By Robin Bravender
WASHINGTON — The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday overwhelmingly passed a resolution stating that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s forthcoming report on Russian election meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election should be made public.
The resolution passed the House 420-0. Four Republican lawmakers voted “present” on the measure — a way to avoid a “yes” or “no” vote. Seven lawmakers didn’t cast votes. All 18 members of Pennsylvania’s U.S. House delegation voted in favor of the measure, according to the House roll call.
The four GOP lawmakers who voted “present” were Reps. Justin Amash of Michigan, Matt Gaetz of Florida, Paul Gosar of Arizona and Thomas Massie of Kentucky.
Gaetz said in a statement that his vote was intended as a rebuke to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
“I’ve said to millions of Americans on television that I support releasing the Mueller report. I didn’t need to embrace Nancy Pelosi’s foreword to it today,” the Florida Republican said. “I take specific exception to the elements of the resolution noting praise for Mueller, without also noting the criticism of his very biased staffing decisions. It’s like he was fishing for talent in the Hillary Clinton fan club aquarium.”
Amash declined to comment when asked about his vote. “I’ll write some stuff on it,” he said as he hurried between House office buildings.
In a tweet, U.S. Rep. Dwight Evans, a Democrat from Pennsylvania’s 3rd District, said he was “pleased with this vote. The American people have a right to know.”
Top Democrats called the adoption of the resolution an important step toward promoting transparency.
Pelosi’s office issued a statement Thursday morning saying, “The American people deserve to know the truth: full transparency is essential in ensuring that the American people have full confidence in the integrity of our democracy.”
On Twitter, U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle, D-2nd District, said President Donald Trump has every reason to make Mueller’s report public.
“Why wouldn’t he?” Boyle asked. “Transparency is essential to fully understanding how Russia interfered in our 2016 election and preventing it from happening again.”
In a statement, U.S. Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-4th District, offered a similar sentiment.
“Congress expects to receive the Special Counsel’s full report, and the American people deserve to know exactly what Mr. Mueller’s team has uncovered. That kind of transparency and accountability is the hallmark of good government,” Dean said.
Added U.S. Rep. Susan Wild, D-7th District: “This resolution passed the House with overwhelming bipartisan support because Republicans and Democrats agree that American people deserve to know what is in this report – and what Special Counsel Mueller has uncovered, if anything. The American people deserve transparency in their government.”
Most House Republicans sided with Democrats in endorsing the resolution.
Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs was among the 190 Republicans who voted in favor of the measure, expressing confidence that the results will clear Trump.
“Today’s resolution, though meant as an underhanded attempt at undermining President Trump, it aligns with the objectives of the Republicans in Congress,” Biggs said in a statement. “Let the American people see the report. Let them judge the information for themselves. The President has nothing to hide, and I am confident that my constituents will see that for themselves.