NEBRASKA CITY — The Nebraska Republican Party on Saturday adopted a resolution calling special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election “a perversion of equal justice.”
The party condemned "the motives and actions" of Mueller and his team in a 109-101 floor vote after many attendees and speakers had left the state party convention, which was held at Lied Lodge.
The resolution says Mueller, “finding no evidence of ‘collusion’ or statutory violation by President Donald J. Trump,” has “chosen to obstinately pursue a face-saving charge of ‘obstructing justice’ where no criminality exists.”
It condemns as “notorious and unfit for office” any Republican “who willingly gives credence to, provides aid for, or assists in any way and to any degree, the pursuit of this unjust attack” on the president and his administration.
Mueller’s team has secured indictments or guilty pleas from 20 people, according to the most recent count updated Friday by the Wall Street Journal.
The resolution passed despite a unanimous recommendation to table it from the party’s committee on resolutions. State party convention attendees also approved it over the objections of some who called the language flawed.
Based on schedules, sightings and interviews, the state’s top elected officials did not participate in the vote. Gov. Pete Ricketts was in Papillion. Rep. Don Bacon attended two Omaha-area events Saturday afternoon. Sens. Deb Fischer and Ben Sasse, too, left before the vote. Rep. Adrian Smith was not a delegate this year, and Rep. Jeff Fortenberry did not attend.
All delegates to the state convention receive copies of the draft resolutions in the bag they are handed when they check in. The GOP put the text of the resolution on a screen at the front of the convention hall after the resolution’s sponsor, Bruce Desautels of Hitchcock County, asked for a floor vote. He did not answer a Saturday evening call to his home.
There is no written record of who voted which way. The first vote, by voice, was inconclusive, though the resolution appeared to have enough support to pass. A GOP delegate asked for a vote count, so each side stood and people were counted.
Kenny Zoeller, the party's executive director, declined additional comment. Press aides for Ricketts, Fischer and Sasse did not immediately return requests for comment.
Bacon's campaign spokesman, Kyle Clark, declined to comment about the resolution's specifics. He relayed a statement from Bacon about the special counsel's probe: "Mueller should conclude his investigation as quickly as possible unless he can show wrongdoing by the president. Thus far, there has been no evidence presented of criminal wrongdoing by President Trump, and a drawn out fishing expedition does the country harm."
Jane Kleeb, chairwoman of the Nebraska Democratic Party, expressed disbelief about the resolution’s passage. She pointed to the results of the Mueller probe.
“I’m literally in shock that the Nebraska Republican Party has become so extreme and so filled with conspiracy theories that they’re not going to support an investigation” that’s already producing results, she said.
“The language in the resolution comes straight from Donald Trump,” Kleeb said. “And that’s the more terrifying part.”