The House Judiciary Committee approved subpoenas Wednesday for special counsel Robert Mueller's full Russian Federation report as Democrats pressure the Justice Department to release the document without redactions.
Conveniently, hours after The New York Times wrote a thinly sourced article claiming members of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team told "associates" that Attorney General William Barr didn't accurately summarize Mueller's findings, The Washington Post had a similar article, also using anonymous sources.
The Washington Post reported on Thursday that members of Mueller's team prepared summaries for different sections of the report with a view that they could be made public, citing one United States official briefed on the matter.
"We have a pre-emptive chairman who has gone out with pre-emptive subpoenas today on a report that has already been promised him", Collins said. In the case of the Mueller report, however, she says the public is on the side of Democrats.
But the allegations that Barr mishandled the findings of the special counsel investigation may be a "game-changer" for Democrats who want to see the entire report made public.
President Trump stops to talk to members of the media as he walks to Marine One to depart from the South Lawn at the White House last week. In his letter to Congress, Barr said he and his deputy, Rod Rosenstein, had determined there was insufficient evidence to establish the president committed that offense.
Democrats cite as precedent the 1998 release to Congress of the full 445-page report by Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr, which included 17 boxes of documents and followed the investigation of former President Bill Clinton's dealings with the Whitewater land development project while he as governor of Arkansas. Nadler said he will give Barr time to change his mind on redactions, but if they can not reach an agreement, "then we will have no choice" to issue the subpoenas.
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Federal prosecutors charged Zhang with making false statements to federal agents and illegally entering a restricted area. In a court filing on Tuesday, a public defender representing Zhang said she was invoking her right to remain silent.
The special counsel's office also never asked Barr to release the summaries, the Times reported. Two days later, Barr gave Congress his summary of what he called the "principal conclusions".
In light of the NYT/WaPo reports, then, it seems more likely than ever Mueller has evidence that complicates both parts of the investigation. "Across the East River, in Brooklyn, the Eastern District of NY is reportedly looking at Trump's inaugural committee".
Barr himself has faced significant criticism for his abstract on the report, as well as his actions related to the special counsel prior to his appointment as attorney general.
In the wake of the limited information released by Barr, Trump declared that the Mueller report provided him with "complete and total exoneration".
Those interviewed by the Times declined to fully explain why the Mueller investigators believe their findings were more damaging to Trump than Barr disclosed.
In his opening statement, Nadler said that he won't issue the report right away, but will instead give Barr a chance to "change his mind" about whether to send a redacted or unredacted report to Congress.
Barr told congressional leaders last week that he plans to release what he can of the report and that he expects his department "will be in a position to release the report by mid-April, if not sooner".