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Local lawmakers react to release of Mueller report

April 18, 2019 07:28 PM

Reaction to the Mueller report runs along party lines.

Republican Elise Stefanik issued a statement saying she will be reading the report that was made available to members of Congress.

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Stefanik said Attorney General William Barr was clear that the process was completed with a high degree of transparency; no executive privilege, limited redactions and it resulted in a report of no collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.

Democrat Paul Tonko called Barr's behavior during the press conference Thursday morning shameful. Tonko said Barr sounded more like a defense attorney for the president than the attorney general.

Tonko said he believes previous statements from Barr and Trump claiming the report exonerated the president are untrue. Tonko was also quick to point out that several of Trump's associates, like Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn, were charged and convicted in the investigation.

"When people suggest perhaps it's an attack or a witch-hunt I will remind each and every one of us that there were some at 34 indictments issued," Tonko said. "There were a number of people who pled guilty. The president’s own chair of his campaign is serving seven to eight years in prison and was indicted on and found guilty on eight counts. Then his own -- his very first national security advisor Mr. Flynn was found guilty."

With the 2020 election right around the corner, Tonko said there's still a lot of work that needs to be done.

"Again not reading it, but hearing it in the reports that there was definitely a Russian desire to have the Trump candidacy be the winning candidacy," Tonko said. "Just how much they incorporate it with the forces that surround the president is what needs to be gleaned from the report."

Tonko said lawmakers also have a lot of work to do on legislation that doesn't involve the Mueller report.

"A lot of attention is being paid to the committees that are reviewing the report," Tonko said. "It does drain the energy and time supply that should be made available to the issues so it really means burning the midnight oil so to speak to get a lot of this done. But it again is a fundamental foundation so it has to be addressed and corrected."

Other members of Congress are reacting as they – along with the American people – get a chance to review it.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused Attorney General William Barr being partisan in how his office handled the report.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has a different view. He thanked Barr for his "diligent work" to release as much of the report as possible.

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer takes issue with Barr's conclusion that the president did not obstruct justice.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is calling for Senate hearings on the investigation.

Rep. Paul Tonko commented that the report is "far more detailed and rigorous than the four page memo issued by Attorney General Barr."

Rep. Elise Stefanik praised Barr for "a high degree of transparency."

Rep. Antonio Delgado says it's clear Russia interfered in the election.

Barr says a version of the report with fewer redactions will be made available to a small group of lawmakers.

Credits

Chris Rooney & Emily Burkhard

Copyright 2019 WNYT-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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