House Democrats want to hold the Justice Department and Attorney General William Barr to a stated deadline of Tuesday for releasing special counsel Robert Mueller’s full report, despite Barr’s intentions to deliver the nearly 400-page report in the coming weeks.
“That deadline still stands,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., said in a statement last week.
In his letter to Nadler and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham on Friday, Barr said the report would be made available by mid-April, “if not sooner,” after redactions were made.
Specifically, Barr said details from grand jury testimony, classified information and details that could compromise ongoing investigations or “unduly infringe on the personal privacy … of peripheral third parties” would be removed.
Democrats have taken issue with the possibility of extensive redactions and could begin the process to demand the full report with a subpoena later this week in the House Judiciary Committee, Democratic staffers told ABC News.
“We have a new species of political dinosaur. It’s called the ‘Barr-Redactyl,'” Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said in an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday. “William Barr believes that he can take his time and redact the 300- or 400-page report from Bob Mueller. I think it’s long overdue for him to apply to Court to get a waiver when it comes to grand jury information and then to produce this report in its entirety for the Congress.”
In his letter responding to Barr on Friday, Nadler called on the attorney general to work with Congress to obtain a court order to release grand jury information to the House Judiciary Committee. Democrats could seek such an order on their own, if Barr declines to join them in a request.
In an interview with ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl on “This Week,” acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney deferred to Barr on the report’s release.
Barr, in his letter to lawmakers Friday, said he had “no plans” to submit the report to the White House for any type of review that would allow the president to claim executive privilege over elements within.
“If Mr. Barr wants to show it to Congress first, he’s going to do that. If he’s going to redact part of it, he is going to do that. If he’s not, he’s going to do that. This is how the system is supposed to work,” Mulvaney told ABC News. “And we’re very happy to let the system play out the way the law intended.”
We have a new species of political dinosaur. It’s called the ‘Barr-Redactyl.’
Senior House Democratic staffers expressed frustration with Barr’s handling of the process last week.
“If he does not include grand jury information in the summary or report or redacted report or whatever he gives to Congress — that amounts to a cover-up,” one Democratic staffer said.
They said the underlying materials, including anything from the counterintelligence side of the investigation, are necessary for congressional committees to continue oversight work and identify potential legislative “gaps” Congress should fill.
There’s also the possibility that Mueller may have uncovered information relevant to ongoing congressional investigations that fall outside the special counsel’s mandate.
If Barr doesn’t turn over the report by next week “we’ll have more to say on April 3rd,” another staffer said.