Republicans Privately Say Mueller Report Revealed 'Disappointing' Conduct, Think Barr Mischaracterized Findings

Prresident Donald Trump arrives for his address to the National Association of Realtors Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo on May 17. Alex Wong/Getty Images

Republicans privately say that the report from special counsel Robert Mueller showed "disappointing" conduct from President Donald Trump and think that Attorney General William Barr mischaracterized the probe's findings, a Democratic senator said.

Speaking Monday on CNN's New Day, Delaware Senator Chris Coons said that while Republicans have publicly criticized Democrats' response to the Mueller report, they have expressed concerns about the investigation's findings and their presentation by Barr.

Coons said that Republicans have spoken about their concerns but do not necessarily think the president should be impeached. People reading the Mueller report "cannot avoid the conclusion that the president and some of his absolutely core advisers engaged in profoundly disappointing, reprehensible conduct—conduct that would rise to the level of an obstruction of justice charge if he were anyone other than president," he told CNN anchor Alisyn Camerota.

"There is a difference between thinking the Mueller report reveals conduct that is deeply disappointing, inappropriate, even borderline or actually illegal and saying they would vote to remove the president," Coons said. "I have not spoken to a single Republican senator who would vote to remove the president. Many privately expressed concerns about what was in the Mueller report, in part because of the gap between what Attorney General [Bill] Barr characterized as being in the report and what was actually in the Mueller report, for those who have taken the time to read through it."

Prresident Donald Trump arrives for his address to the National Association of Realtors Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo on May 17. Alex Wong/Getty Images

The senator said that he was surprised to see Michigan Representative Justin Amash, a Republican, openly say that Trump's conduct met "the threshold for impeachment." Amash became the first congressional Republican to advocate Trump's removal from office, and his stance differs drastically from that of the Republican leadership.

Criticizing the congressman's remarks, Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel said that Amash was "parroting the Democrats' talking points on Russia."

She told Newsweek: "The only people still fixated on the Russia collusion hoax are political foes of President Trump hoping to defeat him in 2020 by any desperate means possible. Voters in Amash's district strongly support this president and would rather their congressman work to support the president's policies that have brought jobs, increased wages and made life better for Americans."

McDaniel's comments echoed the messaging from Republican leaders following the release of the Mueller report. "It's time to move on," House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said after a redacted version of the investigation's findings was published last month.

Democrats, however, have signaled that their concerns about Trump's conduct were not put to rest by the report. They widely rebuked Barr, who repeatedly said there was "no collusion" when releasing the findings of the investigation. Democrats have said he mischaracterized the findings in his summary and noted that Mueller sent Barr a letter saying the summary "did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance" of the probe.

Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee recently interrogated Barr about his characterization of the report's findings, and the House Judiciary Committee has subpoenaed an unredacted version of the report and its underlying evidence.