Democrats draw line in the sand: Congress must get the full 'unedited' Mueller report
With multiple news reports suggesting the special counsel’s investigation could conclude as early as next week, congressional Democrats are gearing up for a battle to make sure they see the contents of that report in its entirety.
By current statute, Trump’s newly installed attorney general, William Barr, will have wide-ranging discretion over how much of Robert Mueller’s report is relayed to Congress. In anticipation of Barr withholding some, most, or even all of that report, Democrats are putting Barr on notice that such an omission will result in a political shitstorm.
When a reporter tweeted Wednesday that Barr was making plans to submit to Congress “a summary of Mueller’s confidential report,” the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee had a message for Barr. “A ‘summary’ is not going to cut it,” Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia tweeted. “Congress needs to see the Special Counsel’s findings *in their entirety* and an unclassified report should then be released to the public.”
On Friday, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee also weighed in with a meaty statement on the matter, calling on Barr to turn over to Congress the full “unedited” report once he receives it. “Regulations governing Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation do not prohibit Attorney General Barr from disclosing Mueller’s final report and investigative materials to Congress,” wrote Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, “and I repeat my call for the attorney general to provide the report unedited once it has been provided to him.”
Feinstein said Congress has “a clear interest” in getting the full report and noted that the Justice Department had already released multiple documents pertaining to the investigation at the behest of Republicans. “The attorney general cannot take the position that it will only produce material to Congress when requested by Republicans,” she wrote.
She concluded that a “summary” of the report “will not be acceptable.” Congress has a duty to “determine if there was misconduct or abuse of power” and whether existing statutes are sufficiently deterring election interference, Feinstein argued.
Some Democrats have also suggested they would subpoena Mueller if his findings were not publicly released. Some Republicans, such as Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, have also expressed support for a public release of the findings.