Following a party-line vote in the House Judiciary Committee, Democratic Rep. Jerry Nadler has been authorized to present a subpoena to the Justice Department insisting that Attorney General William Barr provide to Congress a full and complete copy of the report from special counsel Robert Mueller. The vote authorizes Nadler to seek not just the report, but all underlying evidence and grand jury testimony used in helping the special counsel reach the decisions included in the final report.
Every Republican member of the committee voted last month to require that Barr hand over the full report to the committee, as well as a redacted version to the public. However, on Wednesday morning, every one of them voted against taking any action to actually make the report appear.
As the New York Times reports, Nadler has indicated that he will not use the subpoena immediately. Instead, Nadler announced he would give Barr “time to change his mind.” If the attorney general doesn’t hand over the full report and accompanying documents, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee said he would “have no choice but to issue subpoenas for these materials.”
The move to authorize the subpoena, but not use it immediately, followed earlier reports that Democrats were undecided on the most effective course to take in obtaining the report. As the Washington Post reports, some Democrats on the committee were all for issuing a subpoena right away. Others, however, seemed intent on building public support for the release of the report before using the subpoena. Democratic committee member Pramila Jayapal said that the subpoena was one of a “number of pieces that should allow us to get the report quickly and in full.” She also called for “nationwide protests” seeking the release of the Mueller report.
It’s unclear how much time Nadler is willing to give Barr before issuing the subpoenas—and it’s equally unclear that delivering the subpoenas will make a positive difference in obtaining the reports. Public pressure is at least as likely to be an effective means of securing the full report.
Despite earlier statements that he wanted the report released, Donald Trump has been continuing to signal that it should never be released, while claiming the letter authorized by Barr provides him with “total exoneration.”