House Democrats are sick of waiting for Attorney General William Barr to get around to releasing the final report from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. Barr released a four-page summary of the reportedly more than 300 page report this past Sunday, but they emphatically deny that’s enough.
At a press conference this Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) insisted:
‘I have said and I’ll say again — No thank you, Mr. Attorney General. We do not need your interpretation. Show us the report and we can draw our own conclusions. We don’t need you interpreting for us. It was condescending, it was arrogant, and it wasn’t the right thing to do. The sooner they can give us the information, the sooner we can all make a judgment about it.’
Barr has indicated the report will be available within “weeks, not months,” after it goes through a process of review for any information protected by federal law and a reported chance for the Trump administration to claim executive privilege over portions of the document. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said he didn’t think the president’s team would seek to lord over the report with that privilege — but it’s unclear whether they’d even seen it at the time Graham spoke with Trump about the issue. To say the president has elsewhere established his opposition to the probe as a whole would be an understatement.
House Democrats have proven undeterred, however. Half a dozen committee chairs set an April 2 deadline for Barr to hand over the report, although there’s no indication he’ll abide by that. Figures like the intel panel’s Adam Schiff and Jerry Nadler of the Judiciary Committee have indicated they’re keen on plans as intense as having Mueller himself in for testimony if Barr isn’t forthcoming.
It’s worth noting that there’s little precedent for Mueller’s report getting the treatment it’s had. When independent counsel Ken Starr finished his inquiry into Bill Clinton, his report got released directly to the U.S. House, which then voted to put the entire document online. The legislation that provided for that transference expired the following year and was not renewed.
Still, Pelosi and her colleagues are not backing down, representing the majority of the American people recent polling indicates want the report to be public.
She has explicitly shunned the possibility of getting a classified briefing on the report along with other Congressional leaders, demanding more transparency. At another point in her Thursday press conference, asked whether she thought Democrats should pivot away from investigating Trump’s foreign ties in light of Mueller’s reported conclusion that there was no criminally prosecutable Trump/Russia conspiracy, she exclaimed:
‘How can I say this more clearly: show us the report… and we do not need an Attorney General whose job interview was that the president is above the law… to be our interpreter of something that he should just show us.’
She mocked the fact that the Justice Department has decided to again take the Affordable Care Act to court while the Mueller report languishes in the background.
As she indicated, before even being nominated for his present position, Barr asserted Mueller’s probe into possible presidential obstruction of justice was rubbish. In his summary letter, after Mueller left the question open, he made the same assertion, drawing his take on the report into even more suspicion.
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