WASHINGTON (AP) — The House Judiciary Committee approved subpoenas Wednesday for special counsel Robert Mueller’s full Russia report as Democrats pressure the Justice Department to release the document without redactions.
The committee voted 24-17 to give Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., permission to issue subpoenas to the Justice Department for the final report, its exhibits and any underlying evidence or materials prepared for Mueller’s investigation. Nadler has not yet said if he’ll send the subpoenas.
House Democrats had given Attorney General William Barr until Tuesday to produce the full report to Congress. The Justice Department ignored that deadline, with Barr telling committee chairmen in a letter last week that a redacted version of the full 300-page report would be released by mid-April, “if not sooner.”
The vote further escalates the Democrats’ battle with the Justice Department over how much of the report they will be able to see, a fight that could eventually end up in court if the two sides can’t settle their differences through negotiation. Democrats have said they will not accept redactions and want to see the evidence unfiltered by Barr.
In the letter last week, Barr said he is scrubbing the report to avoid disclosing any grand jury information or classified material, in addition to portions of the report that pertain to ongoing investigations or that “would unduly infringe on the personal privacy and reputational interests of peripheral third parties.”
Democrats say they want access to all of that information, even if some of it can’t be disclosed to the public. Nadler said he will give Barr time to change his mind on redactions, but if they cannot reach an agreement, “then we will have no choice” to issue the subpoenas.
“Because we may have to go to court to obtain the complete text of the special counsel’s report, and because the president may attempt to invoke executive privilege to withhold that evidence from us, it is imperative that the committee take possession of these documents, and others, without delay,” Nadler said.