CAPITAL REGION — Initial reactions to the summary of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report released on Sunday depend very much on party affiliation, with Democrats calling for the Justice Department to release the entire report so Congress and the public can see the evidence Mueller evaluated.
Since President Donald Trump’s election, 20th District U.S. Rep. Paul D. Tonko, D-Amsterdam, has been an outspoken critic of Trump on numerous policy grounds, as well as a critic of the president’s personal conduct. Tonko said the entire Mueller report needs to come out, noting that the House of Representatives voted 420-0 just over a week ago to demand the full report be released.
“Congress has made it absolutely clear: For the sake of our national security and the integrity of our elections and our government, the special counsel’s report must be released in full,” Tonko said in a released statement Sunday night.
He also noted that Mueller’s two-year investigation has led to more than 30 indictments of people other than the president, with multiple convictions. “In direct contradiction of the White House’s false claims [on Sunday], the report did not clear President Trump of wrongdoing,” Tonko said.
For her part, U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, who represents the 21st Congressional District, did not criticize Trump. She said the focus should be on Russia and its attempted interference in U.S. elections. She said the members of Congress on both sides of the aisle should “respect the findings of this investigation: There was no collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.”
Stefanik, a member of the House Intelligence and Armed Services committees, said Congress, instead of focusing on Trump, should concentrate on addressing Mueller’s finding that Russia worked to undermine and influence the 2016 presidential election. Intelligence agencies and other investigations have found Russia sought to influence the election in Trump’s favor.
“I will continue to work to counter Russia’s disinformation efforts and cyber theats on the House Armed Services Committee,” Stefanik said.
Meanwhile, Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo called for release of the full Mueller report, rather than the summary that was released by U.S. Attorney General William Barr.
In an interview with Alan Chartock Monday on WAMC Public Radio in Albany, Cuomo said “the president is not out of the woods with legal trouble,” noting Trump remains under investigation by the U.S. attorney in Manhattan for his business activities.
He said Democrats going into the 2020 presidential election should be campaigning on substantive issues rather than simply being anti-Trump.
“I think when we look back the great question is going to be: What came first? The Trump presidency or the degradation of our electoral system?” Cuomo said. “Is Trump — was, when we look back — was Trump the product of the degradation of the electoral system or did President Trump degrade the system? Where did it happen that we shifted from a really basically substantive conversation to this celebrity, media, social media, Twitter dialogue that is a mile wide and half an inch deep?”