Tulsi Gabbard says it's a 'good thing' Trump wasn't charged by Mueller

Distinguishing herself in a crowded field of Democrats running for president, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, called Robert Mueller’s decision not to charge Donald Trump with colluding with Russia during the 2016 election “a good thing for our country.”

Presidential hopeful Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, at a campaign stop in Peterborough, N.H., March 22, 2019. (Photo: Charles Krupa/AP)

Gabbard, who lags in 2020 polls behind better-known rivals, said in a video posted to her Twitter account that “now that Mueller has reported that his investigation revealed no such collusion, we all need to put aside our partisan interests and recognize that finding that the president of the United States did not conspire with Russia to interfere with our elections is a good thing for our country.”

While a chorus of Republicans, based on Attorney General William Barr’s four-page summary of Mueller’s report, are treating the matter as closed, other Democrats aren’t ready to move on.

“I'm very concerned because I think what the Attorney General did is undermine the purpose of the special counsel's job by summarizing this report and putting his imprimatur on it, he is taking away the benefit of having someone who's non-partisan, not appointed by the president actually making the decision about whether crimes may have been committed,” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said Thursday on MSNBC.

To date, only Barr’s team at the Justice Department have actually read Mueller’s report as the attorney general decides what portions, if any, of the nearly 400-page document he will keep from public view.

Like her rivals, Gabbard said she would like the public to see special counsel’s findings.

“The American people need to be able to see Mueller’s report,” Gabbard said in the video, but she emphasized that “we should all be relieved” Mueller did not recommend charging Trump with a criminal offense.

Explaining her rationale, Gabbard said that “if the president had been indicted for conspiring with Russia to interfere with and affect the outcome of our elections, it would have precipitated a terrible crisis that could have led to civil war.”

Gabbard then called on lawmakers to unite and pass her own legislation that seeks to secure U.S. elections by mandating paper ballots “that would make it impossible for Russia or any other country or rogue actor to come in and manipulate or change the results of our elections.”

U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election, using cyberattacks and other means to try to help elect Trump.

A Quinnipiac poll of Democrats likely to seek the 2020 presidential nomination found Gabbard was the choice of less than 1% of voters surveyed.

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