House Democrats want to see special counsel Robert Mueller’s full report, and they don’t plan to settle for the redacted version released to Congress and the public by Attorney General William Barr.
House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler (D-NY) said Thursday he will issue a subpoena to get the Mueller report in its entirety. Nadler was supposed to be among the select number of senior House and Senate Committee members who Barr promised would receive nearly full access to Mueller’s report, minus information from the grand jury. But Nadler said it hadn’t even been made available to him as of Thursday afternoon.
“Contrary to public reports, I have not heard from the Department about receiving a less-redacted version of the report,” Nadler said in a statement. “Because Congress requires this material in order to perform our constitutionally-mandated responsibilities, I will issue a subpoena for the full report and the underlying materials.”
There are four kinds of information Barr has said could be redacted from the report: information that could expose “peripheral third parties,” details that could “compromise sources and methods” used to compile the Mueller report, material from the grand jury, and details about ongoing investigations.
Democrats are still combing through the 448-page redacted report. By subpoenaing for the full, unredacted report, Democrats are arguing they need the full picture to move forward with their own investigations and determinations on whether Trump committed criminal obstruction of justice.
“I think it was probably written with the intent of providing Congress a roadmap as other reports have in the past,” Nadler told reporters on Thursday. “But with a lot of redactions, Attorney General Barr seems to be trying to frustrate that intent.”
Nadler’s subpoena is sure to further ratchet up already fraught tensions between the White House and House Democrats.
Where Democrats go from here
House Democratic leaders are focusing on getting the full report and requesting Mueller to testify publicly, rather than making sweeping calls for impeachment.
“Based on what we have seen to date, going forward on impeachment is not worthwhile at this point,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told CNN’s Dana Bash. “Very frankly, there is an election in 18 months, and the American people will make a judgement.”
Nadler also said that it was too early to talk about impeachment, adding that Democrats need more information before they figure out what steps to take.
“That’s one possibility, there are others,” Nadler said. “It’s too early to reach those conclusions, it’s one reason we wanted the Mueller report … and we’ll want other evidence too.”
House committees have ramped up the number of subpoenas in recent weeks, as the White House has declined all of Democrats’ requests for witnesses and documents so far.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her committee chairs are trying to pull off a delicate balancing act: investigating Trump while focusing on policy issues that won them the House in 2018, including cheaper health care and coming up with a plan to repair the nation’s infrastructure.
Right after Barr’s summary of the Mueller report came out, Pelosi herself cautioned her members to focus on getting the report, but not lose sight of other important policy issues. But Pelosi has also been tenacious, calling for the release of the full Mueller report and the president’s tax returns.
“Show us the Mueller report. Show us the tax returns,” Pelosi told reporters at a recent press conference. “We’re not walking away just because you say no the first time around.”
While investigations are going forward, there’s a high risk-high reward calculus to letting them overshadow bills and other work Democrats have done. They have a majority to protect in 2020, and the leadership knows Republicans will hit back hard on their investigations into Trump.