A legal and political struggle between Congress and the attorney general over the full release of Robert Mueller’s report might just be getting started.
While lawmakers might see the report sometime later this month, it’s still unclear when the public will. And what you see is likely to be different from what members of Congress see.
The House Judiciary Committee voted Wednesday to authorize seeking a subpoena for Attorney General William Barr, but that doesn’t mean it will be sent immediately to the Justice Department.
“If that doesn’t work out, in a very short order, we will issue the subpoenas,” said the committee’s chairman, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), who declined to specify exactly how long that might be.
Nadler made it clear after the hearing that he won’t accept a redacted report, which Barr has indicated he will submit to Congress by mid-April.
While pressing hard to make the report public, Democratic lawmakers have acknowledged that they will see more of the details of the report than what the average American will eventually see.
“Obviously, some material will have to be redacted before it’s released to the public,” Nadler said. “But the committee is entitled, and must see, all the material and make judgments as to what can be redacted for the public release by ourselves.”
Nadler noted that lawmakers deal with sensitive documents frequently, and often make decisions regarding when information can be released to the public.
Barr is going over the report, which is close to 400 pages, to review grand jury testimony and other sensitive areas that probably will be redacted. Nadler said his committee would be willing to go to court to get access to that grand jury testimony.
The latest developments could lead to a protracted legal battle, if Barr and Democratic lawmakers can’t come to terms on when and how the report is released.
Last month, the House voted unanimously to support a resolution calling for the report to be made public. And President Trump has said he’ll defer to Barr on releasing the report, though this week he also suggested on Twitter that Democrats couldn’t be satisfied, no matter what the attorney general does.
There is no amount of testimony or document production that can satisfy Jerry Nadler or Shifty Adam Schiff. It is now time to focus exclusively on properly running our great Country!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 2, 2019
Republicans on the Judiciary Committee were critical of Democrats and the decision to vote for subpoenas, which were also approved for five former White House officials.
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), a vocal supporter of the president, likened Democrats to people going through the stages of grief over Mueller’s findings.
“I would suggest to the American people that what they’re witnessing is the death rattle of the Democrats’ Russia collusion lie,” Gaetz said.
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