By Sandra E Garcia
Many Democratic presidential candidates Sunday called for the release of the special counsel’s entire report and said they were dissatisfied with relying on Attorney General William P Barr’s four-page summary of the two-year investigation.
Mr Barr’s letter said the investigation, led by the special counsel, Robert S Mueller III, concluded that neither the president nor his aides conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Julian Castro, one of the 15 Democrats to have announced their candidacy for president in 2020, said Congress should be allowed to see the report in its entirety. He said Mr Barr was too close to the Trump administration for his summary to be the only peek into Mr Mueller’s work.
“A politically appointed Attorney General shouldn’t decide how much of the Special Counsel report Congress can read,” Mr Castro tweeted minutes after the letter was released. “The full report should be released and Robert Mueller should testify to its findings.”
Most of the other candidates made the same point: Because Mr Barr was appointed by President Trump, the letter could not be considered an objective source of information.
“The American public deserves the full report and findings from the Mueller investigation immediately — not just the in-house summary from a Trump Administration official,” Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey said on Twitter.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, who officially kicked off her campaign on Sunday, tweeted that the full report should be released and “not just a letter from someone appointed by Trump to protect himself — all of it.”
Other candidates said releasing Mr Mueller’s complete report would bring transparency to the process.
Senator Kamala Harris of California, who was campaigning in Atlanta on Sunday, spoke to her supporters about Mr Barr’s letter.
“The American public deserves transparency and accountability,” she said, adding Mr Barr “must be required to come and testify before Congress instead of just submitting a four-page memo of what happened.”
Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota posted a video on her Twitter account standing in front of the Robert F Kennedy Department of Justice Building, saying that the only way to have justice was if the entire report were made public.
Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts noted on Twitter that the House voted 420-0 to demand that the Justice Department release the full report. “Not a ‘summary’ from his handpicked Attorney General. AG Barr, make the full report public. Immediately,” she wrote.
Senator Bernie Sanders, independent of Vermont, did not mince words.
“I don’t want a summary of the Mueller report,” he tweeted. “I want the whole damn report.”