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Democratic-led US House panel authorizes subpoenas for Mueller report

Published: Updated:

The Democratic-led US House of Representatives Judiciary Committee voted on Wednesday to authorize subpoenas for Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s full, unredacted report and underlying evidence from his investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 election.

The 24-17 vote along party lines - with Democrats in favor and President Donald Trump’s fellow Republicans opposed - authorized the panel’s chairman, Jerrold Nadler, to subpoena Mueller’s material.

The measure also authorized Nadler to subpoena documents and testimony from five former Trump aides, including former political advisor Steve Bannon and former White House Counsel Donald McGahn.

Nadler has not yet said if he’ll send the subpoenas.

House Democrats had given Attorney General William Barr until Tuesday to produce the full report to Congress. The Justice Department ignored that deadline, with Barr telling committee chairmen in a letter last week that a redacted version of the full 300-page report would be released by mid-April, “if not sooner.”

Escalating battle

The vote further escalates the Democrats’ battle with the Justice Department over how much of the report they will be able to see, a fight that could eventually end up in court if the two sides can’t settle their differences through negotiation. Democrats have said they will not accept redactions and want to see the evidence unfiltered by Barr.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and his wife Ann, pass the White House as they walk to their car. (AP)
Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and his wife Ann, pass the White House as they walk to their car. (AP)

In the letter last week, Barr said he is scrubbing the report to avoid disclosing any grand jury information or classified material, in addition to portions of the report that pertain to ongoing investigations or that “would unduly infringe on the personal privacy and reputational interests of peripheral third parties.”

Democrats say they want access to all of that information, even if some of it can’t be disclosed to the public. Nadler said he will give Barr time to change his mind on redactions, but if they cannot reach an agreement, “then we will have no choice” to issue the subpoenas.

“Because we may have to go to court to obtain the complete text of the special counsel’s report, and because the president may attempt to invoke executive privilege to withhold that evidence from us, it is imperative that the committee take possession of these documents, and others, without delay,” Nadler said.

(With Reuters, The Associated Press)