The U.S. House Judiciary Committee has voted to authorize a subpoena to obtain Special Counsel Robert Mueller III’s full report and its underlying evidence.
Panel chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-New York, said in opening remarks Wednesday that he asked U.S. Attorney General William Barr to work with the committee to get access to material covered under grand jury secrecy rules. “He has so far refused,” Nadler said. He said he would give Barr time to change his mind, but would issue subpoenas for the materials if they could not reach a deal.
“We will as appropriate go to court. We think we need a subpoena first,” Nadler said.
The 24-17 vote came over the objections of the panel’s Republicans, who complained that Barr has already promised to release the report’s contents, but that he was not permitted to disclose grand jury information.
But their concerns were overridden by the panel’s Democrats, who said the public was entitled to see the grand jury material, pointing to examples set by the conclusions of special prosecutor Leon Jaworski’s Watergate investigation and Ken Starr’s inquiry into President Bill Clinton.
In demanding documents, Nadler said Wednesday it was Congress’ “job, not the attorney general’s, to determine whether or not President Trump has abused his office.”
Barr told lawmakers in a March letter that he would release a redacted version of Mueller’s nearly 400-page report. He said the Justice Department, with Mueller’s assistance, was “well along in the process” of reviewing and redacting any grand jury information in the document, along with any information that could interfere with ongoing investigations.
Barr closed the letter by saying he believed it would be appropriate for him to testify on the report shortly after its public release. He proposed a May 1 appearance before the Republican-led Senate Judiciary Committee followed the next day by a hearing with the House Judiciary Committee.
The House panel also voted Wednesday to subpoena the documents and testimony of former Trump White House officials and lawyers, including former White House Counsel Don McGahn and his former chief of staff, Ann Donaldson. Both left the administration last year.
The subpoenas also seek records related to former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, chief strategist Steve Bannon, and communications director Hope Hicks.
Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan partner William Burck represents McGahn, Priebus, and Bannon; Trout Cacheris & Janis chairman Robert Trout represents Hicks.