“This report does not conclude that the President committed a crime,” the Mueller report reads, “[but] it also does not exonerate him.”
The President, it seems, likely won’t see any sort of legal trial, but with that statement, he’s been left wide open to a trial through public opinion. Media reporters, lawmakers, and the general public alike have been rushing out to weigh in on Trump’s conduct.
That includes our elected leaders here in Utah. Here’s how some of them have weighed in.
U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney
Romney isn’t mincing his words about the President.
“I am sickened at the extent and pervasiveness of dishonesty and misdirection by individuals in the highest office of the land, including the President,” Romney wrote in a public statement. “Reading the report is a sobering revelation of how far we have strayed from the aspirations and principles of the founders.”
The former presidential candidate has blasted Trump and his campaign for accepting help from Russia, including doing nothing to inform law enforcement that a foreign government appeared to be trying to provide them with illegally-obtained information on an opponent.
Trump has responded to Romney’s criticisms by tweeting a video juxtaposing Romney’s election loss to his victory:
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 20, 2019
Utah Sen. Todd Weiler
Despite initially writing off the Mueller Report as a “big nothing burger”, Weiler has since become more critical of the President’s behavior.
I just read most of the damning screenshots from the Mueller Report. So far, it’s a nothing burger. Everyone is just trying to use what Muller didn’t find/charge to justify their prior positions.
— Todd Weiler (@gopTODD) April 18, 2019
Speaking to KSL Newsradio’s Dave & Dujanovic earlier today, Weiler said that he agreed with Romney’s statement that the American people should be “sickened” by the report.
“If this report had come out with no lead-up to it,” Weiler says, “I think it would be one of the biggest stories in the history of U.S. politics.”
Weiler maintains, however, that the report didn’t live up to the hype and that the President does not deserve to be impeached.
“Trump acted unethically and unmorally at times,” Weiler says, “but probably did not cross the line into criminal conduct.”
U.S. Rep. Chris Stewart
As a member of the United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Stewart is one of just a handful of people who have access to an extended version of the Mueller Report, with nearly every redaction uncovered.
Speaking with Dave & Dujanovic, Stewart said that the committee would be “careful” in its response and avoid making any statements too soon; before long, however, he’d made his personal opinion pretty clear.
“The question was, was their conspiracy or collusion with the Trump campaign? … Mr. Mueller was very definitive in that,” Stewart says. Mueller’s “definitive” statement, he believes, is that Trump was not guilty of collusion.
The President was also all but cleared of obstruction charges, in Stewart’s view.
“The President expressed his view and expressed some frustration, but that is not obstruction,” Stewart told Dave & Dujanovic.
Politicians and pundits suggesting that Mueller’s statement that the report “does not exonerate” the President, Stewart argues, are being unfair to both the President and the legal right to an assumption of innocence.
Stewart told KSL: “A statement of no exoneration does not imply guilt.”
U.S. Sen. Mike Lee
Sen. Mike Lee appeared on the talk show “The View” to talk about the Mueller report, and while there, he implied that he takes issue with Mueller’s statement that the report offers “no exoneration.”
“I think it’s odd to say, ‘I’m not going to make a recommendation but I’m going to sound like I’m making a recommendation,” Lee told The View.
The Mueller Report, Lee believes, makes it clear that there was no evidence proving the President was guilty of collusion. Calls for the President’s impeachment, he argues, are unfounded.
“We’ve got people that for the last two years have been using the Russians’ attempt to undermine the legitimacy of our electoral process as an effort within this country to undermine this president and the process by which he was elected,” Lee says. “But it wasn’t there. It’s not there. Not a scintilla of evidence supports that so it’s time to move on.”
“There’s nothing in this report that changes my view of this president,” Lee said in an interview with CBS News’ Face the Nation. “There’s just nothing in there that should do that.”
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