House Democrats soften demand for Mueller report

Cheryl Sanders
May 4, 2019

The exchange came shortly after House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerrold Nadler threatened to hold Mr Barr in contempt of Congress if he did not provide a full, unredacted copy of Mr Mueller's findings. Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec called Pelosi's accusation "reckless, irresponsible and false".

"After the Attorney General received Special Counsel Mueller's letter, he called him to discuss it", a Justice Department spokesperson said in a statement to the Post.

The Mueller report, which Democrats say as vital to congressional probes of Trump, details extensive contacts between his 2016 campaign and Moscow and the campaign's expectation that it would benefit from Russian hacking and propaganda. The report also detailed a series of actions Trump took to try to impede the investigation.

Barr on April 18 released a redacted version of the Mueller report. Nadler subpoenaed the entire document a day later. Wednesday morning, Wallace appeared on Fox News and said the letter created a problem for Barr, whose choice to keep it secret left some feeling as if he'd "misled the country on the essential contents of the report".

Republicans in Congress have also dismissed Nadler's efforts as political theater meant to satisfy a progressive voter base that helped give Democrats control of the House of Representatives in last year's midterm election.

Nadler's letter capped a week of escalating confrontation between Barr and Democrats in the House and Senate.

Shortly after Barr refused to appear before the House Judiciary Committee, Pelosi accused him of lying to lawmakers about interactions with Mueller after the special counsel ended a 22-month investigation into Russia's efforts to interfere in the 2016 USA election to boost Trump's candidacy.

Democrats have assailed Barr's handling of the Mueller report and questioned the truthfulness of his statements to Congress. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday said she believed Barr had lied about his communications with Mueller in testimony last month, and that was a "crime".

The letter, sent to Barr on Friday, states "the Committee remains willing to negotiate a reasonable accommodation with the Department" and suggested that the department "prioritize a specific, defined set of underlying investigative and evidentiary materials for immediate production".

The House Judiciary chairman offered some leeway on the subpoena's demands on Friday.

He also asked the department to work with Congress to seek a court order for secret grand jury materials, a request Barr has previously denied.

The two developments ensured that Barr, Mueller and his report will remain in sharp focus next week in Washington, where Congress and Trump are on a collision course over investigations being led by Nadler and other committee leaders.

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