Attorney General William Barr has not yet sent the conclusions of the Mueller report to Congress, but that didn’t stop some Republicans from claiming vindication.
Although House Republican Whip Steve Scalise has not yet seen the report for himself, he nevertheless commented on reports that Mueller did not recommend any new indictments, claiming that it proves there was no collusion between Trump and Russia.
In truth, Mueller’s investigation has already led to a slew of indictments, guilty pleas or convictions from 34 people and three companies, including former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen, and close ally Roger Stone.
But Scalise and other Trump allies seized on news reported in outlets including the New York Times and the Washington Post that quoted a “senior justice department official” as saying that Mueller’s report recommended no further indictments.
“Like most Americans, I am glad to see that this investigation, which has taken nearly two years and cost tens of millions of dollars, has finally come to a close,” Scalise said in a statement. “The reports that there will be no new indictments confirm what we’ve known all along: there was never any collusion with Russia. The only collusion was between Democrats and many in the media who peddled this lie because they continue to refuse to accept the results of the 2016 election. I am glad Attorney General Barr will now be able to review the report, and I look forward to Congress being fully briefed on its findings, including the cost to taxpayers.”
Even if the Mueller report does not recommend further indictments, that does not mean President Trump and those in his orbit are in the clear. The former FBI head has already referred several cases to career prosecutors at the Justice Department — and may have made other referrals that aren’t public yet. The Democrat-controlled House also continues to pursue its own investigation into the President’s alleged ties to Russia.
Furthermore, it is long-standing policy in the Department of Justice that a sitting President cannot be indicted.
Still, news that the report recommends no further indictments was cause célèbre for those close to the President.
“675 days, millions spent, a team of people biased against the President, and NO COLLUSION FOUND,” tweeted Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, in a message retweeted by the the President’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr.
North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows also tweeted that “The Mueller report delivery suggests no more indictments are coming from the Special Counsel. If that’s true, it would mean we just completed two years of investigating ‘Russian collusion’ without ONE collusion related indictment. Not even one. Why? Because there was no collusion.”
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