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Politics & Government

Alabama Democratic Sen. Doug Jones On Mueller Report And Barr

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

What's in the Mueller report? When will we all know? It's just been over two weeks since the special counsel submitted his findings in interference in the 2016 election to Attorney General Barr, who delivered a relatively short summary of what he found to be in the findings. But this week, there were reports members of the Mueller team are not pleased with the way Attorney General Barr characterized their report.

Many Democrats have said they just don't trust the Barr summary. Mr. Barr's views on executive power during his confirmation hearings displeased many Democrats. Just three Democrats voted to confirm him; one of them - Senator Doug Jones of Alabama, who joins us now. Senator, thanks so much for being with us.

DOUG JONES: Hey, thank you, Scott, for having me.

SIMON: How's your vote looking now?

JONES: Well, I think it still looks fine. I mean, you know, I voted for Bill Barr for any number of reasons, not just on the Mueller report but also because he is - you know, he's an institutionalist as far as the Department of Justice goes. He has a lot of respect for that department, as do I. I'm a former member of that department as a U.S. attorney. I felt like the department needed a lot of stability. He gave me assurances regarding two things - first, you know, that he would not interfere with the special counsel. That's obviously come to pass. And the second thing is that he would provide as much transparency as possible. So I think that we're OK right now. We'll look and see once the report gets out. And I understand all of, you know, the naysayers right now about that the report itself. But let's just see what the report says before we jump to too many conclusions.

SIMON: Reports this week also say members of the Mueller team informed associates they had prepared summaries that were meant to be shared with the public and that didn't happen. Does that give you any pause?

JONES: Well, you know, those summaries were prepared all along, and apparently, you know, the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, who many people, you know, we're trying to protect, did not share those as they were going. I don't know what those reports say. I want to see the full report. I think that's the main thing. Let's just try to see the full report. We'll see what happens then. I think you won't see everything. I think there will be some redactions. Remember; we've got two indictments dealing with Russian interference with the election. That's the one thing we know that's going to be in the report is a detailed information about Russian interference. Let's just see how this goes before we jump to too many conclusions, and then we'll go from there. The main thing is we do need to see the report.

SIMON: When you say we need to see the report, does that include us? Does that include your constituents?

JONES: Well, I would like as many people as possible to see that report. I mean, I really would like to see the whole thing made public. You know, I recognize there's got to be - I say got to be. There may have to be some national security redactions. We get a lot of briefings in a classified setting about what's going on with Russian interference in the elections. I get that. But I would like to see the public, the media, everyone made aware of everything that could possibly be in that report - just like the House of Representatives voted unanimously. That's what we've been saying all along. Let's get it out there, and let's just see and let the chips fall where they're going to fall.

SIMON: As you noted, you're a former federal prosecutor. Would - has the way Attorney General Barr handled this matter be just about the way you think you might have?

JONES: Absolutely. I just - I think he's played it straight by the book. I think people are overreacting a little bit about the reports coming out from the Mueller report - I mean, Mueller team. You got to remember, you know, he's going to do this in his eyes and what he believes and what he thinks. I think he's done exactly what he said he would do. That four-page summary came out very quickly. People may have different views about that, but it came out quickly with the top lines. And it takes a little bit when you're looking at a national security review, a Rule 6(e) grand jury review. It takes a little bit of time to go through a 400-page report. I think he's doing it timely, just like Bob Mueller did. I'm fine with the way it is now. We'll see what happens when it comes out. You can call me back then, and I'll give you another opinion.

SIMON: Well, that'll be after the Auburn game. Alabama Senator Doug Jones, thanks so much.

JONES: (Laughter) Thanks a lot, Scott. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.