WASHINGTON — A House committee plans to vote Wednesday on whether to authorize subpoenas for special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s full report, underscoring how aggressively Democrats will pursue its release in a potential showdown with Atty. Gen. William P. Barr.
The decision comes after Barr said Friday that he would provide a redacted version of the report to Congress in mid-April, “if not sooner,” blowing past a Tuesday deadline set by the House.
The House Judiciary Committee’s subpoena vote, which is expected to be successful, would authorize chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) to issue the subpoena in the future. In announcing the subpoena vote Monday, the committee said the timing would be at Nadler’s discretion.
“Attorney General Barr has thus far indicated he will not meet the April 2 deadline set by myself and five other committee chairs, and refused to work with us to provide the full report, without redactions, to Congress,” Nadler said. “The attorney general should reconsider so that we can work together to ensure the maximum transparency of this important report to both Congress and the American people.”
Democrats in the House have said they won’t accept a redacted report or a classified briefing, arguing that they don’t want a “sanitized” version of what Mueller worked on for nearly two years.
Thus far Barr has only released a four-page summary of the report. According to Barr, Mueller concluded that the Trump campaign did not illegally collude with Russia to interfere with the 2016 campaign, yet made no decision about whether the president tried to illegally obstruct government inquiries into his actions.
Barr and House Democrats appear headed for a dispute over whether the information in the report that came from grand jury testimony can go to Congress.
Barr said last week that he is in the process of redacting the report of grand jury information as well as personal information, material the intelligence community says would compromise sources and methods, and information that could affect ongoing matters.
House Democrats argue that Congress has a right to review information from grand jury testimony and pointed to prior circumstances in which Congress received similar material.
Congress received grand jury material during Watergate – and kept it confidential for decades — as well as in the Starr report on President Clinton.
“To the extent that the attorney general is now undertaking a very elaborate process to redact grand jury information out of the special counsel’s report, the House Judiciary Committee held grand jury material in complete confidence for 45 years and only talked about it at all after a federal judge unsealed that roadmap late last year,” said a House Democratic aide.
The House Judiciary Committee could ask a judge to unseal the grand jury-related information, but has suggested that Barr could make a joint request with Congress.
Barr said he would be willing to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 1, which Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) accepted. Barr said he would appear before the House Judiciary on May 2, but Nadler has not agreed to that date.
The House Judiciary Committee is also expected to authorize subpoenas for five individuals who received document requests from the committee last month. The panel will vote on subpoenas for former White House strategist Stephen Bannon, communications director Hope Hicks, White House counsel Donald McGahn, counsel Ann Donaldson and former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus.
All of them, the committee said, may have received documents from the White House relevant to Mueller’s investigation.
Last month, the committee demanded documents from 81 people in Trump’s orbit as part of its investigation into obstruction of justice, public corruption and abuses of power by the president and people around him.