Democrats vying to take on President Donald Trump in the 2020 election joined the roar of criticism over the Justice Department’s release of Robert Mueller’s redacted report on Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russia’s interference.
The Justice Department’s news conference held ahead of its release was one major point of contention. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) called the conference, led by U.S. Attorney General William Barr, a “spin from a Trump appointee.”
“The American people deserve the truth,” Booker, a 2020 contender, tweeted after the start of the news conference.
The American people deserve the truth.— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) April 18, 2019
Not spin from a Trump appointee.
Release Mueller's full report now.
Sen. Kamala Harris (Calif.), another 2020 Democratic candidate, also criticized Barr’s appearance ahead of the report’s release.
“Barr is acting more like Trump’s defense attorney than the nation’s Attorney General,” she tweeted, adding that the event was a “stunt, filled with political spin and propaganda.”
Barr is acting more like Trump’s defense attorney than the nation's Attorney General. His press conference was a stunt, filled with political spin and propaganda.⁰ ⁰Americans deserve the unvarnished truth. We need Special Counsel Mueller to testify publicly in Congress.— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) April 18, 2019
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who deflected Twitter insults from Trump this week, chided the president for trying to shut down Mueller’s investigation, as noted in the report. The senator urged Congress to continue investigating Trump’s misuse of power separately.
While Mueller declined to make a determination on whether Trump obstructed justice, the special counsel did not exonerate him on that allegation. According to the redacted report, the special counsel looked into 10 instances of possible obstruction in which Trump used his authority to interfere with the federal investigation.
“It is clear that Donald Trump wanted nothing more than to shut down the Mueller investigation,” Sanders tweeted, adding that “Congress must continue its investigation into Trump’s conduct and any foreign attempts to influence our election.”
It is clear that Donald Trump wanted nothing more than to shut down the Mueller investigation. While we have more detail from today's report than before, Congress must continue its investigation into Trump's conduct and any foreign attempts to influence our election.— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) April 18, 2019
We must also work to do everything we can to protect our future elections from the significant threat of foreign interference, and I call on President Trump and Republican leadership to stop obstructing the necessary work to protect our democracy.— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) April 18, 2019
Both senators launched separate petitions calling on Barr to release an unredacted version of the full report to Congress, which House Democrats plan to subpoena.
Mueller “should testify before Congress and the American people as soon as possible,” Warren said in a statement with her petition.
In her call for signatures, Gillibrand said that Barr, “Trump’s handpicked AG,” couldn’t be trusted.
Congress needs to see the full, unredacted report. Special Counsel Robert Mueller should testify before Congress and the American people as soon as possible. Add your name if you agree, and together, we’ll fight to get to the bottom of this. https://t.co/ROheXVUmc9— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) April 18, 2019
We can’t trust Trump’s handpicked AG to be transparent about the Mueller report. Congress needs to see it in full—and the public needs to know whether Trump obstructed justice.— Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) April 18, 2019
Sign our petition calling on Barr to release the full report: https://t.co/Ptmf66EDk0
Rep. Eric Swalwell (Calif.), who announced his candidacy earlier this month, focused his frustration on Barr. The attorney general faced criticism from Democrats and the media for holding a news conference to talk about the redacted Mueller report before handing it over to Congress for review.
AG Barr must resign. You can represent the people OR you can represent the President, but you can’t do both.— Eric Swalwell (@ericswalwell) April 18, 2019
Sign our petition to demand Barr resign:https://t.co/FfAXP9QQ3f
In light of the report’s release, Pete Buttigieg, the Indiana mayor who’s become a fast-rising 2020 contender, accused Trump of “putting his own interests ahead of the country’s.”
“Today again demonstrates why we need to change the channel in 2020,” he tweeted.
The Mueller report is a disturbing if not completely surprising collection of evidence that shows a president putting his own interests ahead of the country’s. Today again demonstrates why we need to change the channel in 2020.— Pete Buttigieg (@PeteButtigieg) April 18, 2019
Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota highlighted how quickly Mueller’s report noted his team’s conclusion that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election, despite Trump downplaying Russia’s meddling.
The first page of the report revealed that Russia interfered “in sweeping and systematic fashion,” Klobuchar tweeted with a copy of the page. “So despite the endless doubts cast by the President, this happened.”
Klobuchar also called on Mueller to testify to Congress in public hearings.
“Our democracy demands it,” she said.
First Page of Mueller report says that Russian government interfered in 2016 presidential election “in sweeping and systematic fashion.” So despite the endless doubts cast by the President, this happened. Case made for my bill for backup paper ballots and post-election audits. pic.twitter.com/YziOqA9FvF— Amy Klobuchar (@amyklobuchar) April 18, 2019
Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro described the investigation’s findings as “far from exonerating anyone” and said it revealed “disgraceful behavior by Donald Trump and his inner circle.”
“This report makes clear: Donald Trump is looking out for himself, not America,” Castro, the former Housing and Urban Development secretary under the Obama administration, tweeted.
He also called on Congress to continue investigating Trump on claims of obstruction of justice.
Far from exonerating anyone, the Special Counsel report exposes disgraceful behavior by Donald Trump and his inner circle—both in seeking assistance from Russia & attempting to cover it up. Mueller should testify and Congress should investigate charges of obstruction of justice.— Julián Castro (@JulianCastro) April 18, 2019
This report makes clear: Donald Trump is looking out for himself, not for America. We must restore integrity and accountability to the White House.— Julián Castro (@JulianCastro) April 18, 2019
- This article originally appeared on HuffPost.