Democrat issues subpoena for full Mueller report
WASHINGTON — House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler issued a subpoena on Friday for special council Robert Mueller’s full report, giving the Justice Department until May 1 to comply.
“My Committee needs and is entitled to the full version of the report and the underlying evidence consistent with past practice,” Nadler said in a statement. “The redactions appear to be significant. We have so far seen none of the actual evidence that the Special Counsel developed to make this case. Even the redacted version of the report outlines serious instances of wrongdoing by President Trump and some of his closest associates. It now falls to Congress to determine the full scope of that alleged misconduct and to decide what steps we must take going forward.”
When asked at a news conference Thursday if the Mueller report would provide a “road map” should Democrats open impeachment proceedings, Nadler said it was “too early” to discuss that, but then said the special counsel “probably” wrote the report with that “intent.”
In a joint statement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer similarly drew a distinction between the words of Attorney General William Barr and Mueller on the question of whether the President obstructed justice.
“The differences are stark between what Attorney General Barr said on obstruction and what Special Counsel Mueller said on obstruction,” the Democratic leaders said in their statement, adding, “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.”
Pelosi and Schumer broadly criticized Barr earlier in the day on Thursday, accusing him of creating “a crisis of confidence in his independence and impartiality” and saying public testimony from Mueller himself in both the House and the Senate is “the only way to begin restoring public trust.”
The call was echoed by Nadler, who posted to Twitter a copy of a letter to Mueller requesting testimony in front of the committee “as soon as possible” and “no later than May 23, 2019.”
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff also announced that his committee has invited Mueller “to testify on the counterintelligence investigation.” A letter from Schiff to Mueller states that the committee will work “to secure a mutually agreeable date in May.”
During his Thursday morning news conference, Barr said he has “no objection” to Mueller testifying when asked if he would allow Mueller to testify publicly to Congress in light of the calls from Democrats.
Barr has blocked from public view portions of the report, including grand jury material, sensitive intelligence material, details about ongoing investigations, and information that harms the “privacy and reputational interests of peripheral third parties.”
Democrats have slammed what they say are orchestrated attempts by the Trump administration to control the narrative surrounding the report’s release. Prior to the report’s release, they had also threatened to subpoena the Justice Department to obtain the full report if necessary, which may lead to a contentious court battle.
The Mueller report is the result of a nearly two-year investigation into how Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election to help the Trump campaign and whether the President then obstructed that probe. Mueller brought criminal charges against 25 Russians who interfered in the election and six Trump associates: senior campaign officials Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, national security adviser Michael Flynn, former fixer Michael Cohen, longtime ally Roger Stone and campaign adviser George Papadopoulos.
During his news conference, Barr said the President has been right all along on whether the Trump campaign coordinated with the Russian government in interfering with the 2016 presidential election. “As he said from the beginning, there was, in fact, no collusion,” Barr said.
Republicans claim vindication for the President
Some Republican allies of the President in Congress immediately seized upon the attorney general’s initial announcement to claim exoneration.
Rep. Jim Jordan, Republican of Ohio, tweeted, “No collusion! No obstruction!”
House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy issued a statement saying, “Nothing we saw today changes the underlying results of the 22-month long Mueller investigation that ultimately found no collusion,” and adding, “it is time to move on.”
House GOP Whip Steve Scalise called on Democrats to apologize for “making outlandish claims about the President” and said in a statement that “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.”