Democrats prepare to launch subpoenas for Mueller report
(ABC News)- House Democrats on Wednesday plan to move forward with efforts to subpoena the Justice Department for special counsel Robert Mueller’s full report, along with any underlying materials, after the Justice Department ignored Democrats’ deadline to deliver both to Congress on Tuesday.
The move puts Democrats on a collision course with the Trump administration and could set up a legal battle that reached the Supreme Court.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler hasn’t said when he might subpoena the Justice Department following the committee’s scheduled vote to give him the authority. In an interview with MSNBC on Tuesday, Nadler said he plans to work with Attorney General William Barr to “minimize redactions” to the Mueller report, and would only issue a subpoena for the report itself “if necessary” following a conversation over how much of the report to release publicly.
Democrats have demanded the full Mueller report since Barr informed lawmakers that the special counsel did not find that the Trump campaign coordinated or conspired with Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election and that Mueller did not make a conclusion on whether President Donald Trump obstructed justice in the investigation.
In a letter to Barr on Tuesday, six top House Democratic chairs asked Barr to appear before Congress “as soon as possible” after he said he’d be available to testify about the report and his letter summarizing its conclusions in early May.
Last week, Barr — in a letter to lawmakers — said he hopes to release a redacted version of the nearly 400-page report by “mid-April” if not sooner. He is working with Mueller’s office to redact grand jury information, classified material, and anything that would compromise ongoing investigations and the privacy of “peripheral third parties.”
“Full release of the report to Congress is consistent with both congressional intent and the interests of the American public,” the House Democratic chairs wrote in their letter to Barr. “The American people have also consistently and overwhelmingly supported release of the full report.”
While the White House has deferred to the attorney general on how much of the Mueller report to release, and the president has previously called for the release of the full report, Trump and senior White House officials have increasingly criticized Democrats’ demands for more information.
On Tuesday, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders called Democrats “sore losers” who are upset with the 2016 presidential election and will “never be satisfied” with the information they receive from the Justice Department.
“We could give them 800 pages and it wouldn’t be enough, they’ll always come back and say, it’s not enough, it’s not enough,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “You could give them more documents than they’ve ever seen and it would never be good enough. I think it’s somewhat of a waste of time.”
Nadler has also asked the Justice Department to jointly go to court with Democrats to request the release of all Mueller grand jury material to the House Judiciary Committee.
Democrats, as part of their argument for the full report and underlying materials, point to hundreds of thousands of pages of materials that the Justice Department turned over to the GOP-led House in the last Congress, related to the Hillary Clinton email investigation and elements of the Trump-Russia probe, while Mueller’s work continued.
Justice Department officials have privately disputed Democrats’ characterization of the potential refusal to share Mueller materials as a “double standard.”