‘They are grieving that the national crisis they spent two years wishing for did not materialize…’
(AFP) Mitch McConnell, the top Republican in Congress, said Tuesday it was “case closed” regarding the special counsel’s report on Russian interference and urged Democrats to drop their investigations of President Donald Trump.
The Senate majority leader laid out his argument for turning from “unhinged partisanship” and paralysis after a 2016 election that did not go Democrats’ way to cooperating on legislation now that the two-year investigation has run its course.
Democrats “told everyone there had been a conspiracy between Russia and the Trump campaign, yet on this special question, the special counsel’s finding is case closed,” McConnell said in a floor speech.
“They are grieving that the national crisis they spent two years wishing for did not materialize,” he said of congressional Democrats. “But for the rest of the country, this is good news.”
Top Democrat Chuck Schumer responded immediately and heatedly, calling McConnell’s remarks “an astounding bit of whitewashing” amid rising Democratic concerns that Trump may have acted inappropriately or even illegally.
“It’s sort of like Richard Nixon saying ‘Let’s move on’ at the height of the investigation of his wrongdoing,” Schumer said, referring to the president who resigned in disgrace in 1974 during the Watergate scandal.
McConnell’s call to move on is “a concerted effort to circle the wagons, to protect the president from accountability, to whitewash his reprehensible conduct by simply declaring it irrelevant.”
McConnell barely mentioned the specifics of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe, but Schumer was quick to note that the report identified around a dozen instances of potential obstruction of justice by Trump.
In a withering follow-up statement, Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi assailed McConnell’s “case closed” argument as “a stunning act of political cynicism.”
“On every issue that matters in people’s lives, the administration and a complicit Republican Senate are waging an unprecedented, unwarranted, unconstitutional and utterly dangerous campaign of stonewalling,” they said.
The back-and-forth comes amid rising tensions on Capitol Hill, where House Democrats have scheduled contempt proceedings for Wednesday against US Attorney General Bill Barr for failing to produce Mueller’s full, unredacted report.
Barr, whom McConnell praised as a “distinguished public servant,” angered Democrats by refusing to testify before a House panel last week.
Another front of conflict opened Tuesday when the administration instructed former White House counsel Don McGahn, a key figure in Mueller’s report, to withhold documents sought by the House Judiciary Committee.
© Agence France-Presse