WASHINGTON – The head of the Judiciary Committee in the US House of Representative issued a subpoena on Friday for the unedited version of the findings of Robert Mueller’s probe of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible coordination between the Kremlin and Donald Trump’s campaign.
Rep. Jerry Nadler said in a statement posted on Twitter that he had issued that subpoena to see the entire document prepared over a two-year period by the special counsel.
The New York Democrat noted that the Justice Department has the obligation to comply with that subpoena by May 1.
Nadler made the request after the Justice Department released this Thursday a 448-page version of the report, with numerous blacked-out portions to comply with long-standing legal requirements.
Known as redactions, the blacked-out parts concern matters that remain under grand jury investigation and the names of innocent people who provided testimony or were mentioned.
The special counsel concluded that there was “insufficient evidence to establish that President Trump or his associates engaged in a criminal conspiracy with Russia to disrupt the 2016 election, despite numerous contacts between his campaign and Russians.”
Nadler said Friday that he is “open to working with the Department to reach a reasonable accommodation for access to these materials.”
“However I cannot accept any proposal which leaves most of Congress in the dark, as they grapple with their duties of legislation, oversight and constitutional accountability,” the committee chair said.
He indicated that the committee he leads not only needs but is entitled to have access to the complete version of the report, since the amount of redaction is “significant.”
On Thursday, Nadler demanded the complete report “no later than May 23,” because in his opinion it could be a “roadmap” for Congress going forward.
The Republicans’ response to the subpoena was not long in coming, with the GOP ranking member on the Judiciary Committee, Doug Collins, taking shots at Nadler’s decision.
“Yesterday, Chairman Nadler held a press conference to admit he had only skimmed the report. Now – less than 24 hours after its release with minimal redactions – he’s rushing to subpoena material that he hasn’t even asked the (Justice) department to provide yet,” he said.
And yet, he added, this is something that “by law, can’t be shared outside the Justice Department.”
Collins also complained about the brief length of time established to comply with the subpoena, until May 1, and said it was “wildly overly broad” because “it commands the department to provide Congress with millions of records that would be plainly against the law to share because the vast majority of these documents came as a result of nearly 2,800 subpoenas from a grand jury that is still ongoing.”
The bottom line was that Collins urged Nadler to give the Justice Department sufficient time to respond.
The president, who this Friday is at his Florida resort, Mar-a-Lago, started the day by firing off two tweets blasting the Mueller Report, which he called “fabricated” and “totally untrue.”
“Statements are made about me by certain people in the Crazy Mueller Report, in itself written by 18 Angry Democrat Trump Haters, which are fabricated & totally untrue,” the president said on Twitter.
Trump said he never agreed to testify because “it was not necessary for me to respond to statements made in the ‘Report’ about me, some of which are total bullshit & only given to make the other person look good (or me to look bad). This was an Illegally Started Hoax that never should have happened.”