Rep. Jerrold Nadler and the Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee are not at all satisfied with Attorney General Bill Barr’s four-page summary of the 400-page Mueller report. Nor are they satisfied with his pledge to release some heavily redacted version in mid-April. Barr has a Tuesday, April 2, deadline to deliver the report to Congress, and House Democrats are already preparing to issue several key subpoenas related to the Mueller report.
Under the proposal, Nadler would determine when to actually issue the subpoenas, which may depend on the level of cooperation and transparency Democrats get from the Justice Department. Nadler has said he’s “disturbed” by Barr’s reticence to share the full report immediately and has asked him to join the committee in seeking a judge’s approval to release all grand jury information in Mueller’s report.
In addition, Nadler says the committee will also issue subpoenas to former Trump campaign chief executive Steve Bannon, former chief of staff Reince Priebus, former White House counsel Don McGahn, and former communications director Hope Hicks.
House Democrats want the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. It is, after all, the American way.
In an opinion editorial for the New York Times, Rep. Nadler further explained why House Democrats are moving forward with subpoenas.
The entire reason for appointing the special counsel was to protect the investigation from political influence. By offering us his version of events in lieu of the report, the attorney general, a recent political appointee, undermines the work and the integrity of his department. He also denies the public the transparency it deserves. We require the full report — the special counsel’s words, not the attorney general’s summary or a redacted version.
We require the report, first, because Congress, not the attorney general, has a duty under the Constitution to determine whether wrongdoing has occurred. The special counsel declined to make a “traditional prosecutorial judgment” on the question of obstruction, but it is not the attorney general’s job to step in and substitute his judgment for the special counsel’s.
That responsibility falls to Congress — and specifically to the House Judiciary Committee — as it has in every similar investigation in modern history. The attorney general’s recent proposal to redact the special counsel’s report before we receive it is unprecedented. We require the evidence, not whatever remains after the report has been filtered by the president’s political appointee.
Nadler also notes that if Donald Trump’s behavior fell just outside of criminal lines but clearly crossed ethical lines, Congress has a duty to change the law to prevent further abuses.
When the full scope of the president’s misconduct has been revealed, when his lies are debunked and his abuses have been laid bare, I believe that members of Congress on both sides of the aisle will draft legislation to curb the worst of his offenses. Put another way: If President Trump’s behavior wasn’t criminal, then perhaps it should have been.