Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell delivered what he called his "final thoughts" on special counsel Robert Mueller's report into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, officially declaring the "case closed" on the nearly two-year-long investigation. In a floor speech before the Senate, McConnell spent much of his time slamming his Democratic colleagues as going through the "five stages of grief" over the conclusion of Mueller's probe.
"There's an outrage industrial complex that spans from Capitol press conferences to cable news, they're grieving, that the national crisis they have spent two years wishing for did not materialize, but for the rest of the country, it's good news," said McConnell.
He said the Russia investigation ultimately "morphed into a last hope" for those who have never "come to terms" with Donald Trump as president. McConnell portrayed Democrats as having suffered a "meltdown" over the report's findings, saying they have an "inability to accept the conclusion" that members of the Trump campaign did not coordinate with the Russian government's efforts to disrupt the 2016 election.
Meanwhile, McConnell lauded the Trump administration's efforts to tackle the problem of election interference.
"We have a new coherent national security strategy to actually take the threat seriously," he said.
Following the release of Mueller's report, McConnell commended the work of Attorney General William Barr as "diligent" saying the country is "fortunate to have an experienced leader like Bill Barr in place to ensure maximum possible transparency while carefully protecting classified material and legally restricted grand jury information."
McConnell on Tuesday suggested that Democrats were more "angry" with Barr than they were with Putin.
"[They are] slandering a distinguished public servant because the real world has disappointed them. Instead of taking a deep breath and coming back to reality, our colleagues across the aisle want to shoot the messenger and keep the perpetual outrage machine right on going," he said. McConnell accused Democrats of "undermining the institution of the attorney general itself in the process."
In response, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer blasted McConnell's speech, claiming his Republican colleague is "afraid to debate what happened" in 2016.
"If Leader McConnell is ready to move onto serious things, then how about bringing forward legislation to protect our elections," Schumer suggested. He called the Republican-controlled senate a "legislative graveyard" that was "rolling out the welcome mat" for foreign adversaries to interfere in the U.S.election process and essentially "encouraging a sequel to 2016 because the Leader is sitting on his hands."
Barr has since defended his summary of the report's findings after receiving a letter from Mueller complaining that Barr didn't "fully capture" the substance of his report. Democrats displeased with Barr's testimony and lack of transparency on the report, have scheduled a Wednesday meeting to hold Barr in contempt of Congress for failing to turn over the full, un-redacted report from the special counsel, although the committee's staff is also meeting with the Justice Department Tuesday to try to reach an accommodation.