It's Time To Move On, Rep. Mike Johnson Says After Mueller Probe Ends
RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
And as Carrie Johnson mentioned, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Jerry Nadler, says his committee is going to try to call the Attorney General, William Barr, to testify in the near future. And he is also pushing the attorney general to release the full Mueller report to the public. Congressman Mike Johnson is a Republican from Louisiana, also a member of the House Judiciary Committee, and he joins us now. Congressman, thanks for being here this morning.
MIKE JOHNSON: Hi, Rachel. Great to be with you.
MARTIN: This is clearly very good news for President Trump. How do you view the significance of this moment?
JOHNSON: I think it's great news for President Trump. But larger than that, I think it's a great outcome, a great victory, for all the American people. I mean, the Mueller investigation was very thorough, extremely thorough, as everyone now knows. And it concluded not a single American conspired or coordinated with Russia. And that was despite Russia's multiple offers to do so. So this is a good day for the country. We really believe, on the Republican side - and we're hopeful that our colleagues on the other side will agree - it's time to move on. We have huge challenges that face this country. We need to work on it. And that includes in our House Judiciary Committee with Chairman Nadler and the rest of the team.
MARTIN: Although the writ of the congressional committees is different than the mission of the special counsel. And they serve different purposes. And to that effect, I mean, the obstruction charges seem to be open-ended, at least from a congressional perspective. I mean, based on the Mueller Report, the attorney general determined there was not enough evidence to bring charges against the president. But Robert Mueller, in his report, had left that question open - went so far as to say, quote, "it does not exonerate him," him being the president. Do you support further congressional inquiry into the collusion question?
JOHNSON: I don't because I think that the Rosenstein - well, Rosenstein has been a hero of the Democrat Party. Of course, he's been hailed as such.
MARTIN: Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general...
JOHNSON: ...Deputy attorney general - he made the decision with Attorney General Barr - of course, it was bipartisan in that regard. Rosenstein served eight years under President Obama. He has always been lauded as one who has sound judgment by the other side. And look. Look at the scope of what the Mueller investigation included. I know everyone is hearing the numbers this morning, but it's staggering. Twenty-five million dollars were spent. They utilized 40 FBI personnel, 2,800 subpoenas, 500 search warrants, 230 orders of communication records, 500 witness interviews.
It all led to this simple and profound conclusion that there was no collusion. So how can one committee or two or three committees of the House, with its limited resources, be able to find anything different? I think it's a waste of the American people's time. I think most Americans want us to move on. And, as the New York Times proclaimed this morning, this is a cloud over the Trump presidency that's been lifted. I think we can see that now. Let's move on to the substantive issues.
MARTIN: Although the president himself doesn't seem quite ready to move on. He's now suggesting that this was an illegal attempt to unseat him and wants separate inquiries into the investigation itself.
JOHNSON: We'll have to see where all that goes. But I think that those of us who serve in the House of Representatives understand it's the people's House. We're supposed to be about the people's business. And I think trying to redo what the Mueller investigation has spent 22 months reaching this conclusion - I think would be a waste of our time. I think that there'll be a majority of members in the House who believe that and agree. I know all the Republicans do, and I think there'll be reasonable Democrats who feel the same. We have major issues facing us in just within our committees. I mean, you know, we need to get back to our broken immigration system. We need to address prescription drug pricing. We need to invest in economic growth that benefits all Americans. We...
MARTIN: If I may...
JOHNSON: ...Can't do that if we're mired in this.
MARTIN: Let me bring up another issue, the fact that Russia interfered in the 2016 election. This seems to be now hard and fast fact. This is what Robert Mueller determined in his report and that the Russians did so to benefit Donald Trump. You can't measure what effect that interference had on the election, if at all. But it doesn't change the fact that the Russians tried to undermine America's democracy. President Trump has been at best equivocal about these facts. Do you think he's taken this threat seriously enough?
JOHNSON: Look. I think we can be very clear that Russia's a bad actor. They have ill intent for our political system. And they're always going to try to intervene. That's what rogue nations do. But the important point here, and we need to double underline the conclusion, Trump had nothing to do with that. They did not take the bait. They did not respond to those offers. And that's what's important. We can't control what Russia does. We can control what we do.
MARTIN: Do you think the report - the entire Mueller report should be made public?
JOHNSON: Well, look. The House voted, as you know, 420 to 0 to make the Mueller report public, and Attorney General Barr said he'll provide as much transparency as he can consistent with the law. But that law is really important. There are current DOJ regulations that prohibit him from revealing classified information for obvious reasons, secret grand jury information, other sensitive information.
JOHNSON: He said in his letter he's on it.
MARTIN: We'll have to leave it there. Republican Congressman Mike Johnson, thank you so much.
JOHNSON: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.