Have Alaska’s federal lawmakers read the Mueller report?

Copies of the “Mueller Report” printed by the US Government Publishing Office are seen at the US Capitol in Washington, DC on April 24, 2019. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)
The Mueller Report has been available for seven weeks now. You can buy it in paperback. You can read it online for free. You can even get an “I read the Mueller Report” button for bragging rights. But no one in Alaska’s congressional delegation can rightfully wear that button. Not yet, anyway.

If you want to know about Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether there’s evidence President Trump obstructed a federal investigation, former Special Counsel Robert Mueller says just read the report.

“It contains our findings and analysis and the reasons for the decisions we made,” he said May 29. “We chose those words carefully.”

But Mueller chose a lot of words, enough to fill 448 pages.

“There are sections of it that are just slow and you’re wading through it,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski. She said Tuesday she’s not done but she’s reading the report cover-to-cover.

“I feel like I’ve got an obligation to do so and so I’m giving it the time,” she said. “You know, you take out the yellow highlighter. You take the pen out. You write notes.”

Sen. Dan Sullivan isn’t committed to that approach.

“-I’ve not read the whole thing. It’s almost 500 pages. I’ve read the summary. And my staff’s been reading the whole thing,” Sullivan said Wednesday. He said he’s not sure he’ll read to it page-by-page.

“Perhaps,” he said. “I have a lot of reading to do.”

Targeting the U.S.

Sullivan, though, said he has “no doubt” of one of Mueller’s chief findings: That Russia systematically interfered in the 2016 presidential election.

The Mueller report spells out Russian actions designed to help candidate Trump and undermine the campaign of Hillary Clinton. Sullivan said U.S. defense and intelligence agencies made sure that didn’t happen again in the 2018 election.

“You know, a lot of it’s classified, but particularly in the cyber area, we were not kind of a passive target as we have been in the past,” Sullivan said.

Both senators say the entire Trump administration is dedicated to preventing foreign interference in the 2020 presidential election. Everyone, including the president, realizes Russia hasn’t changed its ways, Murkowski said.

“It may have been that they didn’t want Clinton before. It could be that in the next election they don’t want Trump,” she said.

A spokesman for Rep. Don Young says the congressman “is reviewing the complete redacted Mueller Report.” He didn’t say whether that includes a page-by-page read.

Related stories from around the North:

Finland: Alaska senators blast Trump for going soft on Putin during Helsinki summit, Alaska Public Media

Russia: Russian military to get fast, secure internet through trans-Arctic cable, The Independent Barents Observer

United States: Alaska’s senator Murkowski ‘not inclined’ to back Trump on Mexico tariff, Alaska Public Media

Liz Ruskin, Alaska Public Media

For more news from Alaska visit Alaska Public Media.

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