WASHINGTON – As speculation continues to mount over when special counsel Robert Mueller will finish his investigation, Democrats are planning a course of action if the findings of the probe aren't made public.
It's been nearly three years since federal investigators started investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election and potential collusion by Donald Trump's campaign. And after filing charges against about three dozen people, things appear to be close to wrapping up.
But Democrats have grown increasingly skeptical over whether the results of the investigation will be made public and are ramping up a plan to make sure the public will see the results.
Rep. Adam Schiff, who heads the House Intelligence Committee, told ABC News on Sunday that he and other Democrats have a host of plans to fight for a full disclosure of the report.
"Well, we will obviously subpoena the report, we will bring Bob Mueller in to testify before Congress, we will take it to court if necessary," the California Democrat told host George Stephanopoulos. "In the end, I think the department understands that they're going to have to make this public."
Schiff said he and other Democrats would push not just to release Mueller's report, which would be filed confidentially to the attorney general, and explain his office's rationale on whether or not to prosecute individuals. But lawmakers would also seek to make public the "underlying evidence" attached to the investigation.
That evidence would include information compiled throughout the probe that didn't necessarily lead to criminal charges that could be proved in a court of law.
"We can't tell the country fully what happened without it," Schiff said.
Stephanopoulos pointed out that under Justice Department policy, the department normally does not release information in its investigations that don't lead to criminal charges.
But Schiff argued the department set a new "precedent" with commenting and releasing a slew of records in the Hillary Clinton email investigation.
"This was a new precedent that they were setting and they were going to have to live by this precedent whether it was a Congress controlled by the Democrats or Republicans, so they're going to have to abide by that," Schiff said.
Last month, then-acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker said the inquiry was “close to being completed." It was the first time anyone familiar with its inner workings had offered even a hint in public of its likely trajectory. He did not elaborate.
New Attorney General William Barr told senators during his confirmation hearings that he would make public as much as possible about Mueller's report. Several Democratic senators questioned why the entire report – other than confidential investigative material – wouldn’t be made public.
Meanwhile, Trump’s legal team has been bracing for the delivery of the report. Lead attorney Rudy Giuliani told USA TODAY on Thursday that "we expect something in the next two weeks."
Giuliani told USA TODAY that it's been “weeks” since Mueller’s team has contacted the president’s attorneys, and there has been no further discussion about obtaining additional testimony from the president for about a month.
He said the extended period of “silence” has the president’s lawyers preparing for Mueller’s required notification to Barr that the special counsel’s work has been completed.
On whether the report should be made public, President Trump said the decision was "totally up to" Barr.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Rep. Adam Schiff: Democrats could sue if Robert Mueller's Russia report isn't made public