With many Democrats still reeling in the wake of the announcement that there would be no new indictments forthcoming for alleged collusion with Russian operatives, President Donald Trump posted a mocking tweet Monday morning suggesting that Dems are now pretending their "former hero" special counsel Robert Mueller doesn't exist. According to a report in Politico, the president has "railed against" Democrats who have said they plan to move forward with further investigations into Trump's finances and other ties to Russia despite Attorney General William Barr's four-page memo summarizing the 400-page Mueller report.
"Now that the long awaited Mueller Report conclusions have been released, most Democrats and others have gone back to the pre-Witch Hunt phase of their lives before Collusion Delusion took over," Trump tweeted. "Others are pretending that their former hero, Bob Mueller, no longer exists!"
The main takeaway that Trump has attached himself to is Barr's announcement that Mueller concluded that there was insufficient evidence to charge him with obstruction of justice and that there was not enough evidence of a connection between Russian operatives, the Trump campaign, and election interference to issue any further indictments. And despite Mueller explicitly writing that while the investigation can't conclude that the president is guilty of a crime, it "also does not exonerate him," the Trump team has been hailing it as just that, complete vindication.
"No Collusion, No Obstruction, Complete and Total EXONERATION. KEEP AMERICA GREAT!" Trump tweeted on March 24.
For their part, Democrats have struggled to cohere around a single defining message in the anticlimactic hangover following the 22-month investigation, which was often heralded as portending doom for Trump.
However, Attorney General Barr's summary left many observers with more questions than they had before. And with Barr and the Justice Department saying that it will be at least mid-April before a redacted version of the Mueller report is available for Congress to review, Democrats in the House Judiciary Committee are taking steps to prepare subpoenas for the release of the full, unredacted document, setting up a legal showdown between Congress, the president, and his hand-picked attorney general, only six weeks into his tenure. The Democrats on the committee are also seeking the release of documents related to the investigations of five of Trump's former associates and have accused Barr of stonewalling them.
In a statement released on Monday, Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) reminded Barr that Congress has a duty to review the entire, unredacted report, as well as the "underlying evidence."
"Attorney General Barr has thus far indicated he will not meet the April 2 deadline set by myself and five other Committee chairs, and refused to work with us to provide the full report, without redactions, to Congress," Nadler wrote in a statement, according to a Bloomberg report.
Nadler added that he hoped Barr would "reconsider" before the committee held a Wednesday vote on whether to issue subpoenas.