Paves way for legal battle with Trump administration…
(Chris Sommerfeldt, New York Daily News) The House Judiciary Committee authorized subpoenas Wednesday for special counsel Robert Mueller’s full report and all underlying evidence from his investigation into Russia’s attack on the 2016 election, paving way for a contentious court battle with the Trump administration.
The Democratically-controlled committee, chaired by New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler, predictably approved the subpoenas in a 24-17 party line vote.
The vote doesn’t automatically trigger the subpoenas, but gives Nadler permission to issue them.
Before the vote, Nadler said he’ll give Attorney General William Barr one final chance to “change his mind” on releasing the full, un-redacted report.
“But if we cannot reach an accommodation, then we will have no choice but to issue subpoenas for these materials,” Nadler said.
The subpoena authorization came one day after the deadline Democrats set for Barr to release Mueller’s full account.
Barr refused to commit to the deadline, saying he by law has to redact some parts of Mueller’s nearly 400-page-long report, including grand jury materials and information that could compromise national security operations.
The attorney general, who was nominated by President Donald Trump last year, has said he hopes to release a redacted version by mid-April.
But, instead of spending his time on redactions, Democrats contend Barr could seek court orders to release the complete report, like prosecutors did in the Watergate and Whitewater investigations.
“Congress is entitled to all of the evidence,” Nadler said in an opening statement to the committee.
“The Department of Justice says the proposal is a means to protect sensitive information that would not ordinarily be made part of the record. But we have reason to suspect this Administration’s motives. The Mueller report probably isn’t the ‘total exoneration’ the President claims it to be.”
Republican opposed the effort, calling it a partisan fishing expedition.
“Right now, there’s hope against hope that we’re going to find something,” said Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), the committee’s ranking member. “But you know we aren’t going to find anything.”
It’s likely the administration will attempt to challenge judiciary committee subpoenas in court. Nadler could request that a federal judge force the administration to comply — a fight that would likely reach the Supreme Court since both sides would be hard pressed to not appeal any unfavorable decision.
Less than 48 hours after receiving Mueller’s full report last month, Barr released a four-page summary clearing Trump and his administration of conspiring in the Kremlin’s interference in the 2016 election.
Barr also cleared Trump of obstruction, as did Mueller.
The attorney general’s rapid decision-making prompted outrage from Democrats, who have demanded complete transparency on Mueller’s findings so they can draw their own conclusions.
©2019 New York Daily News. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. Liberty Headlines editor Paul Chesser contributed.