BALTIMORE – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following response to the public release of a redacted version of the Special Counsel’s Report on the Investigation Into Russian Interference In the 2016 Presidential Election.
“I encourage all Americans to read the Mueller report and draw their own conclusions. The report lays out in stark detail Russia’s attacks on our country before and during our 2016 presidential election. It rightfully described this interference as taking place in a ‘sweeping and systematic fashion.’ The Special Counsel fulfilled his mandate to fully investigate both criminal acts surrounding the 2016 election as well as efforts to obstruct this critical investigation. President Trump consistently took steps to deny Russian involvement in tampering in our elections, resisted efforts to hold Russia accountable, besmirched the reputation of the Special Counsel while trying to dismiss him or willfully impede his investigation, and repeatedly attacked the integrity of our intelligence and law enforcement agencies. Despite the president’s egregious behavior, the Special Counsel’s work has resulted in dozens of indictments and numerous convictions and guilty pleas, and several cases are still ongoing.
“Congress must now fulfill its oversight obligation under the Constitution. In order to prevent future attacks on our country and stem abuses of power, we must review a more complete copy of the report as soon as possible and hear direct testimony from Special Counsel Mueller. The Mueller report laid out numerous disturbing episodes where behavior by President Trump may have constituted obstruction of justice. In fact, the report stated that ‘if we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, however, we are unable to reach that judgment. The evidence we obtained about the President’s actions and intent presents difficult issues that prevent us from conclusively determining that no criminal conduct occurred.’ Indeed, the report stated that ‘the President’s efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful, but that is largely because the persons who surrounded the President declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests.
“Congress should therefore closely examine the President’s behavior, keeping in mind the President’s obligations to faithfully execute the laws, and preserve, protect and defend the Constitution.”