Two presidential candidates campaigning in Iowa today, both U.S. Senators, are criticizing Attorney General William Barr’s decision to hold a news conference two hours before releasing the Mueller report to the public.
Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar spoke with reporters in the Iowa capitol.
“I am very concerned about how the attorney general has rolled this out,” Klobuchar said. “He is supposed to be the people’s attorney, not the president’s attorney.”
New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand called the attorney general’s news conference “a complete farce” and an “embarrassing display of propaganda” on behalf of the president.
“What’s so disturbing is that Attorney General Barr insists that he somehow characterize this report first, create a narrative and put a frame around it,” Gillibrand said during an interview earlier this morning with Radio Iowa.
Klobuchar said she hopes the Mueller report helps spur passage of a bill she’s co-sponsored that will require back-up paper ballots and audits of the 2020 election results.
“In the words of the president’s own National Security Director Dan Coats, ‘The Russians are simply getting bolder,'” Klobuchar said. “What I hope this report will do is illuminate all of the very illegal things the Russians did to try to influence our election.”
Klobuchar said the Russians tried to hack into election equipment as well as the propaganda they posted online to try to inflame political divisions in this country.
“Those are the things that we’ve got to focus on,” Klobuchar said. “And I know there’s going to be a lot of talk about obstruction and I’m going to read it very carefully to see the differences of opinion, but I want you not to let go of the importance of our next election, that we don’t have this happen again.”
Gillibrand said the whole purpose of having the special counsel was to have an independent investigation of Russian influence in the 2016 election.
“Hopefully we’ll get to see the truth,” Gillibrand said before an appearance in Indianola. “Congress is entitled to an un-redacted report. We review confidential and privileged information all the time, so we deserve an un-redacted report and if the redactions are too fulsome, I hope we subpoena the report, un-redacted.”
It appears just a few members of congress will get to see the report in full, without sections blacked out. Klobuchar said she hopes, as a member of the Senate Judiciary, that she gets to see it in full.
“But the most important thing is that Bob Mueller come before congress, so the public can see him answer questions,” Klobuchar told reporters in Des Moines, “so that we can get to the bottom of why there is this difference in his interpretation of the law and the attorney general of the United States.”
Neither of Iowa’s U.S. senators have commented on the release of the Mueller report after it was made public. Grassley said earlier today he favors releasing as much of the Mueller report as possible, but not grand jury testimony or any information that would endanger national security. Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer, a Democrat from Dubuque, said in a written statement that making the report public has been “essential to ensure that the best interests of every American rise above partisanship.” Finkenauer said congress must secure and defend U.S. elections from foreign influence.