Washington--Today, the chairs of six committees in the U.S. House of Representatives wrote to U.S. Attorney General William Barr to demand that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report be made available to Congress together with the underlying evidence. The letter was signed by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, Committee on Oversight and Reform Chairman Elijah E. Cummings, Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Adam B. Schiff, Committee on Financial Services Chairwoman Maxine Waters, Committee on Ways and Means Chairman Richard E. Neal and Committee on Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot L. Engel.

In their letter, the Members wrote, “Your four-page summary of the Special Counsel’s review is not sufficient for Congress, as a coequal branch of government, to perform [its] critical work. The release of the full report and the underlying evidence and documents is urgently needed by our committees to perform their duties under the Constitution.  Those duties include evaluating the underlying facts and determining whether legislative or other reforms are required—both to ensure that the Justice Department is able to carry out investigations without interference or obstruction by the President and to protect our future elections from foreign interference…We look forward to receiving the report in full no later than April 2, and to begin receiving the underlying evidence and documents that same day.”

On March 14, 2019, the House unanimously passed H. Con. Res. 24, a resolution expressing the sense of the Congress, that when completed, Special Counsel Mueller’s report should be made available to the public and to Congress.

On February 22, 2019, the Members wrote to Attorney General William Barr to inform him of their expectation that he will make Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report public “without delay and to the maximum extent permitted by law.”

The governing Special Counsel regulations were designed to ensure “congressional and public confidence in the integrity of the process.”  Special Counsel Mueller was appointed by the Justice Department “in order for the American people to have full confidence in the outcome” of the investigation. 

Full text of today’s letter is available here and below.

 

March 25, 2019

The Honorable William P. Barr
Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20530

Dear Attorney General Barr:

Your March 24 letter concerning Special Counsel Mueller’s report leaves open many questions concerning the conduct of the President and his closest advisors, as well as that of the Russian government during the 2016 presidential election.  Accordingly, we formally request that you release the Special Counsel’s full report to Congress no later than Tuesday, April 2.  We also ask that you begin transmitting the underlying evidence and materials to the relevant committees at that time.

As you know, on March 14, the full House of Representatives approved H. Con. Res. 24, calling for the release of the Special Counsel’s report by a vote of 420-0.[1]  Each of our committees is currently engaged in oversight activities that go directly to the President’s conduct, his attempts to interfere with federal and congressional investigations, his relationships and communications with the Russian government and other foreign powers, and/or other alleged instances of misconduct. 

Your four-page summary of the Special Counsel’s review is not sufficient for Congress, as a coequal branch of government, to perform this critical work.  The release of the full report and the underlying evidence and documents is urgently needed by our committees to perform their duties under the Constitution.  Those duties include evaluating the underlying facts and determining whether legislative or other reforms are required—both to ensure that the Justice Department is able to carry out investigations without interference or obstruction by the President and to protect our future elections from foreign interference.

First, Congress must be permitted to make an independent assessment of the evidence regarding obstruction of justice.  The determinations you have reached regarding obstruction and the manner in which you chose to characterize the Special Counsel’s investigation only raise further questions, particularly in light of the Special Counsel’s decision to refrain from making “a traditional prosecutorial judgment.”[2]  We also cannot evaluate your determination that “the report identifies no actions” that meet the elements of obstruction in the absence of the report, evidence and other materials.[3]

Second, we have no reason to question that Special Counsel Mueller made a well-considered prosecutorial judgment in two specific and narrow areas—whether the Trump campaign conspired to join Russia’s election-related online disinformation and hacking and dissemination efforts.  But it is vital for national security purposes that Congress be able to evaluate the full body of facts and evidence collected and evaluated by the Special Counsel, including all information gathered of a counterintelligence nature.

The provision of the report—in complete and unredacted form—and the underlying evidence and materials would be fully consistent with the Justice Department’s practice and precedent with Congress, which the Department reinforced in recent years.  With respect to the Hillary Clinton email investigation, the Department and the FBI released more than 880,000 pages of documents, publicly identified career officials involved in the case, and produced volumes of internal deliberative materials, including sensitive investigatory and classified materials.[4]  In response to congressional requests and subpoenas regarding allegations of bias in the Russia investigation, the Department produced to congressional committees thousands of pages of highly sensitive law enforcement and classified investigatory and deliberative records related to that investigation—which remained open and ongoing at the time.  Moreover, the Department produced to congressional committees in full, and then took the unprecedented step of releasing to the public in redacted form, multiple documents related to the surveillance of a United States person under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.[5] 

We look forward to receiving the report in full no later than April 2, and to begin receiving the underlying evidence and documents that same day.[6]  To the extent that you believe applicable law limits your ability to comply, we urge you to begin the process of consultation with us immediately in order to establish shared parameters for resolving those issues without delay.

                                                            Sincerely,

 

_________________________________                               ________________________________

                    Jerrold Nadler                                                                    Elijah E. Cummings     
                       Chairman                                                                             Chairman
     House Committee on the Judiciary                              House Committee on Oversight and Reform

 

________________________________                      ________________________________

                     Adam Schiff                                                                Maxine Waters
                      Chairman                                                                     Chairwoman        
House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence         House Committee on Financial Services

 

________________________________                            ________________________________

                    Richard E. Neal                                                                    Eliot L. Engel
                     Chairman                                                                               Chairman
   House Committee on Ways and Means                                  House Committee on Foreign Affairs