Speculation has been growing that special counsel Robert Mueller may soon submit his final report to the U.S. Justice Department after nearly two years of investigating whether the Trump campaign aided Russia’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 election. President Donald Trump has denied any “collusion.”
Speaking on The Exchange, Shaheen said, “I think it’s very important for the people of this country to see what’s in this report.”
Shaheen said it’s uncertain whether the newly-sworn in U.S. Attorney General William Barr will make the full report public, given his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“He said his inclination would be to make as much public as possible but there might be information in the report that was classified and that might put individuals in danger if it were released, and he was concerned about that,” Shaheen said. “But I think we should all hold him to the fact that this report should be released. It’s a report to the American people, and the American people need to see it.”
If Barr does not release the full report, and Congressional subpoena power fails to prompt its release, Shaheen said: “There are other ways in which we can make sure that the information in the report gets to the American people.”
Shaheen joined The Exchange Monday to discuss domestic and foreign policy issues, including U.S. involvement in Syria. She backs leaving a small contingent of forces there. She also pointed to several instances when the U.S. Congress appears to have reasserted its power – reigning in President Trump.
“I think one of the encouraging outcomes of the 2018 election was taking back the House for Democrats, which provided some accountability for the Administration,” she said.
Congress has overruled President Trump in several instances, she said, passing more expansive sanctions on Russia for election interference and opposing his efforts to withdraw troops from Syria. “The President has been forced to leave some troops in Syria and work with our allies there.”
In addition, she said, Congress has stood up to the President when it comes to building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Earlier this month, Trump declared a national emergency to secure federal funds to build that wall.
“The last Congress that had Republican majorities in both the House and Senate didn’t build that wall. And now that we have a Democratic House and Republican Senate, we’re also saying we don’t think that’s the best way to provide security on our southern border.”
On the high cost of prescription drugs:
Shaheen called for allowing re-importation of safe drugs from Canada and preventing pharmaceutical companies from getting tax subsidies for advertising to consumers.
On North Korea:
After the initial meeting between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Shaheen acknowledged a few positive outcomes: a reduction in inflammatory rhetoric and a halt to North Korea’s testing of nuclear weapons.
“But we haven’t really seen any efforts to reduce their nuclear arsenal and the evidence suggests they are continuing to make weapons.”
When it comes to the upcoming meeting between the two leaders, Shaheen said she wants to see a list of where all the nuclear sites are, how many weapons they have, how inspections might be done, and a commitment to actually reduce weapons on some sort of schedule.
In response to a listener, Shaheen said she shared some of his concerns that the United States might be seen as trying to overthrow a democratically-elected President Maduro. “However,” she said. “There was a lot of testimony to the fact that that was not a free and fair election. I support the Trump Administration’s recognition of Juan Guaido as an interim president, and I think we need to see how this plays out. I hope we will be able to send humanitarian assistance to the Venezuelans…I don’t support military intervention in Venezuela.”
Shaheen said she hopes to achieve a solution through diplomacy involving other Latin American countries in the region.
On tariffs and U.S.-China relations:
Shaheen called President Trump’s decision to delay a March 2nd tariff deadline that would have increased tariffs on $ 200 billion of Chinese exports from 10 to 25 percent “a positive step.”
“I think there are many issues with China and trade and dumping products into our market and trying to eliminate American businesses. But the tariffs have been a very blunt instrument and it’s had a real impact not just on China but also on our own businesses. For that reason, I don’t think that’s the best way to attack what China has done in terms of trade.”
"But there’s a bigger issue when it comes to China," she said. "And I think we’ve been slow to recognize it – that is the economic power that China has amassed. They will soon surpass the United States as the biggest economy.”
On her plans to run for a third term and initiatives she plans to highlight as a candidate:
Shaheen said she plans to continue working on getting more resources for the opioid epidemic. “That’s something we need to stay at until we’ve beaten this epidemic.”
As for backing any of the Democratic candidates running in the 2020 primary, Shaheen said she won’t be endorsing any of them “because I have my own race to run.”
“Anybody coming to New Hampshire, I’m happy to provide assistance and answer any questions that I can, but I’m not going to endorse," she said.