Democrats call for Mueller report to be made public, no ‘sneak preview’
|globalnews.ca 22 Mar 2019 at 17:00|
Democrats have called for Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s final report on the Russia investigation to be made public and for no “sneak preview” to be made, while U.S. President Donald Trump’s legal team has asked for an early look at the report that was submitted Friday.
“Now that Special Counsel Mueller has submitted his report to the Attorney General, it is imperative for Mr. (William) Barr to make the full report public and provide its underlying documentation and findings to Congress,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said in a joint statement. “Attorney General Barr must not give President Trump, his lawyers or his staff any ‘sneak preview’ of Special Counsel Mueller’s findings or evidence, and the White House must not be allowed to interfere in decisions about what parts of those findings or evidence are made public.”
The call against a “sneak preview” comes at the same time that Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani said that the president’s legal team wants an early look at the findings before they are made public.
Giuliani said he hasn’t received any assurances that they’ll get an early look, though.
On Thursday, the Democrat-controlled U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to approve a non-binding resolution to make Mueller’s report public.
Schumer said to the press Friday that Trump himself had called for the report to be made public “without qualification,” and that public pressure will force the report to be made public.
Schumer said he won’t draw any conclusions until he sees the whole report and its underlying documentation.
Mueller delivered his final report to Barr Friday afternoon, but no details of the report have been released.
The submission of the report marks the end of a lengthy investigation into whether Trump’s presidential campaign colluded with Russia to sway the 2016 election in favour of Trump, and whether Trump obstructed the probe in any way.
Barr said he will be reviewing the report and could release details as early as this weekend.
A senior Justice Department official told reporters Friday that the conclusions of the report will be made public when they are delivered to Congress.
An anonymous source within the Justice Department said that no further indictments will be made.
The White House responded to the news of the report’s delivery, saying that the next steps are “up to Attorney General Barr.”
“We look forward to the process taking its course,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement. “The White House has not received or been briefed on the Special Counsel’s report.”
The next steps are up to Attorney General Barr, and we look forward to the process taking its course. The White House has not received or been briefed on the Special Counsel’s report.
House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff said his panel will issue subpoenas if the report and its underlying evidence are not released to Congress for further review.
He said on CNN that he is willing to subpoena Mueller as well as Barr, if needed, to push for disclosure.
The Democratic chairs of six House committees have also demanded the Justice Department release the report “without delay.”
They said that since the Justice Department asserts that a sitting president can’t be indicted, if Barr fails to release evidence of criminal or other misconduct by Trump, it would “raise serious questions about whether the Department of Justice policy is being used as a pretext for a coverup of misconduct.”
The six chairs are Jerrold Nadler of Judiciary and Eliot Engel of Foreign Affairs; Elijah Cummings of Oversight and Reform; Adam Schiff of the Intelligence Committee, Maxine Waters of Financial Services and the Ways and Means Committee’s Richard Neal.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham said he expects that he and the panel’s top Democrat, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, will be briefed “in the coming days” about the report.
The South Carolina Republican also said that Barr “will pursue as much transparency as possible,” and that he felt it was important for Mueller to do his job “without interference, and that has been accomplished.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he welcomes the news that the investigation has been completed.
He said that he and other Republicans have long believed that Russia poses a significant threat to American interests, and that he hopes the report will “help inform and improve our efforts to protect our democracy.”
He said he hopes that Barr will “provide as much information as possible” on the findings and “with as much openness and transparency as possible.”
Georgia Rep. Doug Collins, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, said he expects the Justice Department will release the report to the committee to “the maximum extent permitted by law.”
Top Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa said the findings must be made public to end the “speculation and innuendo” that hangs over the Trump administration, and that while it is clear that Russians “tried to meddle in our democratic processes,” he hasn’t seen any evidence of collusion.