Washington DC, April 3, 2019 — The House Judiciary Committee authorized a subpoena today for the full Russia investigation report, setting up a high-stakes legal battle over secret testimony that could be damaging to President Donald Trump.
Ten days after Attorney General Bill Barr cleared Trump of any wrongdoing in his summary of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report, the House panel gave Barr just days to voluntarily turn over the entire report and underlying investigative materials.
“We are going to work with the attorney general for a short period of time in the hopes that he will reveal to us the entire report and the underlying materials,” said Democratic committee chairman Jerry Nadler.
“But if that doesn’t work out, in a very short order we will issue the subpoenas,” he said.
Barr last week told Congress he was prepared to hand over the Mueller report by mid-April, but one stripped of the extensive grand jury interviews and subpoenaed material; materials collected by intelligence sources; and evidence related to other investigations and third parties.
Nadler, whose committee would preside over any impeachment proceedings against the president, said the committee has the right to see the entire 400-page report and all supporting evidence.
The Democrat-controlled committee voted to authorize one subpoena for the full report and underlying evidence, and separately to subpoena five former Trump aides, including strategist Steve Bannon, lawyer Don McGahn, and chief of staff Reince Priebus.
“The committee is entitled and must see the material,” Nadler said after the vote.
“We are not willing to let the attorney general, who after all is a political appointee of the president, substitute his judgment for ours.”
The demand could set up a constitutional showdown over whether the House has a right to demand normally secret grand jury materials that could hurt the president.
In Barr’s March 24 four-page summary of Mueller’s conclusions, he said there was no evidence that anyone in the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government to skew the 2016 presidential election in Trump’s favor.
Barr also declared that while Mueller himself reached no conclusion on the issue of whether Trump criminally obstructed the Russia investigation, his own review found there was not enough evidence to support obstruction allegations.
Trump at the time declared that the report was a “complete exoneration” of him.
But Democrats say it is clear that Mueller had reason to suspect Trump of obstruction and that the public deserves to see the full picture, and not rely on Barr’s judgment.