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House Judiciary Committee to Vote on Mueller Report Subpoenas

April 1, 2019 by Dan McCue
U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) chairs a hearing of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee in which Acting Attorney General Matthew G. Whitaker appears on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. on February 8, 2019. (Chris Kleponis/CNP/Zuma Press/TNS)

The House Judiciary Committee is preparing to vote on subpoenas this week seeking release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s full Russia report.

House Democrats have set an April 2 deadline for receiving a copy of the full Mueller report, but so far Attorney General William Barr has only agreed to turn the 300-page document over sometime in “mid-April, if not sooner.”

The “deadline still stands,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., said in a statement posted to Twitter.

If the Democrats don’t receive the document Tuesday, a vote on the subpoenas will be held when the Judiciary committee meets Wednesday, Nadler said Monday morning.

Barr has said he needs time to review the report to redact any grand jury testimony; information that could compromise intelligence “sources and methods”; material that could affect ongoing Justice Department investigations; and information that might “infringe on the personal privacy” or reputation of “peripheral third parties.”

But many Democrats have expressed skepticism about that process.

“We have a new species of political dinosaur. It’s called the ‘Barr-Redactyl,'” Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said in an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday.

“William Barr believes that he can take his time and redact the 300- or 400-page report from Bob Mueller,” Durbin continued. “I think it’s long overdue for him to apply to Court to get a waiver when it comes to grand jury information and then to produce this report in its entirety for the Congress.”

Barr sent lawmakers a four-page letter on March 24 that said Mueller had completed his investigation into Trump campaign contacts with Russia.

The letter said Mueller’s team of investigators did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.

It also said Mueller had chosen not to reach a determination about whether Trump had obstructed justice, but Barr concluded that the special counsel’s evidence “was not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction of justice offense.”

Trump and his allies have since claimed the Mueller report “fully exonerates” the president of wrongdoing.

In an op-ed published in the New York Times on Monday, Nadler said, “[w]e have an obligation to read the full report, and the Department of Justice has an obligation to provide it, in its entirety, without delay.

“If the department is unwilling to produce the full report voluntarily, then we will do everything in our power to secure it for ourselves,” Nadler continued. “We require the report, first, because Congress, not the attorney general, has a duty under the Constitution to determine whether wrongdoing has occurred. The special counsel declined to make a ‘traditional prosecutorial judgment’ on the question of obstruction, but it is not the attorney general’s job to step in and substitute his judgment for the special counsel’s.”

Georgia Rep. Doug Collins, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, said on Twitter Friday that “[w]hile I join Chairman Nadler in looking forward to reviewing the classified information in the report at a future date, he stands alone in setting arbitrary deadlines for that release and in calling the attorney general to break the law by releasing the report without redactions.”

The judiciary committee vote would not automatically issue subpoenas but authorize House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler to send them.

The panel will also vote to authorize subpoenas related to a number of President Donald Trump’s one-time aides, including former senior adviser Steve Bannon; former White House Communications Director Hope Hicks; former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus; former White House Counsel Don McGahn; and McGahn’s former deputy, Ann Donaldson.

Nadler said those individuals “may have received documents from the White House relevant to the Special Counsel investigation, or their outside counsel may have, waiving applicable privileges under the law.”

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