SALT LAKE CITY — Sen. Mike Lee doesn't share the concerns of Utah's junior senator over special counsel Robert Mueller's report, parts of which he said he finds "odd."
"There’s nothing in this report that changes my view of this president," Lee, R-Utah, said Sunday on CBS News' "Face the Nation," adding he doesn't think most Americans or members of Congress see President Donald Trump any differently now. "There’s just nothing in there that should do that."
On Monday, Lee appeared on "The View," where he said didn't see any evidence of a crime or any basis for impeachment, though the report contained things that weren't flattering.
"The fact that he thought about doing certain things, and was later walked off the ledge from that by some very capable staff members who pointed out that this wasn’t a good idea, is itself comforting," he said.
Lee's comments are in sharp contrast to what freshman Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, took away from the redacted version of the report the Justice Department released last Thursday.
Romney called Trump's conduct detailed in the report a "sobering revelation" that "sickened" him.
"I am sickened at the extent and pervasiveness of dishonesty and misdirection by individuals in the highest office of the land, including the president," the 2012 GOP presidential nominee said.
Romney also said that he was "appalled" that Trump campaign workers welcomed help from Russia — including information that had been illegally obtained — and that none of them informed American law enforcement.
Trump responded to Romney's comments on Twitter.
"If @MittRomney spent the same energy fighting Barack Obama as he does fighting Donald Trump, he could have won the race (maybe)!" he tweeted, referring to Romney's failed presidential bid.
Romney also said that he was "glad" Attorney General William Barr found insufficient evidence to charge the president of the United States with having conspired with a foreign adversary or with having obstructed justice.
Lee said he found pieces of the Mueller report odd, particularly regarding obstruction.
"I think its odd to say, 'I'm not going to make a recommendation but I’m going to sound like I’m making a recommendation. There’s not evidence that I can point to but nonetheless I couldn’t get there even if I did,'" Lee said.
"It’s kind of strange to spend two years on that and then speak with the sort of tone that’s reminiscent of Pinocchio in the movie 'Shrek 3.' 'I’m going to say that I’m not deciding.' It’s full of double negatives. It’s kind of confusing."
Lee said the takeaway from the report is that there was no collusion.
"We’ve got people that for the last two years have been using the Russians' attempt to undermine the legitimacy of our electoral process as an effort within this country to undermine this president and the process by which he was elected," hes said.
"But it wasn’t there. It’s not there. Not a scintilla of evidence supports that, so it’s time to move on."
Rep. Ben McAdams said after reading more than half of the Mueller report that he found it "troubling," and that it raises questions that need answers.
Utah's lone Democrat in Congress told the Deseret News that he, too, is troubled by the report's depictions of "dishonesty and corruption in the White House," but he's circumspect about whether Trump's conduct rises to the level of initiating impeachment proceedings.
"Impeachment is a very high bar, and while there are questions that need answers going forward, my focus is still on what I can do to serve this country and benefit Utah," said McAdams, whose 4th District is a conservative swing district that Republicans want to win back in 2020.
"I'm not dismissing the serious nature of the behavior that is chronicled in the Mueller report and the need to get answers to many of the questions that the report raises. But impeachment isn't my focus," he said.
The most pressing question for the freshman congressman is the extent that Russia has meddled in American elections.
"What actions are being taken to ensure that the American people get to pick our elected officials, not Russians? What steps are we taking to stop Russian meddling in future U.S. elections?" McAdams said are the questions he wants answered.
Lee said on "The View" that it would be a mistake for the Democrats to impeach the president, and that it would backfire on them just as it did the Republicans when they impeached former President Bill Clinton.
"This was worse than that," co-host Joy Behar replied. "That was just sex. This is obstruction of justice. This is about the Constitution. This is about collaborating with the Russians. Come on."74 comments on this story
Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, also believes Democratic efforts to continue to investigate Trump would backfire.
Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee issued a subpoena to the Justice Department last week to obtain the full report.
"I think for those who are pursuing this, I think the American people are exhausted by it. I think they're so tired of it," Stewart said on CNN. "I think they are handing the president the greatest gift they could give him in the 2020 election. I think most Americans realize this is unfair to keep going and going."
Contributing: Matt Brown