratic Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet clearly disagrees with Gardner on whether the release of the redacted Mueller Report means Congress should move forward on other matters without further investigating.
“The redacted report makes clear that the president’s behavior, and that of his team, should deeply concern every American,” Gardner wrote in a prepared statement. “The report documents the president’s failure to cooperate with the special counsel, efforts to mislead the American people, and troubling interactions with Russia, a foreign adversary.
“To exercise its constitutional responsibility to provide oversight, Congress should have access to the full report and all underlying materials,” Bennet continued. “In the meantime, the Attorney General of the United States should refrain from using his office to shape the Mueller report in a partisan, self-interested manner.”
Former Colorado Speaker of the House Andrew Romanoff, another Democrat seeking his party’s nomination to challenge Gardner in 2020, simply tweeted, “We deserve the facts, Barr none. #ReleaseTheFullMuellerReport.”
John Walsh, the former U.S. Attorney for Colorado under the Obama administration who entered the race to seek the Democratic nod to take on Gardner on Tuesday, put out a press release extolling his background as a former Special Prosecutor in the investigation of Arizona Gov. Fife Symington.
Walsh then offered these statements on the Mueller Report:
“After decades spent investigating complex cases as a federal prosecutor, and having served as Special Counsel to the Attorney General myself, I have read indictments that presented evidence less damning than the obstruction section of the Mueller Report. In light of the contents of the Report, Attorney General Barr’s remarks at his press conference seem designed to protect the President rather than simply announcing the release of the Report.
“Special Counsel Mueller explicitly states that because [Department of Justice] policy prohibits indictment of a sitting president, he is not drawing an ultimate conclusion on obstruction of justice charges. Instead, he lays out the evidence in painstaking detail and effectively defers to Congress for its constitutional review and judgment. Congress has a constitutional duty in its oversight role to examine the evidence, collect any additional evidence, and come to any appropriate conclusions.
“Because Special Counsel Mueller deferred that ultimate judgment, public hearings before Congress are crucial. Only by a free and open review of the facts can we ensure that neither this president nor any president is above the law.”
To read a searchable version of the Mueller Report, click here.