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House Committee Chairs Take Next Step for Release of Full Mueller Report & Underlying Evidence

Apr 2, 2019
House Judiciary Committee to Address Subpoena Authorization on April 3

Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, the chairs of six committees in the U.S. House of Representatives wrote to U.S. Attorney General William Barr moving forward on their demand that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report be made available to Congress together with the underlying evidence.  The letter was signed by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, Committee on Oversight and Reform Chairman Elijah E. Cummings, Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Adam B. Schiff, Committee on Financial Services Chairwoman Maxine Waters, Committee on Ways and Means Chairman Richard E. Neal and Committee on Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot L. Engel.

"On Wednesday, April 3, 2019, the House Judiciary Committee plans to begin the process of authorizing subpoenas for the report and underlying evidence and materials.  While we hope to avoid resort to compulsory process, if the Department is unwilling to produce the report to Congress in unredacted form, then we will have little choice but to take such action," the Members wrote to Attorney General Barr. "The allegations at the center of Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation strike at the core of our democracy.  Congress urgently needs his full, unredacted report and its underlying evidence in order to fulfill its constitutional role, including its legislative, appropriations, and oversight responsibilities.  Congress can and has historically been provided with sensitive, unredacted, and classified material that cannot be provided to the general public.  In addition, the American people deserve to be fully informed about these issues of extraordinary public interest, and therefore need to see the report and findings in Special Counsel Mueller’s own words to the fullest extent possible."

Full text of the letter can be found below, and a PDF of the letter and accompanying analysis can be found here:            

April 1, 2019

The Honorable William P. Barr
Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20530

Dear Attorney General Barr:

On March 25, 2019, we sent you a letter requesting that you produce to Congress the full report of Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III and its underlying evidence by Tuesday, April 2, 2019.  “To the extent you believe the applicable law limits your ability” to produce the entire report, we urged that you “begin the process of consultation with us immediately” to resolve those issues without delay.[1]  On Wednesday, April 3, 2019, the House Judiciary Committee plans to begin the process of authorizing subpoenas for the report and underlying evidence and materials.  While we hope to avoid resort to compulsory process, if the Department is unwilling to produce the report to Congress in unredacted form, then we will have little choice but to take such action.

As Chairman Nadler explained in his phone conversation with you on March 27, Congress requires a complete and unedited copy of the Special Counsel’s report, as well as access to the evidence and materials underlying that report.  During your confirmation hearing in January, you stated that your “goal will be to provide as much transparency as I can consistent with the law.”  As such, if the Department believes it is unable to produce any of these materials in full due to rules governing grand jury secrecy, it should seek leave from the district court to produce those materials to Congress—as it has done in analogous situations in the past.  To the extent you believe any other types of redactions are necessary, we again urge you to engage in an immediate consultation to address and alleviate any concerns you have about providing that information to Congress.[2]

We also reiterate our request that you appear before the Judiciary Committee as soon as possible—not in a month, as you have offered, but now, so that you can explain your decisions to first provide Congress with your characterization of the Mueller report as opposed to the report itself; to initiate a redaction process that withholds critical information from Congress; and to assume for yourself final authority over matters within Congress’s constitutional purview.  In addition, as Chairman Nadler also requested on his call with you, we ask for your commitment to refrain from interfering with Special Counsel Mueller testifying before the Judiciary Committee—and before any other relevant committees—after the report has been released regarding his investigation and findings.

Congress is, as a matter of law, entitled to each of the categories of information you proposed to redact from the Special Counsel’s report in your March 29 letter.[3]  In the attached appendix we provide a more complete legal analysis of each of the potential redaction categories your letter identified.  We expect the Department will take all necessary steps without further delay—including seeking leave from the court to disclose the limited portions of the report that may involve grand jury materials—in order to satisfy your promise of transparency and to allow Congress to fulfill its own constitutional responsibilities.[4]

Full release of the report to Congress is consistent with both congressional intent and the interests of the American public. On March 14, 2019, by a vote of 420-0, the House unanimously passed H. Con. Res. 24, a resolution calling for “the full release” of the Special Counsel’s report to Congress, as well as the public release of the Special Counsel’s report except to the extent the disclosure of “any portion thereof is expressly prohibited by law.”  The American people have also consistently and overwhelmingly supported release of the full report.  The President himself has likewise called for its release in full.

The allegations at the center of Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation strike at the core of our democracy.  Congress urgently needs his full, unredacted report and its underlying evidence in order to fulfill its constitutional role, including its legislative, appropriations, and oversight responsibilities.  Congress can and has historically been provided with sensitive, unredacted, and classified material that cannot be provided to the general public.  In addition, the American people deserve to be fully informed about these issues of extraordinary public interest, and therefore need to see the report and findings in Special Counsel Mueller’s own words to the fullest extent possible. 

For all these reasons, we hope you will produce to Congress an unredacted report and underlying materials to avoid the need for compulsory process.   

Sincerely,

__________________________________

Jerrold Nadler
Chairman
House Committee on the Judiciary

__________________________________

Maxine Waters
Chairwoman
House Committee on Financial Services

__________________________________

Elijah E. Cummings
Chairman
House Committee on Oversight and Reform

__________________________________

Richard E. Neal
Chairman
House Committee on Ways and Means

_________________________________

Adam Schiff
Chairman
House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

______________________________

Eliot L. Engel
Chairman
House Committee on Foreign Affairs


[1] Letter from Chairpersons Jerrold Nadler, H Comm. on the Judiciary, Elijah Cummings H. Comm. on Oversight & Reform, Adam Schiff, H. Perm. Select. Comm. on Intelligence, Maxine Waters, H. Comm. on Fin. Servs., Richard Neal, House Comm. on Ways & Means, and Eliot Engel, H. Comm. on Foreign Affairs, to Att’y Gen. William P. Barr (Mar. 25, 2019).  See also Letter from Chairpersons Jerrold Nadler, H Comm. on the Judiciary, Elijah Cummings H. Comm. on Oversight & Reform, Adam Schiff, H. Perm. Select. Comm. on Intelligence, Maxine Waters, H. Comm. on Fin. Servs., Richard Neal, House Comm. on Ways & Means, and Eliot Engel, H. Comm. on Foreign Affairs, to Att’y Gen. William P. Barr, informing him of their expectation that he will make Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report public “without delay and to the maximum extent permitted by law” (Feb. 22, 2019).
[2] Congress is authorized by law and equipped to receive and examine the U.S. government’s most sensitive materials and information.  The Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have long provided to relevant congressional committees sensitive law enforcement and investigatory information and records in complete and unredacted form, including those involving classified information, that are not provided to the general public.
[3] Letter from Att’y Gen. William P. Barr to Chairman Lindsey Graham, S. Comm. on the Judiciary, and Chairman Jerrold Nadler, H. Comm. on the Judiciary (Mar. 29, 2019).
[4] At a minimum, the Department should produce a detailed log of each redaction and the reasons supporting it in order to facilitate the accommodation process and to provide sufficient clarity for Congress to evaluate the Department’s claims.

116th Congress