Democrats in Congress are gearing up for a fight to ensure that special counsel Robert Mueller’s findings are made public, calling for the release of the full report.
On Friday, Mueller submitted his report to Attorney General William Barr, who now has to determine what to do with the conclusions from the 22-month investigation that resulted in charges against 34 people. As a start, he is expected to send lawmakers a summary of the findings as early as Sunday.
Democrats are pushing for transparency on the report, pressuring Barr to release as much information as possible.
“Now that Special Counsel Mueller has submitted his report to the Attorney General, it is imperative for Mr. Barr to make the full report public and provide its underlying documentation and findings to Congress,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a joint statement.
Pelosi also held a call with her caucus Saturday afternoon, in which she vowed to oppose any classified briefings for members, according to a person on the call. She said any briefing from the Justice Department must be unclassified so that lawmakers are free to talk publicly about the findings.
Mueller was tasked with looking at whether there was Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. What is known about his report is that it doesn’t recommend any new indictments.
Although the lack of further indictments was a relief to President Donald Trump’s allies, the investigations will continue. Federal and state prosecutors are still pursuing about a dozen probes that largely grew out of Mueller’s work, and Congress continues to look into matters surrounding Trump.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, made the case for his continued inquiry in a statement Friday.
“Pursuant to the Special Counsel regulations, Mueller’s report is likely to focus on his prosecutorial decisions and may not shed necessary light on counterintelligence findings of profound significance to our committee and the nation — whether the President or others around him have been compromised by a foreign power,” Schiff said, adding that by law, “the evidence he has uncovered on all counterintelligence matters must now be shared with the House Intelligence Committee, whether it resulted in indictment or not.”
And there’s a chance that Mueller could find that Trump engaged in unlawful activity ― whether conspiring with Russia or obstructing an investigation into the matter ― but decided not to indict him because of the Justice Department’s view that a sitting president cannot be indicted.
On Friday, the Democratic chairs of the six House committees conducting Mueller-related investigations warned Barr not to conceal any evidence of misconduct by Trump just because it didn’t result in an indictment.
“To be clear, if the Special Counsel has reason to believe that the President has engaged in criminal or other serious misconduct, then the Justice Department has an obligation not to conceal such information,” they wrote. “The President must be subject to accountability and if the Justice Department is unable to do so, then the need to provide Congress with the relevant information is paramount.”
Trump, who has repeatedly called the Mueller probe a “witch hunt,” has so far not tweeted on the news that the investigation is over.