House Judiciary authorizes subpoena for full Mueller report
WASHINGTON — The House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday voted to authorize a subpoena for the full, unredacted report by special counsel Robert Mueller on Russian interference in the U.S election and alleged obstruction of justice by President Donald Trump.
The committee took the action after Attorney General William Barr told Congress that he intends later this month to provide a report to lawmakers with certain material removed. The subpoena for the nearly 400-page report, along with underlying documents, will not be issued until that is approved by Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y.
"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," Nadler said in his opening remarks Wednesday, adding that so far, Attorney General William Barr has "refused" to work with him to help obtain access to materials Nadler said his committee is entitled to under the law.
The resolution calls for the final Mueller report as well as “any accompanying exhibits, annexes, tables, appendices, other attachments and all evidence referenced in the report” as well as “underlying evidence collected, materials prepared, or documents used by” Mueller’s office.
The measure also authorizes the committee to issue subpoenas for documents and testimony from five individuals: former White House counsel Don McGahn, former Trump adviser and White House strategist Steve Bannon, former White House communications director Hope Hicks, former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus and former White House deputy counsel Ann Donaldson.
Shortly after the committee hearing began, Rep. Ken Buck, R-Co., objected to a routine motion by Nadler to waive reading the full text of a substitute amendment he was offering to the resolution. This forced a delay in the proceedings, the first of multiple delaying tactics from GOP members on the committee.
Barr said in a letter last Friday to Nadler and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., that he planned to release the report to Congress “in mid-April, if not sooner,” but also said that there would be redactions.
In a letter to Barr on Monday, Nadler and five other Democratic committee chairmen wrote that that pledge wasn't enough. “On Wednesday, April 3, 2019, the House Judiciary Committee plans to begin the process of authorizing subpoenas for the report and underlying evidence and materials," they wrote. "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."
Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., the ranking member on the House Judiciary Committee, argued in his opening remarks Wednesday that a subpoena for the Mueller report would command the attorney general to break the law.
"The attorney general's entire mandate is to enforce the law, and he’s expressly forbidden from providing grand jury material outside of the department, with very limited and narrow exceptions. Congress is not one of those exceptions, and the chairman knows it," Collins said.
Nadler said Wednesday that he would give Barr "time to change his mind" before he issues the subpoena.