SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – The report is delivered. After a 22-month long investigation, Congress and the public received the first glimpse at Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s redacted report into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
The report found no evidence of a criminal conspiracy between President Donald Trump or members of his campaign and Russia, but it did find that Russia did try to interfere.
“Russia definitely tried to interfere in our elections and they want to again in the future,” said Morgan Lyon Cotti, Associate Director of the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah. “This will always be referenced when we talk about that issue in the future so this will likely not die down for a very long time.”
On the issue of obstruction of justice, the report highlighted 11 instances of potential obstruction. It found that the investigation was allowed to run its course despite President Trump’s repeated efforts to interfere.
The report found the president’s efforts were “mostly unsuccessful but that is largely because the persons who surround the president declined to carry out his orders.”
Mueller’s team reached no conclusion on obstruction of justice and noted, “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.”
“The president is taking it as a victory that there is not an obstruction charge but a lot of Democrats are looking at it and saying, there also is not an exoneration of that obstruction charge. We will see both sides trying to hammer that into voters,” Cotti explained.
“What happens next now that the redacted report is released?” ABC4’s Brittany Johnson asked Cotti.
“How we move forward with any investigations is really up to Congress and other states’ Attorneys General at this point. As we know from the past, no matter what happens it will be very political along with having all of these legal ramifications,” she replied.
Democrats say this is far from a case closed. They are now calling on Mueller to testify on Capitol Hill.
“Whether or not Democrats try to go the impeachment route is completely up to them. We’re so close to the 2020 election and Democrats are very divided on how they think impeachment proceedings — if they should happen — should go,” Cotti explained.
Utah politicians are voicing their opinion on the issue. Cotti says they have to walk a “careful line of not being too supportive of the president and not attacking him too harshly” because Utahns are still divided on President Trump.
Reaction from Utah politicians
“I am encouraged that we may now turn the page on this distracting chapter of US history. The office of the Attorney General and the Special Counsel have concluded that there was no collusion and no obstruction. I am satisfied with these conclusions and ready to move forward. I urge all my congressional colleagues to return their attention to legislating and serving our constituents.” Rep. Rob Bishop (R)
“Mr. Mueller conducted a detailed and thorough investigation that mirrors what we found in the House Intelligence investigation-no collusion or conspiracy between the Trump Campaign and Russia. Now that the American people know the truth, I look forward to moving beyond the political theatrics and coming together to work on behalf of the American people.”- Rep. Chris Stewart (R)
“I am pleased that Special Counsel Mueller was able to complete his investigation and is helping bring to justice those who allowed Russian meddling in the 2016 election. He delivered a nearly 400-page report and once I receive a copy later today, I look forward to reviewing it. As I’ve said all along, the public deserves to see as much of the report as allowed by law. If the conclusion remains that there is no further criminal wrongdoing, I think we should, as a country, move on and ensure that Russia cannot interfere again.” -Rep. Ben McAdams (D)
“I am pleased that the Attorney General has released the Special Counsel’s report to the Members of Congress and the American people with as much transparency as possible, and in a fair and appropriate process,” said Curtis. “I look forward to carefully reviewing the report and working with my colleagues on the next steps to move the country forward and continue restoring public trust in our government.” – Rep. John Curtis (R)