Friday, April 19, 2019
House judiciary chairman issues subpoena for full Mueller report
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) on Friday issued a subpoena to compel the Department of Justice to turn over special counsel Robert Mueller's full report.
His order comes one day after Attorney General William Barr publicly released a redacted version of the Mueller report.
“I have issued a subpoena to the Department of Justice for the full version of the Mueller report and the underlying evidence. The Department is required to comply with that subpoena by May 1," Nadler said in a statement.
“I am open to working with the Department to reach a reasonable accommodation for access to these materials, however, I cannot accept any proposal which leaves most of Congress in the dark, as they grapple with their duties of legislation, oversight and constitutional accountability," he added.
Nadler's deadline is one day before Barr is slated to testify before the Judiciary panel next month.
Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, blasted Nadler for issuing the order shortly after receiving the more than 400-page report.
"Yesterday, Chairman Nadler held a press conference to admit he had only skimmed the report. Now — less than 24 hours after its release with minimal redactions — he's rushing to subpoena material that he hasn't even asked the department to provide yet and that, by law, can't be shared outside the Justice Department," Collins said in a statement.
Collins also hammered Nadler for returning Barr's good faith efforts to provide access to additional sensitive information and for issuing the subpoena before Barr is set to appear before the committee early next month.
"Today's subpoena is wildly overly broad. It commands the department to provide Congress with millions of records that would be plainly against the law to share because the vast majority of these documents came as a result of nearly 2,800 subpoenas from a grand jury that is still ongoing," added Collins.
Earlier this month, the Judiciary Committee voted along party lines to authorize a subpoena for the full report and its underlying information.
The subpoena comes after the Justice Department notified Nadler and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Thursday that they will allow a select handful of lawmakers to review a less-redacted version of the report in a secure closed-door setting as soon as next week.
Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd told the top Judiciary lawmakers that Barr has agreed to provide the leaders of the Judiciary committees as well as members of the Gang of Eight access to details in Mueller’s report that were restricted in the public version.
Barr's decision will ultimately allow lawmakers to review a series of sensitive information from the sprawling 22-month long probe, including matters related both to national security and details that relate to ongoing criminal investigations.
House Democrats argue they must be able to review the full report in order to properly perform their duties and conduct oversight, including information like grand jury materials.
Barr has repeatedly declined to provide such information. He reasons that he is following the special counsel regulations, while also releasing as much information as possible.
Democrats say Barr's refusal is unacceptable, and the standoff is likely to lead to a protracted legal battle.
The subpoena also spotlights how Democrats are increasingly directing their ire toward Barr. Some say Barr sought to put a favorable spin on the Mueller report's findings by hosting a press conference about the contents of the report before issuing it publicly.
During the press conference, Democrats say Barr sought to apply intent on why the president repeatedly attacked the investigation as a "witch hunt" and pressured aides to hinder the probe.
Mueller's report says the investigative team "did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government" in its election interference efforts, a finding that has been touted by Republicans to mean total exoneration for the president.
But the special counsel also wrote that their evidence prevents "conclusively determining that no criminal conduct occurred" in terms of the obstruction of justice case.
While Mueller did not make a determination on the matter either way, Barr, along with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and other Justice Department counsels, determined that the evidence did not reach a threshold to charge the president with obstructing justice.
Democrats have dismissed Barr's decision and vowed to push forward with their congressional probes to further examine the president's conduct.
Republicans have praised the report for featuring few redactions, while also touting the core conclusions of of the Mueller report — as laid out by Barr — as reason for Democrats to halt their investigations into Trump's administration, businesses and campaigns.
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