House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler is officially issuing a subpoena to obtain the full, unredacted report authored by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, and the underlying materials used in his investigation.
Just a few hours after the Department of Justice released a redacted version of Mueller’s report to Congress and the public, Nadler said he will issue a subpoena for the full report and investigatory materials. The Judiciary Committee had voted to authorize him to do so earlier this month, and the chairman had said he would if the Department of Justice declined to willingly provide the full report to Congress.
“Contrary to public reports, I have not heard from the Department about receiving a less-redacted version of the report,” the New York Democrat said. “Because Congress requires this material in order to perform our constitutionally-mandated responsibilities, I will issue a subpoena for the full report and the underlying materials.”
Nadler sent a letter to Mueller on Thursday asking him testify before his committee as soon as possible, but no later than May 23.
Nadler brushed off a question from a reporter Thursday about whether he would begin impeachment proceedings against Trump.
“It’s too early to reach those conclusions,” he said, adding that he wants to see the full Mueller report and other evidence before making such a move.Barr on Mueller report ahead of release: ‘No collusion’
Attorney General William Barr is scheduled to testify before the committee on May 2, and Democrats have a lot of questions about his handling of the report’s release, including decisions to write a four-page summary and hold a press conference characterizing its findings before it was made publicly available.
Nadler said Barr “appears to have shown an unsettling willingness to undermine his own department in order to protect President Trump,” noting the redacted report contradicts statements the attorney general made during his press conference Thursday.
“The report concluded there was ‘substantial evidence’ that President Trump attempted to prevent an investigation into his campaign and his own conduct. Contrary to the attorney general’s statement this morning that the White House ‘fully cooperated’ with the investigation, the report makes clear that the president refused to be interviewed by the special counsel and refused to provide written answers to follow-up questions; and his associates destroyed evidence relevant to the Russia investigation,” Nadler said.
The chairman also cited Barr’s omission of the special counsel’s conclusion that, as the report states, a “thorough FBI investigation would uncover facts about the campaign and the president personally that the president could have understood to be crimes or that would have risen to personal and political concerns.”
With the special counsel not making a charging decision on obstruction in part because of DOJ policy that a sitting president cannot be indicted, “the responsibility now falls to Congress to hold the president accountable for his actions,” Nadler said.
Nadler said Barr has refused to work with the committee to provide information to which they are entitled and which has been customarily provided in the past. He called the redacted version of the report “fragments” but noted it was still significant in determining wrongdoing by the president.
“If [Barr] was willing to release this evidence, which is so clearly damaging to the president, just imagine what remains hidden from our view,” Nadler said.
“As we continue to review the report, one thing is clear: Attorney General Barr presented a conclusion that the president did not obstruct justice, while Mueller’s report appears to undercut that finding,” the Democratic leaders said.
Republicans, meanwhile, were quick to praise Mueller’s finding that the Trump campaign did not collude with Russia to interfere in the 2016 election. In a disagreement with Democrats’ interpretation, they claimed that the report proves there’s not enough evidence of obstruction of justice to amount to a crime.
Minority Whip Steve Scalise said Democrats ought to apologize to the American people for “making outlandish claims about the president and his family,” accusing Speaker Nancy Pelosi and “her liberal lieutenants” of harassment.
“While Washington Democrats hoped for the special counsel to deliver a collusion conclusion, this report instead delivered a death blow to their baseless conspiracy theories,” the Louisiana Republican said.
Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy urged Democrats to “put their emotions and opinions aside” and use the passion they expended on this investigation to produce legislative results for the American people.
“It is time to move on,” the California Republican said. “Americans deserve better than this partisan quest to vilify a political opponent.”
McCarthy also defended Barr, saying he fully approves of his handling of the release of the report, including redactions to protect grand jury material, classified information “and the integrity of the investigative process.”
“Democrats want to keep searching for imaginary evidence that supports their claims, but it is simply not there,” he said.
Judiciary ranking member Doug Collins commended Barr for making a good-faith effort to share as much of the report as possible with Congress, saying he “has delivered more transparency than the regulations require.”
Scalise encouraged Congress to look at the “serious allegations regarding the politically-motivated dossier that started this investigation, and the possibility that government agents unethically spied on the 2016 Trump campaign.”
“Americans deserve answers to these alarming abuses of power, and accountability for any government official who abused their power in an attempt to overturn the results of the 2016 election,” he said.