Nadler Steps Up Push for Mueller Docs After Explosive Media Reports
The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Thursday ratcheted up the pressure on Attorney General William Barr to release the full, unredacted Robert Mueller report on his Russia investigation following a pair of explosive stories published in the New York Times and Washington Post.
Both newspapers have reported that investigators who were part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team believe Barr failed to adequately portray the findings of their inquiry and insist their findings were more troubling for the president than the attorney general has led the public to believe.
Mueller concluded his investigation on Friday, March 22, and Barr released a four-page letter to Congress the following Sunday summarizing the still secret 300-plus page report.
In his letter, Barr said that the special counsel did not establish a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia. He also said that Mueller did not reach a conclusion “one way or the other” as to whether Trump’s conduct in office constituted obstruction of justice.
Absent that, Barr told the congressional leaders to whom his letter was addressed that he concluded the evidence was not sufficient to prove that the president obstructed justice.
Now, however, unidentified members of Mueller’s team have reportedly complained to close associates that the evidence they gathered on obstruction was both alarming and significant.
In a heavily-footnoted letter to Barr released Thursday afternoon, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler described the reports as “troubling” and noted they reveal Mueller prepared his own summaries of the report for public consumption “which you chose to withhold in favor of your own.”
Quoting from The New York Times’ piece, Nadler wrote “Some members of the office were particularly disappointed that Barr did not release summary information the special counsel team had … prepared for different sections of the report, with a view that they could [be] made public.”
In fact, Nadler continues, one unnamed U.S. official is quoted as saying that “Mueller’s team assumed the information was going to be made available to the public … and so they prepared their summaries to be shared in their own words—and not in the attorney general’s summary of their work, as turned out to be the case.’”
Nadler urges Barr to immediately release these purported summaries.
“This action is, of course, no substitute for providing to Congress the complete and unredacted report and underlying evidence, for all of the reasons set forth in our April 1 letter,” Nadler said. “Congress is entitled to the entire record. But we have a common obligation to share as much of that record with the public as we can.
“Additionally, if the Special Counsel’s summaries fit the summary you provided on March 24, that would alleviate substantial concerns that the House Judiciary Committee may wish to discuss when you appear to testify,” he said. “If there is significant daylight between his account and yours, the American people should know that too.”
Nadler also asked Barr to produce all communications between his office and that of the special counsel’s office regarding the full report, its disclosure to Congress and those that have anything to do with the attorney general’s March 24 letter summarizing the report.
Attorney General William Barr on Thursday continued to defend his handling of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the Russia investigation, saying the document contains sensitive grand jury material that prevented it from being immediately released to the public.
“Given the extraordinary public interest in the matter, the Attorney General decided to release the report’s bottom-line findings and his conclusions immediately — without attempting to summarize the report — with the understanding that the report itself would be released after the redaction process,” Barr’s statement said.
The statement also said that every page of Mueller’s report was marked that it may contain grand jury material “and therefore could not immediately be released.”
Nadler closed by referencing the Barr statement, noting that at one point the attorney general says he does “not believe the report should be released in ‘serial or piecemeal fashion.”
“Unfortunately, that selective release has in effect already occurred,” Nadler said. “You have already provided an interpretation of the Special Counsel’s conclusions in a fashion that appears to minimize the implications of the report as to the President. Releasing the summaries–without delay—would begin to allow the American people to judge the facts for themselves.”
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