Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell urged Democrat lawmakers to move past the Russian collusion narrative, claiming “case closed,” in a scathing address on the Senate Floor on Tuesday.
“They told everyone there had been a conspiracy between Russia and the Trump Campaign. Yet, on this central question, the special counsel’s finding is clear,” the Republican senator from Kentucky said. “Case closed.”
The speech comes directly on the heels of congressional Democrats opening up various efforts to further investigate possible wrongdoing in Donald Trump’s campaign and presidential administration, in light of the Justice Department’s release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation report.
“Americans were waiting to see how their elected officials would respond,” McConnell said. “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? Or 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?”
“Regrettably, I think the answer is obvious,” McConnell added.
Though the report’s release brought the revelation that the investigation had turned up no direct evidence of Trump campaign collusion with Russian agents responsible for 2016 presidential election interference, it also suggested the president may have unsuccessfully attempted to impede the progress of the investigation.
Despite Mueller and Attorney General William Barr’s unwillingness to rule these attempts as obstruction of justice, prominent Democrats have made these developments their new focus — in turn seeking congressional testimony from both Mueller and Barr.
The House Judiciary Committee also announced earlier this week that it is considering holding Barr in contempt for refusing to provide Congress with an unredacted copy of the report and ancillary documents.
According to McConnell, the Democrats’ attempts to proceed with the investigation in light of Mueller’s findings are indicative of clear partisan, political motivations at the heart of the issue.
“They seemed to be hoping for a national crisis for the sake of their own politics,” McConnell said, accusing congressional Democrats of being “angrier at Bill Barr for doing his job than they are at Vladimir Putin.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer responded by referring to McConnell’s address as a “disgrace” according to The Hill.
“He should be ashamed of himself with that speech,” the Democratic senator from New York said.
“Our leader saying let’s move on is sort of like Richard Nixon saying let’s move on at the height of the investigation into his wrongdoing,” he added.
Schumer even theorized that Trump secretly hopes for more Russian interference in the 2020 presidential election, and has been ordering McConnell to be silent and allow it.
“Mitch McConnell is aiding and abetting it by refusing to do anything,” Schumer said. “It may be that Trump wants the Russians to participate and he’s telling McConnell, ‘Do nothing.'”
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