Has Cline read the whole Mueller Report?

Last week I emailed Congressman Cline as follows:

Dear Congressman Cline:

Before the redacted Mueller Report was released, you expressed an eagerness to read it and judge the contents for yourself.

Have you in fact read the Report in its entirety? If so, does it raise any issues of concern for you about President’s Trump’s behavior, regardless of whether any actual crimes were committed? If it does raise concerns, I think you owe it to your constituents to identify those concerns publicly.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Unlike my previous queries to Cline, this one produced an actual reply. And since it appears to be a form letter sent to everyone who contacts the congressman about the Mueller Report, I don’t think he’ll mind my sharing it:

Dear Mr. Zitver,

     Thank you for contacting my office regarding the conclusion of the Mueller Investigation. I appreciate hearing from you on this matter.  

     The Mueller Report, which was the result of a two-year, $35 million investigation, was publicly released on Thursday, April 18. I supported and voted on March 14 for H. Con. Res. 24, which provided that Congress shall publicly release any report relating to the Special Counsel’s investigation, in compliance with all federal laws. The report was provided to the Congress and the public in a redacted form to protect grand jury material, information that would harm ongoing investigations, information that would disclose sensitive sources, and information that involves third parties.

     As a member of the Judiciary Committee, I believe the Justice Department should provide the entire Committee with a version of the report free from most redactions. Of course, the redaction of grand jury testimony is necessary to comply with federal law. The Chairman can obtain access to the grand jury testimony with a court order, but he has not yet made such a request of the court. For that reason, I did not support the issuance of a subpoena on April 19 for the full unredacted report. Additionally, I opposed the effort to hold Attorney General Barr in contempt for his failure to comply with the subpoena, since providing the full unredacted report would have put him in violation of federal law. Nevertheless, I continue to hope that a compromise can be reached so that most of the redacted portions of the Mueller Report can be made available to all of the Judiciary Committee members.

     As you know, the Special Counsel did not find evidence that either Presidential campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in their effort to interfere with the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election. The Special Counsel also did not recommend that any additional charges be filed as a result of the investigation.

     The nearly 400-page report detailed the work of 19 attorneys, 40 FBI agents, and countless others who issued more than 2,800 subpoenas, executed nearly 500 search warrants, obtained 230 orders for communications records, and interviewed almost 500 witnesses.  

     It is an honor to represent you and all of Virginia’s Sixth Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of further assistance in the future. To receive the latest updates from my office I encourage you to sign up for my e-newsletter at cline.house.gov or like my Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


Ben Cline
Member of Congress

In other words, he didn’t answer my questions.

Cline seems downright eager to shift the focus from the contents of the Mueller Report itself to what he considers its suspicious origins– a diversion that even conservative commentator Mona Charen isn’t buying.

Now we have heard from Cline’s colleague Justin Amash, the first House Republican to say President Trump engaged in impeachable conduct.

The Michigan lawmaker, often the lone Trump dissenter on his side of the aisle, shared his conclusions in a lengthy Twitter thread after reviewing the full special counsel report.

Amash wrote that after reading the 448-page report, he’d concluded that not only did Robert S. Mueller’s team show Trump attempting to obstruct justice, but that Attorney General William Barr had “deliberately misrepresented” the findings and that few members of Congress had even read it.

So I repeat my questions to Congressman Cline and hope others will do the same: Have you in fact read the Mueller Report in its entirety? If so, does it raise any issues of concern for you about President’s Trump’s behavior, regardless of whether any actual crimes were committed?

Update: In an interview with Wolf Blitzer on CNN, Cline said he has read the entire redacted Mueller Report. That answers the first question. It would be good to get an answer to the second question.

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