Both parties seek political leverage from Mueller report

Congressional Republicans in blue-wave Colorado are quieter than many of their national counterparts.

WASHINGTON – The conclusions of the long-awaited report from Special Counsel Robert Mueller have many Republicans in Congress declaring victory for President Trump. But the four Republicans in Colorado’s congressional delegation so far have been more tempered – if not totally silent – in their responses.

The four-page summary of Mueller’s report into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election was submitted to lawmakers Sunday by Attorney General William Barr.

According to Barr, Mueller’s investigation did not find evidence that the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference. Mueller also declined to draw a conclusion on whether the president obstructed justice, saying that while his report “does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”

Trump heralded the findings. “No Collusion, No Obstruction, Complete and Total EXONERATION. KEEP AMERICA GREAT!” the president wrote on Twitter Sunday.

His spokeswoman, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, labeled the Mueller probe a “two-year waste of taxpayer time and dollars,” speaking on NBC’s “Today” show on Monday.

Nationally, Trump’s allies also were quick to rally behind the president, portraying the entire exercise as a waste of time and money. Many Trump supporters in Congress have engaged in a social-media flurry of I-told-you-so’s about Mueller’s no-collusion finding and lashed out at Democrats for creating a “cloud of treason” surrounding the White House.

But in Colorado – a state where voters sent a fiercely blue mandate in November – the response among the three Republican members of the House has been more muted. 

U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colorado Springs, has not tweeted anything in response to Barr’s memo summarizing Mueller’s findings, though the congressman greeted Friday’s news that it called for no new indictments as confirmation of “what most of us knew all along, that there was never any collusion with Russia.” He noted that he is especially interested in “the burden of cost” the Mueller investigation placed on taxpayers.

U.S. Reps. Ken Buck and Scott Tipton stayed mum about report’s release and findings, at least on social media. 

Colorado’s Republican senator, Cory Gardner, chimed in on Twitter, saying, “The public needs to be able to see as much of the report as possible.” He did not go so far as to say that the “full report” should be released. The ambiguity about just how much he thinks Congress and the public have a right to see have prompted a slew of social media attacks about Gardner’s support of Trump, including the president’s re-election campaign.

For their part, Colorado’s Congressional Democrats are united in their calls for public disclosure of the full Mueller report.

U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse, D-Boulder, echoed those, calling for “full transparency.” 

U.S. Reps. Diana DeGette, D-Denver, Jason Crow, D-Aurora, and Ed Perlmutter, D-Lakewood, all issued similar calls for full disclosure.

Perlmutter is among the many Democrats who seized on the obstruction of justice comments in the report to call for further investigations.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) said he plans to call Barr in to testify before his committee “in light of the very concerning discrepancies and final decision making at the Justice Department following the Special Counsel report, where Mueller did not exonerate the President.” He plans to summon Barr “in the near future,” he wrote on Twitter. Both Neguse and Buck sit on that committee. 

The U.S. House voted 420-0 earlier this month in support of a resolution to release the full Mueller report.

Sarah Sanders said on the “Today” show Monday that the president is leaving it up to Barr to decide whether to release the report. “I don’t think the president has any problem with” releasing the report, she said. “He’s more than happy for any of this stuff to come out because he knows exactly what did and what didn’t happen.”

Photo by Twitter Trends 2019, Flickr Creative Commons. Susan Greene contributed to this report.