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US Senator Amy Klobuchar in N.H. says making Mueller report public is ‘number one focus’

“What we really need is to make [the Mueller report] public. Ninety percent of Americans want to see it public. Four-hundred-twenty representatives in the House of Representatives voted to make it public,” Senator Amy Klobuchar said after an event Saturday.
“What we really need is to make [the Mueller report] public. Ninety percent of Americans want to see it public. Four-hundred-twenty representatives in the House of Representatives voted to make it public,” Senator Amy Klobuchar said after an event Saturday. (Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff)

RYE, N.H. – Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on his investigation into Russian interference during the 2016 election dominated political headlines Saturday, but the topic nearly went unmentioned in the middle school gym where US Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota met with Democratic presidential primary voters.

After taking questions for about an hour, Klobuchar told reporters she was surprised no one in the crowd brought it up. She said she tried to broach the subject delicately when responding to a question about the separation of powers.

“What we really need is to make it public. Ninety percent of Americans want to see it public. Four-hundred-twenty representatives in the House of Representatives voted to make it public,” Klobuchar said, calling it her “number one focus.”

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US Attorney General William Barr was reviewing the confidential document on Saturday to determine what to disclose. Klobuchar, citing Barr’s writings about executive power, said she worries he won’t do enough to share Mueller’s findings.

Aside from prosecuting criminal conduct, Mueller’s office delved into the mechanics of Russian interference in the 2016 election and Americans need to know more about the scheme in order to prevent a repeat in 2020, Klobuchar said.

“This report is important not just for who did what, but it’s also important for what we’re going to do as a country going forward,” she said.

Backup paper ballots and audits, giving states more funding for election equipment, and requiring social media companies to clearly label political ads are ways to protect the integrity of elections, Klobuchar said.

The town hall event at Rye Junior High School marked Klobuchar’s third visit to New Hampshire since she entered the presidential race for the Democratic nomination. The gathering drew about 225 people, the campaign said.

Klobuchar appeared on a small stage with Rye Town Moderator Bob Eaton, who posed some questions before turning the microphone over to the audience. Rye Democrats organized the gathering.

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Klobuchar said her priorities are climate change, immigration, US standing on the international stage, and controlling prescription drug prices. She answered questions about the opioid epidemic, US foreign policy in Venezuela, and how she compares to other Democratic presidential candidates.

Former New Hampshire State Representative Mindi Messmer praised Klobuchar for her performance during Senate confirmation hearings for Brett Kavanaugh, who was nominated to serve on the US Supreme Court by President Trump. He was sworn in last October.

The crowd applauded as Messmer talked about Klobuchar’s poise while questioning Kavanaugh about his drinking. In that exchange during the hearing, Klobuchar discussed her father’s battle with alcoholism and then asked Kavanaugh whether he had ever blacked out while drinking.

Kavanaugh said: “I don’t know. Have you?”

He later apologized to Klobuchar.

She told the crowd in Rye that she was appalled by Kavanaugh’s conduct at the hearing and contrasted his behavior with testimony from his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, who said Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were teenagers.

“All of my colleagues said how credible [Blasey Ford] was. She was really credible,” Klobuchar said. “Literally, they go to lunch. We come back. And he just starts ranting and raving about the courts.”

She never said Kavanaugh’s name, referring to him as the “nominee.”

“When he went after me the way that he did, I just decided, ‘I am not going down there with you,’ ” she said.

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Klobuchar had company in New Hampshire Saturday as other Democrats running for the party’s presidential nomination were making the rounds.

US Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts had events scheduled in three communities. US Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii had stops planned in West Ossipee and Durham. Former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper was visiting Concord and Lebanon.

At Klobuchar’s event, David Robins, a retired Unitarian minister from Harrisville, said he’s enthusiastic about her, but wants to take a closer look at her Senate colleagues Kamala Harris of California and Cory Booker of New Jersey.

“I think Amy Klobuchar has the experience and the vision and ability to work across party lines. I think she’s got the stuff,” he said.

Jean Stearns of Manchester said Klobuchar connected with the audience.

“I was surprised by her command of the room,” she said. “I’ve admired her in the Senate. I think she’s done an excellent job, but I didn’t know how she would be on the campaign trail.”

Phil Grandmaison of Nashua said he is looking for a candidate who can defeat Trump and believes the Democrats need to win Midwestern states to capture the White House.

“She makes a very compelling point for her inclusion on the ticket when she says that she’s able to draw from many of the same voters that Trump did in 2016,” he said. “The idea of having a Midwestern nominee is very appealing to me.”


Laura Crimaldi can be reached at laura.crimaldi@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @lauracrimaldi.

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