Staunch supporter of President Donald Trump Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) has killed a resolution in the Senate to make the Mueller report public once it is completed, according to a report in The Hill. The resolution, a similar version of which has already passed unanimously in the House of Representatives, calls for the Department of Justice to give the public access to the report that will eventually emerge from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible connections between Russia and the Trump 2016 presidential campaign.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York had asked for the Senate to take up the resolution and pass it unanimously with a nonbinding consent vote before the Senate adjourns for a week-long recess, arguing that “there is no good reason” the special counsel’s report shouldn’t be available for the general public to read.
“The American people are overwhelmingly for the report being made public. They have a right to see it. No one should stand in the way of that,” Schumer said.
However, Graham, who has frequently marched in lockstep with the president’s desired policy and judiciary choices, objected after Schumer refused to go along with an attempt to amend the resolution to request that a special counsel also be appointed to investigate the Department of Justice’s conduct surrounding the 2016 campaign of candidate Hillary Clinton, and particularly her emails.
Graham justified the move by saying that he was fully supportive of Mueller’s investigation of the president’s campaign, but that he was simply “trying to find balance” by also having a special counsel investigate Clinton’s campaign scandals.
“Was there two systems of justice in 2016? One for the Democratic candidate and one for the Republican candidate?”
Under Senate rules, all it takes to block a vote on a resolution like the one calling for the release of the Mueller report is one senator to object, a rule that Graham exploited to effectively kill the immediate passage of the resolution.
Schumer accused Graham of using his calls for “balance” as a “pretext” for derailing the Mueller resolution and agreed with the House resolution’s assertion that there is “overwhelming public interest” in the full contents of the Mueller report being made public.
“I have absolutely no idea why a member of this body would object to this basic level of transparency whatever their concern or other issues.”
When he has been asked about releasing the Mueller report, Attorney General William Barr has expressed to release as much of it “as possible,” but has been careful to avoid committing to releasing the full contents of the report.