The Vote To Subpoena The Mueller Report Means This Might Not Be Over
Breaking news: There's a brand new chapter of the Mueller report saga about to unfold, so pull up a chair and tune in. There's been some talk over the past couple of weeks as to whether the public will ever get to see the contents of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report regarding possible collusion with Russia during the 2016 presidential election. Of course everyone's dying to see it, but what happens if the House subpoenas the Mueller report? It's possible that everyone will get a little peek.
On Wednesday, April 3, the House Judiciary Committee voted to authorize a subpoena to get Mueller's full report, so that it could "do the work" of possibly carrying out its own investigation, according to The Hill. The vote follows an April 2 deadline Democrats set for Attorney General William Barr to turn over Mueller's full and unredacted report to Congress. With that deadline come and gone and no report on the table, clearly, Democrats are taking things into their own hands.
However, that doesn't mean that the report will turn up immediately. It's still up to House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-New York) to give the green light to actually issue the subpoena, and even then, it will probably turn into a battle in court should the Department of Justice (DOJ) choose to push back. As of Wednesday, April 3, Nadler planned to wait for the DOJ to respond and hand over what the House Democrats want before he issues the subpoena, according to CNN. The DOJ did not immediately respond to Elite Daily's inquiry into whether the department plans to comply with the House Democrats' requests and hand everything over.
Nadler said on Wednesday,
I will give him time to change his mind. But if we cannot reach an accommodation, then we will have no choice but to issue subpoenas for these materials.
In addition to the Mueller report, per CNN, the committee will also vote Wednesday on subpoenas for former White House officials Steve Bannon, Hope Hicks, Donald McGahn, Reince Priebus, and Annie Donaldson as part of the committee's continuing investigation into possible obstruction of justice. The DOJ can still refuse to hand over all the materials even with a subpoena, and in that case, Nadler said during the markups on Wednesday that it should be up to a judge to decide whether the committee will be granted access to the full scope of Mueller's findings, according to The Hill. Nadler said,
If the department still refuses, then it should be up to a judge — not the president or his political appointee — to decide whether or not it is appropriate for the committee to review the complete record.
In a March 29 letter to Nadler and other committee members, Barr agreed to hand over a report in mid-April, but said that it would be scrubbed of any sensitive information, such as classified materials and details about investigations that are still going on, according to The New York Times. But House Democrats want the complete report.
As it stands, the only thing Congress currently has to go on is a four-page summary of Mueller's report written by Barr. Barr's letter, which was released on March 24, said that Mueller wrote in his report that "the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russia government" during the 2016 presidential election.
While it seems like Trump is clear of the collusion charge, when it comes to obstruction of justice, the details are a little cloudier. Per Barr's note, the special counsel left it up to the DOJ to decide whether Trump had obstructed justice, and it didn't find "sufficient" evidence to decide whether Trump had committed a crime. The DOJ did not respond to Elite Daily's request for comment about Barr's letter. However, that doesn't mean Trump is completely off the hook. According to Barr, Mueller wrote, "While this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him." Nevertheless, in an emailed statement to Elite Daily at the time, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders says:
The Special Counsel did not find any collusion and did not find any obstruction. Attorney General Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein further determined there was no obstruction. The findings of the Department of Justice are a total and complete exoneration of the President of the United States.
Should the House obtain all the details of Mueller's investigation, it would be able to look deeper into those obstruction charges. So stay tuned for that.