The long-awaited report from special counsel Robert Mueller was released Thursday, and the more than 400-page document details President Donald Trump’s attempts to influence the Russia investigation but concludes that no evidence of collusion with Russia was found.
Some North Georgians said Thursday that the report wasn’t the final word, though — either because they were waiting on more information or because they believed that most people had already established their opinions about the Trump presidency.
Marisa Pyle of Dahlonega, at a protest outside U.S. Rep. Doug Collins’ office in downtown Gainesville, said she wanted to see a fuller report with fewer redactions.
“The American people paid for this report, and the American people deserve to see that released,” Pyle said. “They deserve to see the product of that investigation. … We are the people that this report concerns. This investigation was opened because of what happened to us during the 2016 election, what happened to us during the exercise of our democratic rights.”
People from the progressive group Indivisible Lumpkin, of which Pyle is a group leader, lined the sidewalk in front of Collins’ office on Washington Street Thursday afternoon to demand that more details of the investigation be made public.
The report redacts grand jury details, sections that could compromise personal privacy, information about investigative techniques and details that would be “harm to ongoing matter.”
In a statement Thursday, Collins said the report offered transparency and showed that “Democrats’ accusations of criminal obstruction are unfounded.”
“I am encouraged by the Democrats and Republicans who have expressed their faith in Special Counsel Mueller’s integrity and ability,” Collins said. “The attorney general has delivered more transparency than the regulations require, partnering with the special counsel’s team to make necessary redactions to a report that he is sharing with Congress in good faith, not by mandate.”
Collins, who has publicly defended Trump, said Thursday morning he planned to read the report to learn more details.
“I look forward to examining the mountain of facts supporting the principal conclusions the attorney general and deputy attorney general shared last month: no collusion, no obstruction,” he said.
Republicans in Congress said Thursday that the investigation had become locked in partisanship.
“Democrats want to keep searching for imaginary evidence that supports their claims, but it is simply not there,” said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. “It is time to move on.”
Theresa Webb, chair of the Hall County Republican Party, said she agreed that Attorney General William Barr had been transparent about the findings.
Webb said that the report was unlikely to sway Democrats, though.
“I think for the people that like Trump, this will boost it a lot,” Webb said. “For the people that don’t like Trump, it will not make a difference. … My personal opinion is that if you don’t like somebody, it doesn’t matter what they do, you will find fault with it.”
Cecilia Clarke of Hiawassee, who joined Indivisible Lumpkin at Thursday’s protest, said Trump has his loyal supporters who will always stand with him and his firm opponents who will never support him. The report could make people toward the center of the political spectrum question Trump, she said.
“I think they’re going to say, ‘what is he hiding?’” she said. “Of course his response is, ‘I’m not hiding anything.’”
Clarke also said she does not think the Trump administration has handled the report well.
“I think he should have said, ‘here you go, here it is’ and rolled with the punches,” she said. “It makes him look guilty. … If they think there’s something to hide, why not let it out?”
Pyle said she was concerned by the information that Trump had attempted to stifle the investigation but had been stopped by those around him refusing to comply with his requests.
“It is an indictment not necessarily of the criminal kind but more of the moral kind,” Pyle said.
In June 2017, Trump asked White House Counsel Don McGahn to call Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and say that Mueller need to be ousted due to conflicts of interest. McGahn refused.
Two days after that, Trump met with his former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and dictated a message for him to pass on to then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, directing Sessions to publicly call the investigation “very unfair” to Trump, say the president did nothing wrong and say that Mueller should limit his probe to “investigating election meddling for future elections.” The message was never delivered.
“It does not inspire confidence in an American president who is supposed to be a political and a moral leader,” Pyle said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.