As Attorney General William Barr released the redacted version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on his investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, the reaction from Republicans in Congress has been generally muted, leading many to speculate that President Donald Trump is more likely to see his defeat at the hands of his 2020 election opponent than through impeachment, The Independent reports.
Within a day of the report’s release, House Democrats were vowing to aggressively pursue a copy of the unredacted report and even going as far as to begin rallying support for impeachment. Multiple members of the House have signed on to an impeachment resolution, which has also earned the support of Senator and presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. The palpable urgency of the Democratic Party, however, has not been reciprocated by the other side of the aisle, where Republican lawmakers, far from meeting their opponents head on, have been largely silent even as high-profile Democrats take vocal aim at the leader of their party.
“The severity of this misconduct demands that elected officials in both parties set aside political considerations and do their constitutional duty,” said Warren. “That means the House should initiate impeachment proceedings against the president of the United States.”
Republicans only: what are the next steps following the Mueller report?
— Washington Journal (@cspanwj) April 20, 2019
The fact that Congressional Republicans seem largely unmoved one way or the other by the contents of the report, seeing Trump removed from office before the end of his term appears increasingly unlikely. If the House did choose to impeach, removing a sitting president would also require a vote in the Republican-controlled Senate. Barring further revelations within the redactions of Mueller’s report or elsewhere, there does not seem to be any emergent information that would likely influence Republicans to turn against Trump in a vote for removal.
One high-profile exception to Republican ambivalence on the issue has been Utah Senator and former presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, who said that he personally was appalled by the interactions between the Trump campaign and Russia as described in the report.
“I am sickened at the extent and pervasiveness of dishonesty and misdirection by individuals in the highest office of the land, including the president,” he said. “Reading the report is a sobering revelation of how far we have strayed from the aspirations and principles of the founders.”
Another presidential contender, Senator Marco Rubio, has expressed an opinion much more in line with that of rank and file Republicans. Rubio expressed outrage that Russia was able to so effectively meddle in American elections, but said he is “relieved” to learn that it wasn’t done in coordination with Trump or the campaign.