House Democrats will fight back if the Justice Department refuses to make public special counsel Robert Mueller’s highly anticipated Russia report, House intelligence committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said Sunday.
“We will obviously subpoena the report,” Schiff said during an interview with ABC’s “This Week.” “We will bring Bob Mueller in to testify before Congress. We will take it to court if necessary.”
But Schiff said he hopes Trump-appointed Attorney General William Barr’s handling of the forthcoming report will not force Democrats to take such action.
“In the end, I think the [Justice Department] understands they’re going to have to make this public,” Schiff said. “I think Barr will ultimately understand that as well. ... If he were to try to withhold ― to try to bury any part of this report ― that will be his legacy, and it will be a tarnished legacy.”
The Senate confirmed Barr as attorney general on Feb. 14. He succeeded Jeff Sessions in the role, whom Trump fired in November over his handling of the Mueller probe and temporarily replaced with Matthew Whitaker, a loyal supporter of the president.
Prior to his confirmation, Barr spoke out against Mueller’s investigation, stating that the special counsel should not view Trump’s firing of then-FBI Director James Comey as an obstruction of justice.
Barr claimed during his confirmation hearing that he would not let political interference affect the Justice Department’s work, but he has not committed to making Mueller’s findings public, to the ire of many Democrats.
The Justice Department said Friday that Mueller isn’t expected to submit his report on Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether Trump obstructed justice next week, quashing rumors that the probe was finally coming to an end.
Trump has long called the probe, which Mueller took over after Comey’s firing in May 2017, a “witch hunt,” despite the indictments of dozens of Russian officials and former Trump associates as a result of it.
Schiff on Sunday described details the House intelligence committee has learned about Trump’s efforts to secure a Trump Tower Moscow deal during the 2016 campaign as “chilling.”
“As Donald Trump was campaigning for president, even when he became the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party and was telling the country he had no business dealings with Russia, he was privately through his organization seeking the Kremlin’s help to make what may have been the most lucrative deal of his life,” Schiff said.