As Attorney General William Barr pores over the highly-anticipated report he received from Special Counsel Robert Mueller Friday afternoon, House Republican Whip Steve Scalise is already saying that it vindicates President Donald Trump.
Scalise claims reports that Mueller recommends no further indictments is proof that allegations Trump and Russia schemed to meddle in the 2016 election were a “lie.”
Shortly after Mueller handed over his report, news outlets including the New York Times and the Washington Post quoted a “senior justice department official” as saying Mueller’s report recommended no further indictments.
Trump allies including Scalise quickly seized on that statement, making the argument that it proves there was no collusion between Trump and Russia.
“Like most Americans, I am glad to see that this investigation, which has taken nearly two years and cost tens of millions of dollars, has finally come to a close,” Scalise said in a statement. “The reports that there will be no new indictments confirm what we’ve known all along: there was never any collusion with Russia. The only collusion was between Democrats and many in the media who peddled this lie because they continue to refuse to accept the results of the 2016 election. I am glad Attorney General Barr will now be able to review the report, and I look forward to Congress being fully briefed on its findings, including the cost to taxpayers.”
The Mueller Report cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars & has resulted in zero indictments for collusion, proving what we’ve always suspected: this was a witch hunt. We deserve to know the exact cost & if those who used it to smear @realDonaldTrump will be held accountable. pic.twitter.com/ZnMV0Qzq7b
— Steve Scalise (@SteveScalise) March 23, 2019
However, even if the Mueller report does not recommend further indictments, that does not mean President Trump and those in his orbit are in the clear. The former FBI head has already referred several cases to career prosecutors at the Justice Department — and may have made other referrals that aren’t public yet. The Democrat-controlled House also continues to pursue its own investigation into the President’s alleged ties to Russia.
It is long-standing policy in the Department of Justice that a sitting President cannot be indicted.
Still, news that the report recommends no further indictments was cause célèbre for those close to the President.
“675 days, millions spent, a team of people biased against the President, and NO COLLUSION FOUND,” tweeted Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, in a message retweeted by the the President’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr.
675 days, millions spent, a team of people biased against the President, and NO COLLUSION FOUND. Now, we have to have a review of how we got here: how we allow political opposition research to fuel an investigation that was never founded in fact or reality. #MuellerReport pic.twitter.com/YrjM4lT8N9
— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) March 23, 2019
North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows also tweeted that “The Mueller report delivery suggests no more indictments are coming from the Special Counsel. If that’s true, it would mean we just completed two years of investigating ‘Russian collusion’ without ONE collusion related indictment. Not even one. Why? Because there was no collusion.”
The Mueller report delivery suggests no more indictments are coming from the Special Counsel. If that's true, it would mean we just completed 2 years of investigating 'Russian collusion' without ONE collusion related indictment. Not even one.
Why? Because there was no collusion
— Mark Meadows (@RepMarkMeadows) March 22, 2019
In truth, however, Mueller’s investigation has already led to a slew of indictments, guilty pleas or convictions from 34 people and three companies, including former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen, and close ally Roger Stone.