Washington, April 10 (IANS) Attorney General William Barr on Tuesday said he expects to release a redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report “within a week,” but he does not plan to provide Congress with an unredacted version of the report, setting the stage for a showdown with congressional Democrats.
Barr told a House subcommittee that the redactions process was going “very well,” and he would use colour-coded categories and explain the rationale for the redactions that are made from Mueller’s nearly 400-page report.
But he said he would not accede to Democrats’ demands that he provide the full, unredacted report to Congress, arguing that he cannot legally release grand jury material and that he did not plan to ask a court to release it, CNN reported.
“I don’t intend at this stage to send the full, unredacted report to the committee,” Barr said.
Barr’s comments on Tuesday come ahead of a brewing clash between Congress and the Trump administration over the Mueller report, as Democrats are indeed prepared to go to court in an effort to obtain the unredacted Mueller report and the special counsel’s underlying evidence.
Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee have already authorized a subpoena for the full Mueller report and the underlying evidence, which House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler said on Tuesday that he is waiting to see what Barr releases before moving forward on the subpoena.
“The question is what we receive — do we receive a full copy of the Mueller Report and the documentation underneath it?” Nadler said.
“Do we receive most of it with a little redaction or do they completely expurgate it? We’ll have to take a look at it,” Nadler added.
Barr has said four types of information would be redacted from the report he submits: grand jury material, classified information, material tied to ongoing investigation, and information that could harm “peripheral third parties.”
Barr told the House Appropriations subcommittee, where he was appearing on Tuesday to testify on the budget, that he was willing to work with Nadler to provide some additional information to the committee beyond the redacted report. But he stopped well short of pledging to provide the full report as Democrats have demanded.
In particular, Barr rebuffed Democratic arguments that he could provide grand jury material to Congress. “Until someone shows me a provision” permitting the release of grand jury material, Barr said, “Congress doesn’t get” that material.
Nadler responded on Twitter citing a letter House Democrats sent Barr, saying that “Congress is-as a matter of law-entitled to each of the categories AG Barr proposed to redact from the Special Counsel’s report.”
The fight is likely to wind up court, which Barr alluded to on Tuesday. “The chairman of the Judiciary Committee is free to go to court,” he said in response to Democratic questioning.