- The Justice Department agreed at the last minute to begin turning over key evidence related to the former special counsel Robert Mueller’s findings in the obstruction-of-justice case to the House Judiciary Committee.
- The move comes one day before the House was expected to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with a subpoena for the unredacted Mueller report and its underlying evidence.
- “Given our conversations with the Department, I will hold the criminal contempt process in abeyance for now,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler said in a statement.
- But he added that if the DOJ withholds “important information” from the committee, lawmakers will have “no choice but to enforce our subpoena in court and consider other remedies.”
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The Justice Department agreed Monday to begin complying with a congressional subpoena for the unredacted Mueller report and its underlying evidence.
The move came one day before House Democrats were preparing to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress for refusing to meet their demands.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler’s office said in a statement that the DOJ will begin turning over key evidence related to the former special counsel Robert Mueller’s obstruction-of-justice case to the committee on Monday. The documents will be made available to all members of the judiciary committee.
“These documents will allow us to perform our constitutional duties and decide how to respond to the allegations laid out against the President by the Special Counsel,” Nadler said in his statement.
“Given our conversations with the Department, I will hold the criminal contempt process in abeyance for now,” he added. “We have agreed to allow the Department time to demonstrate compliance with this agreement. If the Department proceeds in good faith and we are able to obtain everything that we need, then there will be no need to take further steps.”
But he noted that if the department withholds “important information” from the committee, lawmakers will have “no choice but to enforce our subpoena in court and consider other remedies.”
Nadler did not say anything in his statement about a scheduled contempt vote against the former White House counsel Don McGahn, who also refused to comply with the committee’s subpoena for documents and testimony at the White House’s direction.
The DOJ has been engaged in a protracted tug-of-war with House Democrats since the redacted Mueller report was released in April. Mueller did not recommend that President Donald Trump or anyone on his campaign be charged with conspiracy related to Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. But prosecutors documented a slew of meetings and contacts between Trump associates and individuals linked to the Russian government, many of which contained significant redactions.
In the obstruction thread, Mueller declined to make a “traditional prosecutorial judgment” on whether to charge Trump with obstruction of justice, citing DOJ guidelines that say a sitting president cannot be indicted. But prosecutors laid out an extensive roadmap of evidence against Trump and emphasised that if they had confidence Trump did not commit a crime, they would have said so. They also indicated that it was up to Congress to further investigate whether Trump had committed impeachable offenses.
Nadler has butted heads with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in recent weeks over whether to launch an impeachment inquiry. He’s pushed Pelosi on the matter twice so far, most recently during a meeting last week between senior Democrats. But Pelosi shot him down both times. At last week’s meeting, she responded that she didn’t want to see Trump impeached, she wanted to see him “in prison.”
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