House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., on Thursday urged Attorney General William Barr to “immediately” publicly release any summaries within special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia report.
Nadler, whose committee voted a day earlier to authorize a subpoena for an unredacted copy of the confidential report, based his latest request on “troubling” reports that Mueller’s team had prepared summaries of their findings from the nearly two-year Russia probe.
Those reported summaries were not used by Barr in his initial letters to lawmakers sharing information about the report — a decision that has frustrated some members of the special counsel’s team, who believe Barr may have inadequately described Mueller’s findings, according to NBC News.
“I write to you regarding troubling press reports relating to your handling of Special Counsel Mueller’s report, and to urge that you immediately release to the public any ‘summaries’ contained in the report that may have been prepared by the Special Counsel,” Nadler told Barr in a letter, revealed Thursday afternoon.
Nadler also asked for “all communications between the special counsel’s office and the Department [of Justice] regarding the report.”
Democrats have questioned, and sometimes criticized, Barr’s decision to prepare his own four-page summary of the principal conclusions from Mueller’s nearly 400-page report, less than two days after that report had been delivered to the Justice Department on March 22.
The report ended the special counsel’s 22-month probe of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, as well as possible collusion between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign and possible obstruction of justice by President Donald Trump himself.
Barr’s brief version said that Mueller did not find sufficient evidence to merit a charge of obstruction of justice against the president. Barr also said that the special counsel did not establish collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Trump and his supporters have celebrated the findings as interpreted by Barr, claiming vindication after more than a year of the president lambasting the probe a “witch hunt.”
Trump tore into the Times’ report in a Thursday morning tweet, claiming without evidence that the newspaper used “no legitimate sources, which would be totally illegal, concerning the Mueller Report.”
@realDonaldTrump: The New York Times had no legitimate sources, which would be totally illegal, concerning the Mueller Report. In fact, they probably had no sources at all! They are a Fake News paper who have already been forced to apologize for their incorrect and very bad reporting on me!
A Justice Department spokeswoman said in a statement: “Given the extraordinary public interest in the matter, the Attorney General decided to release the report’s bottom-line findings and his conclusions immediately — without attempting to summarize the report — with the understanding that the report itself would be released after the redaction process.”
Republicans have slammed as “political theater” the Democrats’ vote to authorize a subpoena for the “full and complete” Mueller report and its underlying evidence.
But Nadler said in his letter that “Congress is entitled to the entire record” without redactions.
“But we have a common obligation to share as much of that record with the public as we can,” Nadler continued. “Additionally, if the Special Counsel’s summaries fit the summary you provided on March 24, that would alleviate substantial concerns that the House Judiciary Committee may wish to discuss when you appear to testify. If there is significant daylight between his account and yours, the American people should know that too.”