House Judiciary Democrats Approve Subpoenas for Mueller Report

April 3, 2019 Updated: April 3, 2019

The House Judiciary Committee has voted along party lines on April 3 to authorize the chairman to issue subpoenas for Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s full report after the Justice Department missed a deadline set out by the Democrats to release the document without redactions.

Twenty-four Democrats voted to give Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) the option to issue subpoenas for the final report, its exhibits, and any underlying evidence or materials prepared for Mueller’s investigation, while 17 Republicans voted against it.

“This committee requires the full report and the underlying materials because it is our job, not the Attorney General’s, to determine whether or not President Trump has abused his office,” Nadler told the committee.

Nadler has not indicated whether he would issue the subpoenas, but in an interview with MSNBC, he said he plans to work with Attorney General William Barr to “minimize redactions” to the report.

The House Democrats imposed an April 2 deadline for Barr to provide the full report to Congress, in a letter signed by six House committee chairs on March 25. Nadler reiterated the Democrats’ deadline for the report in another letter to the attorney general on March 29.

The Justice Department has never said it would comply with the deadline. In a letter on March 29, Barr said the department was still making the appropriate redactions with the assistance of the special counsel.

“I share your desire to ensure that Congress and the public had the opportunity to read the Special Counsel’s report,” he wrote.

He also added that the department’s current progress with the redactions would put them in “a position to release the report by mid-April, if not sooner.” Barr says later in the letter that the report is almost 400-pages long, without counting tables and the appendices.

Despite Barr’s explanation, the House Democrats continued to pressure the Justice Department in another letter on April 1 (pdf), threatening Barr that they plan to begin the process of authorizing subpoenas for the full report and other materials.

“While we hope to avoid resort to compulsory process, if the Department is unwilling to produce the report to Congress in unredacted form, then we will have little choice but to take such action,” the letter read.

Meanwhile, Barr has already submitted a memo on the report that said Mueller had found no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. It also concluded that the special counsel didn’t provide enough evidence to substantiate that the president obstructed justice.

“The Mueller report probably isn’t the ‘total exoneration’ the president claims it to be,” Nadler told the committee.

“And, in any event, this committee has a job to do. The Constitution charges Congress with holding the president accountable for alleged official misconduct. That job requires us to evaluate the evidence for ourselves. Not the attorney general’s summary, not a substantially redacted synopsis, but the full report and the underlying evidence,” he added.

Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), the committee’s ranking member, criticized the Democrats, saying that their actions were confusing because the “attorney general is doing exactly what he said he would be doing,” that is making much of the report available as possible subject to law and department policy.

“This is hope against hope that we’re going to find something,” Collins said.

In a tweet, House Republicans said, “without facts on their side, Democrats have put all their hope in optics. There is no legislative purpose to these subpoenas.”

President Trump and White House officials have criticized the Democrat’s demands for Mueller’s report. The president told reporters at the White House that the Democrats would not be satisfied with whatever amount of documents they are provided.

“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 said on April 2.

He also made similar comments on Twitter.

“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!” Trump tweeted on April 2.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told Fox News on April 2 that their actions “shows again what sore losers the Democrats really are.”

“They got beat in 2016 because we had a better candidate with a better message and a better vision for America. Now we’re seeing that they’ve gotten beat again when it comes to the Mueller report. They were convinced, not only were they convinced but they went out and lied about what they expected the Mueller report to tell America, and they got it wrong, they got it wrong in 2016,” she said.

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