Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), who is one of several Democratic senators running for president, tried to get unanimous consent for the Senate to pass the resolution, which cleared the House in a 420-0 vote earlier this month.
“We still have not seen the report. I have urged the Department of Justice to release the report, and the administration should not delay in producing the report to Congress,” Klobuchar said.
But Paul objected because Klobuchar wouldn’t agree to amend the nonbinding resolution to include provisions calling for the public release of communications between several Obama-era officials including former President Obama, former FBI Director James Comey and former CIA Director John Brennan.
“We need to know was there malfeasance, was there misuse of power, did President Obama’s administration get involved in an election to infiltrate the Trump campaign to trap them? … We need to know that,” he said. “What we need to discover and we do not yet know: Was President Obama involved?”
Under Senate rules, any one senator can request that any bill or resolution be passed. But because it requires the sign-off of every senator, any one senator can also block their request.
Thursday’s floor drama marks the fourth time Democrats have tried to pass the House resolution, which argues there is “overwhelming public interest” in the government releasing the contents of the high-profile Mueller report. The resolution calls on the Justice Department to fully release the report to Congress and to release it to the public “except to the extent the public disclosure of any portion thereof is expressly prohibited by law.”
Mueller handed over his report to the Justice Department last week, marking the formal end to his two-year investigation. Attorney General William Barr sent a four-page letter to the House and Senate Judiciary committees on Sunday and told lawmakers he is currently working with Mueller to determine what should be released.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell(R-Ky.) blocked the resolution for his second time on Wednesday.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) also blocked it earlier this month because Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) refused to amend it to include a provision calling on the Justice Department to appoint a special counsel to investigate alleged department misconduct in the handling of the investigation into 2016 Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton‘s email use and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act applications related to Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
Paul had previously warned that he would block the resolution unless information about the opposition research dossier compiled against then-candidate Trump was also released.
“I don’t care whether it’s a Democrat president or a Republican president, we should not waste the time of the entire country sending spies into campaigns, making false accusations and tying the country in knots for two years,” Paul said from the Senate floor on Thursday.
“We will agree to see the Mueller report as long as the other side will agree to show us the communications that took place in deciding to promote this fake allegation against the president and whether there was misuse of their office,” he continued. “We based this investigation on a lie, we should investigate who the liars were.”
In addition to asking for information to be publicly released, Paul’s amendment would also call for Obama-era CIA Director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper to testify under oath, call for any communications from Obama about an investigation into the Trump campaign to be released and for the public release of any communication about the decision not to indict Clinton.