WASHINGTON - More tug-of-war is expected in Washington this week between congressional Democrats, who seek further information and material pertaining to the Russia probe, and the Trump administration, which is eager to turn the page and move on from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
For President Donald Trump, the Russia investigation is a thing of the past. Last week, he said so several times, on Twitter and in person.
“No collusion, no obstruction, no anything. Two years on a witch hunt,” Trump proclaimed addressing supporters Wednesday at a rally in Panama City Beach, Florida.
Democrats beg to disagree.
“What we want is to get the facts. We want to do it in a way that is the least divisive to our country and the most productive,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters at press conference on Capitol Hill Thursday.
House Democrats subpoenaed the unredacted Mueller report and want the special counsel to testify about the investigation and his findings. Attorney General William Barr has refused to hand over the full Mueller report, prompting a House panel to launch proceedings to hold Barr in contempt of Congress.
“The Trump administration has decided to say a blanket ‘no.’ No to any kind of oversight whatsoever. No witnesses, no documents, no nothing … So they are just stonewalling,” Rep. Adam Schiff, a Democrat and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” program. “They want to draw this out as much as possible. And we are going to fight it. We are fighting it.”
Republicans accuse Democrats of refusing to accept the Mueller report’s bottom line, which was mostly favorable to Trump.
“We spent $35 million investigating the president. Their conclusion was [that] there was no underlying crime. This whole kibitzing (agitation) about, ‘Oh well maybe he obstructed justice’ to try to hide an investigation about something he did not do – this is absurd. And the American people know it,” said Republican Sen. Rand Paul, also speaking on ABC’s “This Week.”
Top House Democrats have pushed back against calls for impeachment proceedings against the president, but have warned that the White House could force the issue by impeding congressional oversight going forward.
“Every day, they are advertising their obstruction of justice by ignoring subpoenas and by just declaring that people should not come and speak to Congress so that the American people can find out the truth,” House Speaker Pelosi said Thursday.
Trump says Democrats’ efforts will backfire.
“And now the Democrats are saying, ‘We want more.’ ... And actually it is working the other way, because now we have the best poll numbers that we have ever had. It is crazy,” Trump told supporters at the Florida rally.
While House Democrats continue to negotiate for Mueller to testify, the Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee surprised many in Washington by subpoenaing the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., to testify as part of the panel’s own probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.