Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., blocked a vote on a resolution calling for special counsel Robert Mueller’s report to be made public and demanded a new special counsel be appointed to investigate the Hillary Clinton email server case.
The House voted 420-0 Thursday to approve the non-binding resolution calling on Attorney General Bill Barr to publicly release the Mueller report. Barr previously told Congress that the Mueller report would be confidential and that the Justice Department would likely release a summary of the findings instead.
The resolution cannot force Barr to release the report. It argues that there is “overwhelming public interest” in the content of the report and called on Barr to release the report to the public “except to the extent the public disclosure of any portion thereof is expressly prohibited by law.”
Despite the resolution's unanimous bipartisan support in the House, Graham took to the Senate floor to file an amendment to the Senate version of the resolution that Democrats said was a pretext for blocking the vote.
Graham said he would only support the resolution if a new special counsel was appointed to investigate the FBI’s handling of the Clinton email case and the agency’s surveillance of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
“Any American out there who did what Secretary Clinton did, you'd be in jail now,” Graham claimed, even though the FBI twice publicly cleared Clinton of any criminal wrongdoing.
“The question I want to know is, does anybody other than me believe that?” Graham asked.
The Trump critic-turned-diehard-loyalist insisted that “somebody” has to look at “the other side”
“We let Mueller look at all things Trump, related to collusion and otherwise. Somebody needs to look at what happened on the other side and find out if the FBI and the DOJ had two systems, one supporting the person they wanted to win and one out to get the person they wanted to lose,” Graham said. “If the shoe were on the other foot, all hell would pay.”
It’s unclear why Graham chose to oppose the resolution after nearly every Republican in the House voted to approve it. Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the second-ranking Republican in the House, told the Washington Post that Americans deserve to know what Mueller has been working on for over a year.
“After taking nearly two years, costing tens of millions of taxpayer dollars, and providing limited public information about its scope," he said, "I am especially concerned about what would happen if the report was not made available to Congress.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer castigated Graham for what he said “appears to be a pretext for blocking this very simple, noncontroversial resolution.”
“I have absolutely no idea why a member of this body would object to this basic level of transparency whatever their concern on other issues,” Schumer said.
Graham’s inexplicable move comes as the president seems to have changed his mind about his claims that the Mueller report would clear him of collusion with Russia. White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said last month that the administration believed the Mueller report “will be clear” that “there was no collusion.”
But on Friday, Trump reversed course and declared that “there should be no Mueller report” at all.
Schumer rejected Trump and Graham’s arguments on the Senate floor.
"There is no good reason, no good reason that the special counsel's report should not be made public. The American people are overwhelmingly for the report being made public,” he said. “They have a right to see it. No one should stand in the way of that.”