Congress subpoenas full Mueller report, escalating battle with Trump’s Justice Department

Chris Riotta

House Democrats issued a subpoena Friday for Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report into Russian election interference, a day after Attorney General William Barr released a redacted version of the nearly 450-page document.

The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee said in a statement he expects the Justice Department to comply by 1 May.

“It now falls to Congress to determine the full scope of that alleged misconduct and to decide what steps we must take going forward,” he said.

The subpoena has escalated a confrontation resulting between Congress and the Justice Department in the wake of the explosive report. Mr Barr, an appointee of Donald Trump, has been criticised for his handling of the report after the special counsel concluded its investigation, including his decision to hold a press conference defending the president hours before it was released to the public.

While the special counsel declined to prosecute Mr Trump on obstruction of justice, he did not exonerate the president, all but leaving the question to Congress.

Mr Mueller’s report provides fresh evidence of the president’s interference in the Russia investigation and challenges lawmakers to respond. The risks for both parties are clear if they duck the responsibility or prolong an inquiry that, rather than coming to a close, may be just beginning.

“My committee needs and is entitled to the full version of the report and the underlying evidence consistent with past practice,” Mr Nadler said in the statement.

But the committee’s top Republican, Doug Collins of Georgia, said the subpoena was “wildly overbroad” and that Mr Trump already declined to assert executive privilege in a move of “unprecedented openness.”

Mr Collins said Nadler was rushing the process for political gain.

“This is politically convenient,” Mr Collins said, allowing the chairman “to grandstand and rail against the attorney general for not cooperating on an impossible timeline.”

The attorney general sent Congress a redacted version of the report, blacking out several types of material, including classified information, material pertaining to ongoing investigations and grand jury evidence.

Mr Nadler said he is open to working with the department “to reach a reasonable accommodation for access to these materials, however I cannot accept any proposal which leaves most of Congress in the dark, as they grapple with their duties of legislation, oversight and constitutional accountability.”

The materials are due the day Mr Barr is scheduled to testify before a Senate committee and one day before the attorney general is set to appear before Mr Nadler’s committee. The chairmen also has summoned Mr Mueller to testify.

The Associated Press contributed to this report