Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) asked for unanimous consent for the nonbinding resolution, which cleared the House 420-0, to be passed by the Senate following Mueller’s submission of his final reporton Friday.
“Whether or not you’re a supporter of President Trump … there is no good reason not to make the report public,” Schumer said from the floor. “It’s a simple request for transparency. Nothing more, nothing less.”
But McConnell objected, noting that Attorney General William Barr is working with Mueller to determine what in his report can be released publicly and what cannot.
“The special counsel and the Justice Department ought to be allowed to finish their work in a professional manner,” McConnell said. “To date, the attorney general has followed through on his commitments to Congress. One of those commitments is that he intends to release as much information as possible.”
Under Senate rules, any one senator can try to pass or set up a vote on a bill, resolution or nomination. But in turn, any one senator can block their request.
Mueller turned his report over to the Justice Department on Friday, signaling the formal end of the two-year investigation. Barr sent a four-page letter to the House and Senate Judiciary committees on Sunday outlining Mueller’s main findings.
Mueller, according to the letter, did not uncover evidence that the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government to interfere in the 2016 election.
The attorney general’s letter also said that Mueller made no conclusion as to whether Trump obstructed justice in the investigation into Russia’s election interference. But it states that Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, after reviewing Mueller’s findings, determined that they would not pursue an obstruction of justice charge.
He’s separately told lawmakers he’s working with Mueller to determine what in the report should or should not be publicly released.
Schumer added after McConnell’s objection that the resolution didn’t say the report should be released “immediately” but just that it ought to be released.
“I’m sort of befuddled by the majority leader’s reasoning in this regard because it is not in the words of this resolution,” he said.
But McConnell countered that the president has had to wait two years while the investigation was ongoing and “it’s not unreasonable to give the special counsel and the Justice Department just a little time to complete their review in a professional and responsible manner.”
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, quickly backed McConnell up in a tweet.
Good. Because this measure is an unnecessary solution looking for a problem. Just like the previous one they had to prevent @potusfrom firing Mueller. https://t.co/x5wSwRZQbc— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) March 25, 2019
The GOP-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee passed legislation during the previous Congress that would protect Mueller from being fired, but it wasn’t taken up on the Senate floor amid opposition from McConnell and other GOP senators.
It’s the second time a Republican senator has blocked Schumer’s attempt to pass the House resolution.
The New York Democrat’s first attempt came hours after the resolution cleared the House unanimously, but Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, objected to his request.
Graham blocked the resolution from passing after Schumer refused to amend it to include a provision calling on the Justice Department to appoint a special counsel to investigate alleged department misconduct in the handling of the investigation into 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton‘s email use and the Carter Page Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act applications.