Nadler says subpoena for full Mueller report coming ‘in the next few hours’

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Nadler says subpoena for full Mueller report coming ‘in the next few hours’




Jerry Nadler

House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler is one of a select group of congressional leaders who will be allowed to view a less redacted version of the report. | Spencer Platt/Getty Images

House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler on Friday issued a subpoena to the Justice Department for an unredacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, in addition to the underlying grand jury evidence and testimony.

The subpoena, which demands the material by May 1, escalates the House’s confrontation with Attorney General William Barr, whom Democrats have accused of whitewashing Mueller’s findings and misleading the public about the nature of the special counsel’s conclusions in order to protect President Donald Trump.

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“My committee needs and is entitled to the full version of the report and the underlying evidence consistent with past practice,” Nadler (D-N.Y.) said in a statement. “Even the redacted version of the report outlines serious instances of wrongdoing by President Trump and some of his closest associates. It now falls to Congress to determine the full scope of that alleged misconduct and to decide what steps we must take going forward.”

Mueller’s report, which Barr released Thursday with limited redactions, painted a devastating picture of Trump’s efforts to curtail or restrict Mueller’s investigation of Russian links to the Trump campaign in 2016. Mueller also found that despite numerous contacts between Trump associates and Russians — as well as a clearly established Russian effort to help elect Trump — the evidence didn’t prove that anyone in Trump’s orbit conspired with the Russian government.

But Democrats say they need to see the fully unredacted report and underlying evidence for their own investigations. In some instances, Mueller reported that Trump satisfied all the elements of an obstruction crime but emphasized that he drew no “ultimate conclusion” about his conduct because of Justice Department constraints on indicting a sitting president. The Judiciary Committee is already investigating Trump for obstruction of justice and has requested documents.

The committee initially authorized Nadler to issue the subpoena earlier this month after it became clear that Barr was not going to release the full, unredacted report and all of the underlying evidence. Democrats have called on Barr to ask a court to release the grand jury information, which is usually kept secret. Barr told lawmakers last week that he does not intent to seek that court order, but he invited Democrats to go to court themselves to get their hands on the information.

The subpoena served on Friday came after Democrats say they exhausted all of their options to obtain the full report voluntarily. Nader said last week that he wanted to “show the court that we’re making every effort to reach an accommodation … because that strengthens the case for enforcement of the subpoena.”

Georgia Rep. Doug Collins, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, said Nadler’s subpoena was too broad and sought materials that “by law, can’t be shared outside the Justice Department.”

“[The subpoena] commands the department to provide Congress with millions of records that would be plainly against the law to share because the vast majority of these documents came as a result of nearly 2,800 subpoenas from a grand jury that is still ongoing,” Collins said in a statement, praising Barr for “good faith transparency.”

But Nadler told “Good Morning America” earlier Friday that it was imperative his committee see the full report to make “informed decisions” about whether to pursue impeachment against Trump, though he said “we’re not there now.”

Nadler is one of a select group of congressional leaders who will be allowed to view a less redacted version of the report, though that version will still not include grand jury evidence. The Justice Department will allow those lawmakers to view the less redacted report in a secure setting beginning next week.

While the president and his allies have insisted Mueller’s report exonerates the president, Democrats have accused Barr of acting as a de facto defense attorney for the president, first with a four-page summary of the Mueller report released last month and again on Thursday with his press conference ahead of the report’s public release. Democrats say Barr — in both his press conference and his four-page summary — mischaracterized many aspects of the report to portray it in a more favorable light for the president.

Democrats have taken issue in particular with Barr’s conclusion that Trump did not obstruct justice, arguing that Mueller’s report shows the issue should be taken up by Congress.

“Because Barr misled the country, we have to hear from Barr, which we will on May 2. We have to hear from Mueller and ask him a lot of questions,” Nadler said Friday. “We have to hold hearings and hear from other people both on the question of obstruction of justice, whereas I said the special prosecutor invited Congress to look into that, not the attorney general. We have to look into all that. We need the entire report, unredacted, and the underlying documents in order to make informed decisions.”

Lawmakers will have the opportunity to grill Barr about his handling of the report in two weeks. On May 1, the attorney general will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee; on May 2, he will appear before the House Judiciary panel.

Nadler has also invited Mueller to testify “as soon as possible.” Barr said Thursday that he wouldn’t have an issue with Mueller appearing before Congress, but it was unclear on Friday if Mueller planned to accept Nadler’s invitation.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary panel, said he’s not interested in having Mueller testify.

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