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Sunday February 23rd, 2020 6:53PM

The Latest: Senate Dems say O'Connell fears Mueller findings

By The Associated Press
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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on Congress and the special counsel's Russia report (all times local):

3:15 p.m.

Senate Democrats say Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is "afraid" of the findings from special counsel Robert Mueller and failing to protect U.S. elections.

Democrats told reporters on Tuesday that McConnell is sending proposals to crack down on interference to a "graveyard" that ignores Mueller's report and its findings that Russians meddled in the 2016 presidential election.

Democratic leader Charles Schumer said "McConnell is so afraid of this report that he doesn't even want to do what needs to be done to stop Russian interference."

McConnell on Tuesday declared the Russia investigation "case closed" and said Democrats are "grieving" Mueller's inability to establish a criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia. He also said the Trump administration has taken several steps to retaliate against Russia for the election interference.

___

1 p.m.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren says the House should begin impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump.

The Democratic presidential candidate went to the Senate floor on Tuesday to reiterate her call for impeachment hours after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declared "case closed" on the Russia probe and potential obstruction by Trump.

Holding a copy of Mueller's report, Warren responded to McConnell that "wishing won't make it so."

Warren said that because of a Justice Department opinion that a sitting president can't be indicted, the only way to the hold the president accountable is to initiate impeachment.

She said enough evidence is in the report to try and remove the president. She said, "It's there in black and white in the report."

___

11:50 a.m.

The White House is instructing former counsel Don McGahn not to comply with a subpoena for documents from the House Judiciary Committee, arguing the materials are subject to executive privilege.

White House counsel Pat Cipollone sent a letter to committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler on Tuesday saying McGahn has been directed not to disclose the documents. The committee requested information about McGahn's interactions with President Donald Trump that were provided to special counsel Robert Mueller (MUHL'-ur).

Cipollone says McGahn does not have any "legal right" to the documents because they're under White House control. He says the committee should direct its request to the White House.

McGahn's lawyer, William Burck, says he will "maintain the status quo" and wait for the White House and the committee to reach an agreement.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says it's "case closed" on the Russia probe. Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says, "The case is not closed."

___

11 a.m.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is pushing back on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's suggestion that the case is closed on the Russian investigation and President Donald Trump's potential obstruction of justice.

Pelosi said Tuesday, "That's just not a fact. The case is not closed."

In a talk at Cornell's Institute of Politics and Global Affairs, Pelosi said Congress "would be delinquent" if it failed to pursue its constitutional duty of oversight.

Pelosi says, "It's about protecting our democracy."

McConnell said Tuesday it's "case closed" with the end of special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russia meddling in the 2016 election and contacts with the Trump campaign.

McConnell has called himself the Grim Reaper for stopping House Democrats' legislation in the Senate.

Pelosi said, "Grim Reaper, we have bad news for you. We have good news for the American people."

__

9:30 a.m.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is declaring "case closed" on the Russia probe and potential obstruction by President Donald Trump.

That's according to an excerpt of a speech the Republican leader is expected to deliver Tuesday as the Senate opens. His remarks are being billed as his final thoughts on the subject.

McConnell is set to outline how special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation went on for two years and the "exhaustive" probe is now complete. McConnell is expected to say, "It's finally over."

Taking their cues from Trump, Republicans in Congress are eager to push past the investigation.

McConnell is expected to question if others are ready to move on from the "breathless conspiracy theorizing?" He will suggest he doubts so.

Democrats say they want to see an unredacted version of the special counsel's report.

___

12:15 a.m.

The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee says he has no choice but to begin proceedings to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress.

New York Democrat Jerrold Nadler cites Barr's failure to comply with a subpoena to provide the full text of the special counsel's report on the Russia probe by Monday's deadline. Nadler has scheduled a committee vote for Wednesday.

The effort to hold Barr in contempt reflects the deepening rift between Democrats and President Donald Trump's attorney general, who is accused by Democrats of spinning the results of Mueller's investigation to Trump's benefit.

The committee says contempt proceedings could be postponed if Barr makes a "good faith" effort to resolve the dispute. A meeting between the Justice Department and committee staff is expected Tuesday.

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