NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Members of Louisiana’s congressional delegation reacted Monday (March 25) to the summary of Special Counsel Bob Mueller’s report on the Russia investigation, and a former U.S. Justice Department lawyer working in New Orleans says the full report needs to be released.
Meanwhile, Louis Gurvich -- the head of the Republican Party of Louisiana -- said he believes the summary gives President Trump a clear path to his party’s nomination, as he seeks reelection.
However, Congressman Cedric Richmond of New Orleans, who is the Democrat in the state’s congressional delegation, said in a statement he does not think the summary is enough to concretely rule out wrongdoing by the president.
Republican Senator John Kennedy said Attorney General William Barr’s letter definitively clears Trump of collusion.
President Trump declared total exoneration for himself Sunday after his attorney general issued the four-page summary of Mueller’s conclusions.
But Democrats and many legal experts believe it is imperative that the report be made public and not just a summary, so that people have a full account of the investigation.
Tulane Law professor Keith Werhan used to work in the U.S. Justice Department and said it is unwise to think of Barr’s opinion as the only one that matters.
"The attorney general’s word can’t be the entire word, and this says nothing about Mr. Barr’s credibility and integrity and professionalism,” Werhan said.
Barr’s summary states Mueller’s probe did not find that the Trump campaign, or anyone associated with it, conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election.
"We also know that Mueller and his team found that there was not sufficient evidence of a conspiracy, an agreement between members of the Trump campaign and the Russian agents to engage in illegal operations, to charge any members of the Trump campaign with conspiracy,” Werhan said.
Still, on the issue of obstruction of justice, Barr said while Mueller’s report did not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate Trump.
Werhan said the public needs more insight into how Mueller and his team analyzed all the information they gathered and how they reached their conclusions.
"Until we know that I really think it's hasty on one hand, to say this is all over, let's move on, or on the other hand to say no, we need to roll up our sleeves and really dig in here,” said Werhan.
Gurvich said Barr’s summary vindicates Trump.
“There were hundreds of interviews and thousands of subpoenas, and in all that time they found no evidence of collusion with Russia, or Russian agents, and I think the president said two years ago there was no collusion and it’s been proven that he was absolutely correct,” Gurvich said.
Gurvich said he believes the report will discourage other major Republicans from challenging Trump’s re-election bid.
"In my mind, [it will] likely dissuade anyone considering a run from the Republican side, from running against the president. The air has been cleared,” Gurvich said.
FOX 8 political analyst Mike Sherman also said the summary is a win for Trump.
“This is huge,” Sherman said. "For the president, he can now claim the exoneration he was looking for on the argument of collusion with Russia. But for Democrats, this doesn’t answer the question of obstruction of justice,” Sherman said.
Amid calls for the full Mueller report to be released to the public, there is also the recognition by some in the legal community that federal prosecutors may not be able to share everything that they gathered throughout the investigation.
"There could be grounds to withhold this or that from the report, but I don’t think there’s grounds to withhold the bulk of the report,” Werhan said.
Republican La. Sen. Bill Cassidy said he also thinks the report should be released.