(Editor’s note: The following story appears courtesy of Gaylord News, a reporting project of the University of Oklahoma’s Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication.)
WASHINGTON — Special Counsel Robert Mueller concluded his investigation into President Donald Trump late last week, and everyone, including Oklahoma’s congressional delegation, had something to say about it.
Attorney General William Barr released a four-page letter saying Mueller’s report found no collusion between the president and Russia in the 2016 election but did not determine whether or not there was obstruction of justice.
Oklahoma’s Republican representatives agreed Barr’s letter proves there was no collusion or obstruction of justice and condemned Democrats whose “suspicions were finally proven false.”
“The summary… clearly validates what millions of Americans already knew and what the frenzied media and Democrats refused to acknowledge: that Democrats have lost touch with main street America and will push outlandish theories in order to discredit a president,” Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK3) said in a statement. “I hope the report will at last bring a close to the wild goose chase perpetuated by Democrats so that we may finally focus on the issues that affect the lives of the American people.”
Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) said his work on the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee has shown that, although no one on the Trump campaign colluded with Russia, it is clear Russia has continued trying to interfere in American elections.
“They were unsuccessful in 2016,” Lankford said, “but Congress should remain vigilant to address the weaknesses in our voting systems to stop any foreign advisories from meddling in our election system in the future.”
Rep. Kevin Hern (R-OK1) said the investigation was a pointless waste of resources and called for Democrats to apologize for “hateful and baseless” accusations against President Trump.
Both Lankford and Hern said they think the public should be able to read the report.
“The American people deserve to see the full results of this massive waste of time and money,” Hern said.
Rep. Kendra Horn (D-OK5), the state’s only Democrat representative, said Barr’s letter leaves “unanswered questions” and called for a public release of the 300-page report.
“After two years of extensive and expensive investigations, we deserve more than four pages,” Horn said.
Republicans condemn Green New Deal
Reps. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK2) and Hern joined a new House Energy Action Team this week to combat a sweeping environmental resolution known as the Green New Deal, calling the Democrat-led initiative “extreme and economically devastating.”
The new coalition will embrace all forms of energy, Mullin said at a Wednesday press conference.
“We’re not against solar; we’re for solar. We’re not against wind; we’re for wind. We’re not against hydro, we’re not against fossil fuels and we’re not against nuclear — we want to mesh it all together,” Mullin said.
Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) chimed in on the debate surrounding the Green New Deal this week with an opinion piece in The Oklahoman. The Senate held a procedural vote on the resolution, which failed 53-0 with Democrats voting “present.”
Inhofe called the Green New Deal “a wish-list of socialist solutions to the left’s favorite bogeyman — man-made climate change.”
“The Green New Deal is a bad deal for America,” Inhofe wrote, “and Oklahoma in particular.”
Lankford urges shorter Senate confirmation process
A bill introduced in February by Lankford to make the Senate confirmation process shorter for non-controversial presidential nominees will be voted on next week.
In a video released on Twitter Friday morning, Lankford said Democrats in the Senate have caused delays on votes for various Senate-confirmable nominees. The bill he introduced with Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) would shorten post-cloture debate time for 30 hours to two hours on all presidential nominees except for the highest level nominees, including Supreme Court justices and Cabinet-level officials, according to a statement.
“In the last two years, the confirmation process has been mired in unprecedented political stall tactics,” Lankford said in a statement when the bill was first introduced. “The Senate nomination process needs to function efficiently again. Presidents, regardless of their party, should be able to pick their staff.
The bill passed out of the Rules Committee by a 10-9 vote. On Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said in a floor speech he will file a procedural motion to advance the bill and bring it to a vote next week.
“So I urge every one of my colleagues — let’s get the Senate back to the normal, historical pattern for handling presidents’ nominations,” McConnell said. “Let’s give President Trump as well as all future presidents a functional process for building their administrations.”