VIDEO - On CNN: “The President may be claiming complete exoneration, but the folks who have had to plead guilty or who have been convicted, I think, speak loudly otherwise.”

Yesterday, Sen. Chris Coons joined CNN to discuss the principal conclusions shared by Attorney General Barr from the Special Counsel’s investigation.

Coons: “I think the fact that the Special Counsel refused to reach a conclusion one way or the other about whether President Trump committed obstruction of justice means that, more than ever, we have a responsibility to get access to those materials, and to conduct a thorough review of it.

“I’ll remind you, the Mueller investigation led to 37 indictments and a series of guilty pleas and convictions, including the president’s campaign manager, national security advisor, and personal attorney. It’s hard for me to see how that is a complete exoneration. It strongly suggests that, at the most senior levels, folks in the Trump campaign had a whole series of inappropriate contacts with Russians, and then lied about it.”

On whether or not Democrats should curtail investigations: 

I don’t think that should lead us to the conclusion that other investigations into misconduct by the Trump Organization, the Trump campaign, the Trump Inauguration [Committee] are invalid, or should be curtailed.

Frankly, if anything, I think the fact that the Special Counsel refused to reach a conclusion one way or the other about whether President Trump committed obstruction of justice means that, more than ever, we have a responsibility to get access to those materials, and to conduct a thorough review of it.

I’ll remind you, Special Counsel Mueller and Congress have different charges. Mueller’s charge was very narrow. And frankly, I think it is a good thing, that, you know, Mueller did not conclude that our president conspired with a hostile power in the conduct of his campaign. But Mueller’s report, at the least the summary that we’ve gotten from Barr, leaves wide open both the question of obstruction, and I think, makes it clear that other investigations should proceed.

I’ll remind you, the Mueller investigation led to 37 indictments and a series of guilty pleas and convictions, including the president’s campaign manager, national security advisor, and personal attorney. It’s hard for me to see how that is a complete exoneration. It strongly suggests that, at the most senior levels, folks in the Trump campaign had a whole series of inappropriate contacts with Russians, and then lied about it.

If there was nothing for them to hide, why did they do so much lying and misrepresenting? And, why do that to the extent that you’ve now got a half-dozen senior people with convictions or guilty pleas. I do think, I have trusted all along that Special Counsel Mueller would conduct a fair investigation, and I look forward to getting access to the report and investigatory materials, so that we in Congress can do our job, and make sure we know what were the troubling facts that Mueller uncovered, and that led him to decline to reach a conclusion about obstruction.

On “no collusion”: 

I want to see the full report, because at the very least, the Trump campaign, at the highest levels, had unprecedented and inappropriate contacts with the Russians. But, I do think it is a good thing for the country if the Mueller investigation concluded that our president didn’t directly conspire with a hostile foreign power. 

On if he still has confidence in Robert Mueller: 

I see nothing that would undermine my confidence, even though this is a striking result. And, I think there was abundant evidence or suggestions of high-level, frequent, and inappropriate contacts with Russians in the conduct of the Trump campaign. But, you know, I think Robert Mueller is a career professional in law enforcement, and someone who I have no reason to doubt or question. 

On President Trump’s comments on the investigation’s conclusion: 

I could not more strongly disagree. I don’t think it was a shame that the country had to go through this. I think, if anything, it shows our commitment to the rule of law that no one, including the President, is above the law. Frankly, I think the President would have been well served not to have spent so much time in the last year criticizing, critiquing, harassing, Robert Mueller and his investigators. He would’ve been better served to simply let it play out, as his own attorneys initially advised him.

And I do think the President may be claiming complete exoneration. But, the folks who have had to plead guilty or who have been convicted, I think, speak loudly otherwise.