Reps. Johnson and Ryan respond to Mueller report without fully reading it


By David Skolnick

skolnick@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

U.S. Reps. Bill Johnson and Tim Ryan were quick to respond to the redacted Mueller report without fully reading the 448-page document.

Less than an hour after Attorney General William Barr provided the report Thursday to Congress, Johnson of Marietta, R-6th, said: “The release of Robert Mueller’s report to Congress and the public [Thursday], once again, very clearly, indicates there was no collusion and no obstruction between then candidate Donald Trump – or his campaign – and Russia. This reinforces the summary sent out on March 24 by Attorney General Barr.”

He added: “It’s over. Now that the Trump-Russia ‘collusion delusion’ has finally been put to rest, the American people deserve to know how this mess started and who was behind it – by the way, we already know the why. Those responsible for perpetrating this hoax must be held accountable - and, I think they will be.”

When asked by The Vindicator if Johnson read the report before commenting, Ben Keeler, his spokesman, said the congressman “has started reading and continues to read through the report. The statement was based on previous statements from the Justice Department and Attorney General Barr’s [Thursday] press conference.”

Keeler said he didn’t know when Johnson would have a follow-up statement after reading the report.

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s report concluded there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 election. On the topic of obstruction of justice, Mueller wrote: “... while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”

Also, Johnson’s campaign sent a fundraising email Thursday to capitalize on the Mueller report.

About an hour and 40 minutes after his office received the report, Ryan of Howland, D-13th, said he would continue reviewing the redacted version and would “pressure the Justice Department to reconsider its decision to not release the unredacted report to the American public. This report proves once again that the Russian government interfered in the 2016 election with the explicit goal of helping Donald Trump win the presidency. It is time for President Trump to stop believing [Russian President Vladimir] Putin over our intelligence community.”

Ryan criticized Barr for deciding “to be the personal attorney for President Trump rather than fulfilling his role as attorney for the American people. It’s beyond unacceptable.”

Michael Zetts, a Ryan spokesman, didn’t say if the congressman would have a follow-up statement after reading the full report.

About five hours after the report was released, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, a Cleveland Democrat, said: “My office and I are still thoroughly reviewing the report, but we know the president has a history of not telling the truth. Already, five people in the president’s circle have been convicted of crimes and there are as many as 14 ongoing criminal investigations that have yet to be resolved.”

He added: “At the same time, we cannot afford to lose focus on the fact that a foreign government attacked our elections. Our security is bigger than any one political party, and Republicans and Democrats need to come together and do what it takes to protect our institutions.”

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, a Cincinnati-area Republican, was in Vietnam with a group of other senators when the report was given to his office. His office said Portman would review the report when he’s able to do so and then offer a comment.

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