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U.S. House panel subpoenas Trump aides, Mueller probe

05 April 2019

A meeting of the House Judiciary Committee resulted in a party-line 24-17 vote to authorize a subpoena of special counsel Robert Mueller's report of his investigation and all the underlying evidence from Attorney General William Barr.

The committee voted 24-17 along party lines to give judiciary committee chairman Jerrold Nadler, the Democratic congressman from NY, permission to issue subpoenas to the justice department for the final report, its exhibits and any underlying evidence or materials prepared for Mueller's investigation.

Attorney General William Barr released a summary of that report last month that said Mueller didn't establish that Trump or anyone associated with his campaign conspired or coordinated with Russian Federation. The Times reports that special counsel members believe that Barr should have included more detail in the four-page summary, which announced that Mueller did not find that Trump had colluded with Russian Federation in the 2016 election, although he explicitly did not exonerate Trump. Some members said the evidence against Mr. Trump was stronger than Mr. Barr suggested in his letter to Congress.

"The letter from the attorney general referencing the special counsel's report said no new indictments, no sealed indictments, no collusion and did not find obstruction", said Representative Jim Jordan, an Ohio Republican. Barr himself subsequently concluded that Mueller's inquiry had not found sufficient evidence to warrant criminal obstruction charges against Trump. "It's also confusing since the attorney general is doing exactly what he said he would be doing: making as much of the report public as possible under federal law and departmental policy".

Department of Justice guidelines prohibit the indictment of a sitting president, but Schmidt said he hasn't learned enough about Mueller's findings to say whether investigators believe Trump should have been charged.

Despite Barr's decision to work with the special counsel to review the report and determine which areas contain sensitive material that needs redactions, House Democrats are calling for the full report, sans redactions, to be turned over to Congress for review.

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Democrats have bristled over Barr's outline of things that would be redacted from the report, arguing that they should get everything, just as was the case with the Ken Starr/Bill Clinton report and the Richard Nixon report.

Nadler's panel shifted its focus to subpoenas to obtain the Mueller report when it became clear Barr would ignore a Democratic demand turn it over unredacted by a Tuesday deadline.

I'm less frustrated than Mueller's team that the Barr summary of the legal findings was to President Trump's early political advantage.

Under current regulations, Mueller only had to submit his full report to Barr, which he did on March 22. "Why didn't he release a summary produced by Bob Mueller itself instead of trying to shape it through his own words?"

Nearly every shift in partisan control of Congress after a unified government has been followed by a wave of congressional investigations, and that's especially true in intensely polarized times, says Douglas Kriner, co-author of the book, "Investigating the President: Congressional Checks on Presidential Power" and a government professor at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.

U.S. House panel subpoenas Trump aides, Mueller probe