Although Special Counsel Robert Mueller has submitted the final report summarizing his Russia investigation to the Justice Department, President Donald Trump is far from free from scrutiny. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) has announced that he intends to haul Attorney General William Barr in for questioning in the near future to answer for his determination that Trump isn’t guilty of obstruction of justice, which Mueller’s report specifically did not offer a final determination on.
‘In light of the very concerning discrepancies and final decision making at the Justice Department following the Special Counsel report, where Mueller did not exonerate the President, we will be calling Attorney General Barr in to testify before the House Judiciary Committee in the near future.’
Nadler highlighted those “discrepancies” in other public commentary, noting that Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein seem to have reached the conclusion that Trump should be free from consequences for possible obstruction of justice within two days after Mueller and his team spent a full 22 months investigating.
Mueller’s report specifically states:
‘While this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.’
Barr claimed that the determination to that effect “leaves it to the Attorney General to determine whether the conduct described in the report constitutes a crime,” and he took the least surprising route for a Trump appointee to draw his conclusion.
As Nadler notes, a full accounting of the “underlying evidence” in the case could resolve the discrepancy. Barr said in his Sunday letter to Congress that his team was reviewing what parts of the report were protected by federal law covering grand jury proceedings before releasing more details than the brief, four-page Sunday letter two days after Mueller’s team submitted their confidential report.
There’s not a good history with Trump’s AG picks and Congress — both of the others have lied during testimony, Jeff Sessions about his Russia connection and Matthew Whitaker about whether Trump had ever asked him to personally intervene in investigations on his behalf.
Calling Barr for testimony is far from the only way House Democrats have put forward as part of an effort to obtain that underlying evidence. Nadler told CNN that his committee would be ready and willing to target Mueller’s report with a subpoena if Barr isn’t forthcoming and even take their fight to the Supreme Court, if necessary — although thanks to Trump’s ascent, that body now leans conservative.
Similarly, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) has gone so far as to suggest that he’d be open to bringing Mueller himself in for questioning if his panel can’t get the underlying information the special counsel’s team collected on the issues the Trump team poses. Schiff, Nadler, and House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) have all already established their intent on close oversight of the Trump team through growing lines of wide-ranging inquiry.
Besides the obstruction issue, Schiff is also after material on the president’s connections to Russia, which could pose a continued counterintelligence threat to the United States, although Mueller’s report concludes that no Trump team member conspired or coordinated with Russian agents seeking to tilt the 2016 elections — which, for the record, is a conspicuously different word than “collusion.”
Featured Image via YouTube screenshot