President Donald Trump’s top Georgia allies on Capitol Hill declared victory on Sunday after an official summary of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe concluded there was no evidence that Trump’s campaign colluded with the Kremlin to influence the 2016 election.
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U.S. Rep. Doug Collins of Gainesville, the senior Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, said Mueller studied the question with “every available Justice Department resource at his disposal.”
“The special counsel’s investigation was long, thorough and conclusive: There was no collusion. There is no constitutional crisis,” he said. “Russia is a bad actor with dark intentions, but there is no evidence that they compromised a presidential nominee.”
Collins was among the first lawmakers to receive the summary compiled by Attorney General William Barr on Sunday afternoon. The House Judiciary Committee has jurisdiction over presidential impeachment proceedings, and Collins has tenaciously defended the president’s reputation as Democrats have kicked off a sprawling investigation into Trump’s campaign, personal and business dealings.
Barr’s summary stated Mueller’s team lacked enough evidence to show Trump obstructed justice, but Democrats homed in on a line in the attorney general’s letter that said the report “does not exonerate” the president.
Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., said the Justice Department “owes the public more than just a brief synopsis and decision not to go any further in their work.” He said he would call Barr to testify before the panel “in the near future.”
“Special Counsel Mueller clearly and explicitly is not exonerating the President, and we must hear from AG Barr about his decision making and see all the underlying evidence for the American people to know all the facts,” Nadler tweeted.
U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson of Lithonia, a senior Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, said the full Mueller report needed to be made public. The House voted 420-0 earlier this month on a nonbinding resolution that urged the Justice Department to release the special counsel’s complete findings.
“There are a whole lot of questions that need to be answered and we certainly can’t answer those questions by relying on the conclusions that Barr says Mueller reached,” Johnson said in an interview. “The American people need to be secure in knowing that the Mueller findings have been tested against logic and the law. And so we will get the bottom of what happened so we can overcome the suspicions that we, along with the majority of the American people, have about the Russian influence on the 2016 elections, which benefited Trump.”
As Democrats promised to dig in on their investigations on Capitol Hill, several of Trump’s Georgia supporters took a victory lap.
“We knew this two years ago: Zero collusion,” tweeted U.S. Rep. Jody Hice, R-Monroe.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the Justice Department’s findings are a “total and complete exoneration of the President of the United States.”
Read Attorney General William Barr’s summary to Congress here.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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