Rev. Al Sharpton said that if the Democratic Party wants to rebound after the “clear victory” special counsel Robert Mueller handed President Donald Trump, it has to leave the issue of Russia behind.
Sharpton’s comments came after reports out of Washington that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is trying to shift the focus of House Democrats away from Trump as other high-profile Democrats, who staked their reputations on charging Trump, call for more investigations of the president, according to CNN.
“The Democrats also now have to move on and really deal with hard issues,” Sharpton said on MSNBC Sunday night, hours after Attorney General William Barr shared a letter with Congress that said Mueller found no collusion between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russia.
“I think the politics is that we’re now going to have to start talking about tax reform and climate change and other things because the Mueller situation, I think, has ended up a clear victory for the president,” Sharpton said.
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Fellow host Joe Scarborough agreed.
“A lot of Democrats haven’t figured this out over the past couple of years,” Scarborough said. “They have been distracted by the Mueller investigation, but you have understood, and I think the smarter people in the Democratic Party have understood, that they were never going to win elections talking about Russia. They were never going to win elections talking about Robert Mueller.”
“They’re going to win elections talking about — and by the way, check the tape. This isn’t Monday morning quarterbacking again. We have said it on the air together and you’ve said it and I’ve said it. It’s health care that people are concerned about. It’s wages that people are concerned about,” Scarborough said.
Some Democrats agreed.
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“I think everyone needs to slow their roll on this whole thing,” Democratic Rep. Katie Hill of California said.
Others did not. House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat, has promised further investigations of Trump.
“We’re going to move forward with our investigations of justice, abuses of power, corruption, to defend the rule of law, which is our job,” he said.
On Monday, John Lawrence, a former chief of staff for Pelosi, discussed the Democrats’ plight in Op-Ed for The Hill.
“Democrats did not win the majority on a promise to relentlessly pursue Trump; they won because candidates for Republican seats persuaded voters, long before the Mueller report was issued, that they could be trusted to address tough issues like health care, immigration, campaign finance reform, and integrity in government,” he wrote.
“If Democrats hope to retain those seats — and a majority — in 2020, they will have to demonstrate that the voters’ confidence was not misplaced. They assuredly will not retain the hard-won majority if they are perceived as single-mindedly heading down the impeachment, or even the Mueller-Barr, rabbit hole.”
However, Republicans may also keep the issue alive, if only to focus on what they believe are the shaky foundations for investigating Trump — foundations that were laid during the waning days of the Obama administration.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, said he wants to get to the bottom of how the collusion narrative took shape, the Washington Examiner reported.
“When it comes to the (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) warrant, the Clinton campaign, the counterintelligence investigation, it’s pretty much been swept under the rug except by a few Republicans in the House. Those days are over. Going forward, hopefully in a bipartisan fashion, we’ll begin to unpack the other side of the story,” Graham said.
Although Democrats control the House, Republicans control the Senate and have the ability to launch competing investigations of subjects the House is also probing.
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