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GOP lawmakers stick to Barr’s talking points, despite Mueller report contradictions

The echo chamber of "No collusion, no obstruction" continues despite damning allegations.

Rep. Mark Meadows(R-NC) speaks as Michael Cohen, US President Donald Trump's former personal attorney, testifies before the House Oversight and Reform Committee in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on February 27, 2019. CREDIT: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Rep. Mark Meadows(R-NC) speaks as Michael Cohen, US President Donald Trump's former personal attorney, testifies before the House Oversight and Reform Committee in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on February 27, 2019. CREDIT: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Republican lawmakers were reticent to let go of the talking points Attorney General William Barr fed them in previous weeks, even after the release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the nearly two-year long Russia investigation.

The report, lightly redacted and released on Thursday, directly contradicts Barr’s earlier representations. Hours before the report was made public, Barr insisted that it proved President Donald Trump and his associates had committed “no obstruction” and “no collusion.”

However, Mueller specifically stated in his report that his team had not sought to establish “collusion,” citing a lack of legal framework to support the term. Rather, they had been unable to establish criminal coordination between anyone on the Trump campaign and Russian officials. He also specifically chose to leave it to Congress to determine whether Trump obstructed justice during the course of the investigation, laying out several instances that outlined possible interference on the president’s part.

Regardless of those findings, Republicans pushed their preset talking points on Thursday, lauding Barr for his “transparency,” despite significant redactions throughout the report and his clear efforts to spin its findings in Trump’s favor.

In harsh juxtaposition of that praise, several Democratic lawmakers have since called for Barr’s resignation, saying he lied during an earlier press conference on Thursday to discuss the report’s findings.

As if their statements had all been fed to them in advance, Republican lawmakers also repeatedly claimed that it’s “time to move on.”

Democratic lawmakers cited a number of significant concerns stemming from Mueller’s report that they wish to investigate further.

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The report, for example, lays out 10 different “episodes” in which it appears Trump interfered with the Russia probe. Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), chair of the House Judiciary Committee, said the report detailed “disturbing evidence that … Trump engaged in obstruction of justice and other misconduct.”

Nadler said the report was likely written “with the intent of providing Congress a road map” for drawing its own conclusions about the criminality of Trump’s actions.

Nadler has already subpoenaed an unredacted version of the report and called on Mueller to testify. “We clearly can’t believe what Attorney General Barr tells us,” Nadler said.

Barr is scheduled to testify before Congress on May 2.