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Rep. Ben Cline On The Mueller Report

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Robert Mueller has concluded his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election campaign and delivered the results to Attorney General Barr. The contents of the report have not been released, but Mr. Barr says to the House and Senate Judiciary Committee he might be able to advise them, quote, "of the special counsel's principal conclusions as soon as this weekend."

We're joined now by Republican Congressman Ben Cline, a member of the House Judiciary Committee. He represents Virginia's 6th District. Mr. Cline, thanks for being with us.

BEN CLINE: Good to be with you.

SIMON: Have you been told to stand by?

CLINE: No, but I am ready to receive whatever the department wishes to share with the Judiciary Committee as soon as this weekend.

SIMON: Do you think the public should see it just about as soon as you do?

CLINE: Absolutely. The sooner the better. The public has every right to see it. And we voted unanimously last week to make it public. The president shares that view. And I think the sooner the public can see it, the better, and we can move on.

SIMON: All of it?

CLINE: Well, absolutely as much of it as possible. I know that there are some sensitivities regarding intelligence that the attorney general has said he might have to make amendments for, but as much of it as possible.

SIMON: Would you like Mr. Mueller to testify before your committee?

CLINE: Sure. I think that if Chairman Nadler feels that that would be appropriate, then I'd be happy to have him before the committee. That'd be fine.

SIMON: What's your assessment of Mr. Mueller's report, because, of course, a lot of Republicans were crying witch hunt well until 5:00 yesterday?

CLINE: Well, I definitely want to see the report. I definitely want to see what his conclusions are. And I was a prosecutor before I became a member of Congress, and I follow the facts. So I look forward to reviewing the facts and not chasing rumors or hypotheticals. But when the facts are laid out before us, we'll determine what steps to take at that point.

SIMON: These are some facts, I guess, maybe we need to remind ourselves of this weekend. The president's former campaign manager is in prison. The president's former personal attorney has pleaded guilty and is on his way to prison. That's obviously Mr. Cohen. The president's former national security adviser also took a plea - Michael Flynn. Does this raise an absolutely legitimate question, what kind of president surrounds him or herself with criminals?

CLINE: Well, I think that you hire the best people that you can and make the best decisions at the time. And I think that we're...

SIMON: I mean, these are three people in the orbit of the president who are demonstrably criminals at this point. Were they really the best people to pick?

CLINE: Well, I don't know that that has much to do with the Mueller investigation into collusion with Russia, but we'll see what...

SIMON: Well, this was - it was the Mueller investigation that ultimately led to some of those convictions.

CLINE: Right. Right. And, for example, Michael Cohen, who's been convicted of lying to Congress, is going to jail. And I think that the facts will dictate where we go from here and what, if anything, the Judiciary Committee needs to do about that. But for Cohen and for the others, that's something different.

SIMON: Republican Congressman Ben Cline of Virginia's 6th District. Thanks so much for being with us, Mr. Cline.

CLINE: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.