Standing strong with the White House in the wake of the release of a redacted version of the Mueller Report on Russian interference in the 2016 election, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declared Tuesday that it was time for Congress and America to move on from the Mueller investigation, and what McConnell labeled, 'fanciful conspiracy theories' involving Russia and the Trump Campaign.
"Case closed," McConnell said, as he jabbed Democratic lawmakers in Congress, saying they were working through the 'five stages of grief,' grappling with denial and anger about the results of the Special Counsel's investigation.
"Democrats are angry - angry that the facts disappointed them," McConnell added, as he strongly defended the work of Attorney General William Barr, who has come under sharp attack by Democrats, who claim Barr has been acting more as the President's defense lawyer than anything else.
McConnell's remarks on the Senate floor came as Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee were sparring with Barr and the Justice Department, threatening to hold the Attorney General in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over an unredacted version of the Mueller Report.
Democrats blasted McConnell's statement, accusing the GOP of a 'circle the wagons' strategy to protect the President from any questions related to the Russia investigation.
"Of course he wants to move on," Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer said of McConnell. "He wants to cover up."
Meanwhile before a Senate committee on Tuesday morning, Republican Senators used a budget hearing with the FBI Director to ask about the origins of the FBI counterintelligence investigation in the summer of 2016, which began after indications of Russian interference in the 2016 elections.
"Can you tell me what the facts or predicate was for the investigation of President Trump?" asked Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA), who said it was time to do more to review whether there was political bias inside the FBI impacting both the Russia investigation, and the probe related to the emails of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
FBI Director Chris Wray pointed several Senators to the details of the Mueller Report, as he said the FBI is still awaiting the findings of an internal watchdog report about any possible investigatory bias.
Wray was also asked about the assertion of Attorney General William Barr last month, that "spying" may have occurred by the FBI on the Trump Campaign in 2016, but did not embrace Barr's choice of terms.
"Well, that's not the term I would use," the FBI Director said.
It's still not clear if Mueller will ever testify before the Congress; while Attorney General Barr said last week he was not opposed to the idea, President Trump has indicated his opposition, and Mueller remains a Justice Department employee.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.