House panel subpoenas full Mueller report, nationwide protests planned Thursday
Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y. | J. Scott Applewhite/AP

WASHINGTON—By a party-line 24-17 vote, the Democratic-run House Judiciary Committee formally subpoenaed Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s full, uncut report on Russian manipulation of the 2016 presidential election in favor of GOP nominee Donald Trump and Trump’s potential obstruction of justice.

“This committee requires the full report and the underlying materials because it is our job, not the Attorney General’s, to determine whether or not President Trump has abused his office,” committee chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., said.

The panel also subpoenaed Mueller’s backup material on Trump campaign contacts with the Russians, obstruction of justice and other issues Mueller probed. And it OKd subpoenas to five former top Trump aides, their materials, and anyone they shared data with, such as their lawyers.

The panel’s majority made it clear they are not satisfied with the 4-page summary letter from Trump’s attorney general, William Barr, saying there was not enough evidence to indict Trump on collusion with the Russians or on obstruction of justice – but not exonerating him either.

“No one is above the law,” warned Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I.

The lawmakers aren’t the only ones demanding release of the full Mueller report. MoveOn, CAPAction and other organizations, grouped under #TrumpIsNotAboveTheLaw, plan 289 marches nationwide on April 4 at 5 pm local time demanding release of the full Mueller report.

The Chicago march, at Federal Plaza at 5 pm, attracted 7,377 participants as of 10:30 am March 3, the minute the committee roll call finished. Marches will also be held in Glencoe, Arlington Heights, Highland Park, Aurora, and Crystal Lake. The national total includes a protest in front of the White House. A march in Los Angeles had already attracted more than 5,000 people.

“The American people deserve—and demand—to see Mueller’s full findings. If Attorney General Barr won’t #ReleaseTheReport, Americans across the country are taking to the streets. Sign up for a protest near you this THURSDAY, APRIL 4,” the march organizers tweeted.

“The need for the House to make a judgment on the basis of all the available information is as compelling as any,” said Nadler, harkening back to a Justice Department decision in the days of Watergate.  The main subpoenas are going to the Justice Department and to Barr, its chief, who oversaw Mueller’s probe.

“We have the same constitutional rights as the committee did in those days,” Nadler said, referring to both Watergate and to Special Prosecutor Kenneth Starr’s report – with all accompanying materials and no redactions – that led to the GOP impeachment of Democratic President Bill Clinton just over 20 years ago.

“We have the same constitutional duty as the committee did in those days,” Nadler added.

“This subpoena gives the committee the power to compel” the documents it needs, he said.

“We want these materials to fulfill our constitutional obligations. Period.”

Barr, a Trump appointee, previously said he would release all he could to Congress, but only after editing out grand jury testimony and data that could jeopardize intelligence agencies’ “sources and methods.”

The full material is needed “especially in an instance where the Justice Department does not hold the president accountable because it says the president cannot be indicted,” Nadler noted.

And Barr “attempted to swat away the idea of Russian coordination” with Trump, added Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas.

The committee, Nadler said, “will go to court but will need the subpoena to do so. We asked the attorney general to go to court” for the full Mueller report “but he has so far refused” to do so.”

By contrast, except for former committee chairman Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., the Republicans drank the Trump Kool-Aid. And even Sensenbrenner still said the subpoenas were unnecessary since Barr has promised to release the Mueller report. Barr, however, will edit it.

The other Republicans spent their time accusing the Democrats of hypocrisy and trying to derail the subpoenas, which are also going to five present and former top Trump aides. The GOP wanted to exclude all grand jury testimony from the report Barr sends.

“Democrats are asking Attorney General Barr to violate the law – to disclose” confidential “grand jury material without a court order,” charged Rep. Debbie Lesko, R-Ariz. Their amendment to do so lost on a party-line vote.

And when one Republican claimed Barr “accurately described the Mueller report,” Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., shot back “I want to find out.”

One nasty Republican, Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, heatedly repeated right-wing talking points of “collusion between top FBI officials, Justice Department officials, a former (British) MI6 official to bring down a candidate who is now a sitting president,” Trump. Another, Matt Gaetz, R-Fla.,  virtually accused the entire Democratic Party of being liars, or worse, about Trump.


CONTRIBUTOR

Mark Gruenberg
Mark Gruenberg

Mark Gruenberg is head of the Washington, D.C., bureau of People's World. He is also the editor of Press Associates Inc. (PAI), a union news service in Washington, D.C. that he has headed since 1999. Previously, he worked as Washington correspondent for the Ottaway News Service, as Port Jervis bureau chief for the Middletown, NY Times Herald Record, and as a researcher and writer for Congressional Quarterly. Mark obtained his BA in public policy from the University of Chicago and worked as the University of Chicago correspondent for the Chicago Daily News.

Comments

comments

MOST POPULAR