Prior to the submission of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s final report over the weekend, the Democrat-led House had passed a non-binding resolution by a vote of 420-0 that called for the full and rapid release of that comprehensive report on Mueller’s findings.
Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer attempted on Monday to do likewise in the Senate, but his request for unanimous consent to agree with the House resolution was blocked by Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, according to a report from The Hill.
At first glance, it would seem that McConnell played right into the hands of his Democratic colleagues, as his blocking of the resolution drew sharp cries of outrage from the left and accusations that he was attempting to engage in a cover-up of the Mueller report. This conveniently helped the left shift the narrative from the conclusion reached by Mueller that there was no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, as had been claimed ad nauseam for the past two years by prominent Democrats.
But those outraged cries of a cover-up were undermined by McConnell’s logical reasoning for blocking Schumer’s move at this point in time.
“Whether or not you’re a supporter of President Trump … there is no good reason not to make the report public,” Schumer said from the Senate floor. “It’s a simple request for transparency. Nothing more, nothing less.”
However, in keeping with Senate rules that allow any senator to call for a vote, and likewise allow for any senator to block the proposed vote, McConnell registered his objection to Schumer’s request.
The Republican leader offered up the fact that Attorney General William Barr had already made it clear that he was working closely with Mueller, as well as others in the Department of Justice, to determine as quickly as possible what information could be released publicly from the undoubtedly lengthy report, as per the law.
“The special counsel and the Justice Department ought to be allowed to finish their work in a professional manner,” McConnell said in his objection to Schumer’s request.
“To date, the attorney general has followed through on his commitments to Congress, one of which is that he intends to release as much information as possible,” he added.
Of course, Schumer was not too pleased with being blocked by McConnell, and insisted that there was no clause within the resolution that demanded the full report be released “immediately.”
“I’m sort of befuddled by the majority leader’s reasoning in this regard because it is not in the words of this resolution,” Schumer said.
McConnell countered that move by noting that President Trump had already waited two years for the investigation to be concluded, and similarly, Congress could wait a bit longer.
“It’s not unreasonable to give the special counsel and the Justice Department just a little time to complete their review in a professional and responsible manner,” he said.
Schumer knows that there is a standard process for releasing government documents to the public, one that takes time and careful consideration to ensure that no classified or sensitive material is unnecessarily released. His effort to demand the full report be released in rapid fashion was a transparent attempt to circumvent that normal process.
This was actually Schumer’s second attempt to force a vote on a resolution that would demand the expedited release of the Mueller report, his first attempt having come in the immediate aftermath of the House’s passage of their own unanimous resolution.
That first effort by Schumer, however, failed when Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham offered an objection with a request of his own to add an amendment to the resolution.
That proposed amendment from Graham would have called for the appointment of a second special counsel to investigate alleged misconduct by the Department of Justice and FBI in the handling of the 2016 Clinton email investigation, as well as the dubious origins of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant obtained on Trump campaign associate Carter Page, which sparked the entire Russian collusion narrative.
Schumer was not on board with that proposed amendment. He and the rest of the Democrats demanding the rapid release of an unredacted version of the Mueller report will simply have to wait while Barr and the rest of the DOJ proceed with their review in a timely and conscientious manner, as is dictated by the law and standard procedures.
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