The US House of Representatives has overwhelmingly voted in support of a resolution demanding special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election be made public and provided to Congress upon its completion.
The House resolution is unable to actually force Donald Trump, the White House or the US Justice Department to send Congress materials related to the report that may violate current law or the agency’s rules surrounding official releases of investigatory findings, however.
Still, the vote is seen as a critical demand from the Democrat-controlled House to be able to review the full report from the special counsel’s investigation into whether the president’s campaign wrongfully conspired with Russia to sway the election against Hillary Clinton — an effort the Kremlin was pushing throughout the last general election, according to the US Intelligence Community.
House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerrold Nadler said the vote was meant to “send a clear signal both to the American people and the Department of Justice” that Congress expects a full review of Mr Mueller’s findings.
Not a single politician voted no for the resolution. Four voted “present”, while 420 voted in support.
Both parties have noted an additional resolution will be required upon the completion of Mr Mueller’s report into the 2016 election.
Politicians on either side of the aisle have used the two-year investigation to both discredit and uplift Mr Trump, with Democrats hoping the report proves their assertions the president’s campaign was involved in deceitful activity throughout the election, while Republicans have echoed Mr Trump’s claims of it being a “witch hunt” and distraction.
It is unclear exactly what documentation will be produced at the end of the probe into possible coordination between Mr Trump’s associates and Russia, and how much of that the Justice Department will allow people to see.
Mr Mueller is required to submit a report to attorney general William Barr, who can decide how much of that is released publicly.
Mr Barr said at his confirmation hearing in January that he takes seriously the department regulations that say Mr Mueller’s report should be confidential.
Those regulations require only that the report explain the decisions to pursue or to decline prosecutions, which could be as simple as a bullet point list or as fulsome as a report running hundreds of pages.
“I don’t know what, at the end of the day, what will be releasable. I don’t know what Bob Mueller is writing,” Mr Barr said at the hearing.
The top Republican on the Judiciary panel, Georgia representative Doug Collins, said the vote on the resolution was unnecessary but he would support it anyway.
He said he has no reason to believe Mr Barr would not follow the regulations.
Additional reporting by Associated Press