Republicans rejoice as 'cloud' over Trump is lifted

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham holds a news conference to discuss the summary of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, on March 25, 2019.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham holds a news conference to discuss the summary of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, on March 25, 2019.PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON • US President Donald Trump led a victory parade of Republican lawmakers and White House insiders after a summary of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation showed no evidence of collusion with Russia.

Mr Dan Scavino, the White House director of social media, was one of the first off the blocks, posting on his personal Twitter account minutes after the report was out.

"As we already knew, NO COLLUSION! Nothing different from what President @realDonaldTrump has been saying for the past TWO YEARS!!!" wrote Mr Scavino.

Mr Brad Parscale, the manager of Mr Trump's re-election campaign, expressed similar sentiments.

Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, fresh off a round of golf with Mr Trump in Florida, tweeted three times in quick succession, saying "the cloud" hanging over the President "has been removed".

He also lauded a "great job" by Mr Mueller for the 22-month investigation into whether Mr Trump and his campaign colluded with Russia in 2016.

"Now, it is time to move on, govern the country, and get ready to combat Russia and other foreign actors ahead of 2020," he wrote.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, said in a statement that Mr Mueller's conclusions "confirm the President's account that there was no effort by his campaign to conspire or coordinate with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election".

Mr McConnell added, however, that "Russia's ongoing efforts to interfere with our democracy are dangerous and disturbing, and I welcome the Special Counsel's contributions to our efforts to understand better Russia's activities in this regard".

Representative Doug Collins, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, said in a statement that "the Special Counsel's investigation was long, thorough and conclusive: There was no collusion. There is no constitutional crisis".

Mr Trump's eldest son, Mr Donald Trump Jr, told Bloomberg News in an e-mail that "the Mueller report proves what those of us with sane minds have known all along, there was zero collusion with Russia".

The Republicans were also dismissive of investigations by the Democrat-led House into Mr Trump, labelling them a fall-back strategy long planned in case the Russian collusion narrative collapsed, as it did, under Mr Mueller's conclusions.

They accused Democrats of undertaking a wide-ranging congressional fishing expedition simply to wound Mr Trump politically heading into the elections next year.

Representative Jim Jordan, an Ohio Republican and ally of Mr Trump, said: "I hope this will put an end to the partisan and political investigations in Congress aimed at undermining President Trump."

REUTERS, BLOOMBERG

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 26, 2019, with the headline 'Republicans rejoice as 'cloud' over Trump is lifted'. Print Edition | Subscribe