WASHINGTON — Robert Mueller’s report represents “only part of the story” of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, according to Maryland lawmakers who say Congress must now question the special counsel and subpoena his report, minus the redactions.
“We must continue to follow the facts,” said Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, who is a former assistant state’s attorney in Baltimore County.
Ruppersberger, like many in the state’s mostly Democratic delegation, considered the report an invitation to delve further into the activities of Republican President Donald Trump and his associates in the 2016 campaign.
Those efforts, the report said, included ordering White House counsel Don McGahn to have Mueller removed. The report said McGahn refused.
“Think about that for a minute,” Maryland Democratic U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen said. “This isn’t one instance — it’s 10. But despite that knowledge, (U.S. Attorney General William) Barr trumpeted Trump’s innocence. That was a political determination, not a legal one.”
Van Hollen also called for Mueller to testify under oath.
“We must get the truth,” the senator said.
U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin, also a Democrat, was struck by what Mueller said about the conduct of Trump’s aides.
“What surprised me was the courage of his staff people not to carry out his instructions. To me, that was amazing,” Cardin said. “They recognized how inappropriate the requests of the president were.”
Mueller’s report was 448 pages. Like many federal lawmakers, Cardin listened to Barr’s news conference before the report was released, then paused to read as much as he could before reacting.
“It’s not easy to get through all 400 pages in a couple of hours,” said Cardin, who was attending a series of events in Western Maryland. As he rode from stop to stop, he read.
Maryland’s delegation includes eight U.S. representatives and two senators. All but Baltimore County Rep. Andy Harris are Democrats.
A reporter seeking comment from Harris was directed by a spokesperson Thursday to the congressman’s Twitter account.
“The United States government has spent two years, $25 million dollars, and a ridiculous amount of wasted time and energy on a special counsel that has officially exonerated the president from allegations of collusion with the Russian government during his 2016 presidential campaign,” Harris’ statement on Twitter said.
It’s now time, Harris said, “to move on and take care of the things that the American people really care about, like the economy and border security.”
But Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, a Baltimore Democrat who chairs the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, said Congress must follow up on the report.
“Unfortunately, we still have only part of the story, and Congress must subpoena the full report and all underlying documents,” Cummings said.
Rep. Anthony Brown, who represents parts of Anne Arundel and Prince George’s counties, agreed Congress “must be given the full, unredacted report, and the American people must hear directly from Robert Mueller.”
Cummings said Mueller revealed “in excruciating detail a proliferation of lies by the president to the American people, as well as his incessant and repeated efforts to encourage others to lie.”
House leaders promised to pursue the leads in the report. Democrats won control of the House in the November elections.
"House Democrats, while continuing to move forward with our agenda of opportunity and economic growth for the people, will do our part responsibly by investigating whether obstruction of justice occurred and the scope of Russian interference,” said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, a Southern Maryland Democrat.
“To that end, Special Counsel Mueller ought to testify before Congress and explain his findings in greater detail,” Hoyer said.