UNITED STATES - JUNE 19: FBI Director Robert Mueller testifies before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in Dirksen Building on oversight of the FBI. ...
Tom Williams

Striking number of lawmakers admit they haven’t read the Mueller report

When Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) called for Donald Trump’s impeachment, she suggested it was the obvious call after having read Robert Mueller’s report. When Rep. Justin Amash (I-Mich.) also endorsed the president’s impeachment, he explained that reading the special counsel’s findings is what led him to the fairly obvious conclusion.

The question, however, is how many of their colleagues have bothered to do the work.

Amash sat down with CNN’s Jake Tapper over the weekend, and the two spent a minute on this specific point. “Most people don’t have time to read a 448-page report,” the congressman said. “They expect their members of Congress to do the work for them.”

When the host asked how many congressional Republican have actually read the Mueller report, Amash replied, “I think it’s probably less than 15 percent.”

That’s very easy to believe, though I can’t help but wonder: how much less?

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) recently conceded he hadn’t read it, despite his unique responsibilities. Soon after, Rep. Rob Woodall (R-Ga.) sat down with MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt and admitted he hadn’t read it, either, and he struggled to explain why not.

Politico published a new report this morning suggesting they have quite a bit of company.

Time for a Mueller report reality check: Only a small segment of America’s most powerful have read it.

President Donald Trump can’t give a straight answer about the subject. More than a dozen members of Congress readily admitted to POLITICO that they too have skipped around rather than studying every one of the special counsel report’s 448 pages.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), for example, described the report as “tedious.” Asked if he’d read it, Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) replied, “What’s the point?”

Perhaps it’s a good thing Mueller will be on Capitol Hill next week, testifying about his findings. For many members of Congress, it’ll be their first introduction to what his report actually says.

I have an exceedingly hard time understanding these members’ incuriosity. The sitting president of the United States was the subject of a criminal investigation, as part of an international scandal of historic significance. A respected former FBI director prepared a report – which is written in an accessible way, without excessive legal jargon – which has now been available to everyone for nearly three months.

Not to put too fine a point on this, but members of Congress have a job to do, and in 2019, that job includes coming to terms with Donald Trump’s alleged misdeeds. The only way to responsibly address the president’s culpability is to read the findings of the Mueller probe.

And yet, an unsettling number of federal lawmakers haven’t bothered. To be sure, they’ve drawn sweeping conclusions about the special counsel’s findings, but they’re not altogether sure what those findings are, at least not in detail, because they haven’t felt like doing their homework.

I’m trying to think of a decent excuse for brazen laziness on this scale. Nothing is coming to mind.

Postscript: In the interest of disclosure, I should probably mention that the aforementioned Politico article quotes me.

Congress and Scandals

Striking number of lawmakers admit they haven't read the Mueller report