Jerry Nadler, the House Judiciary Committee Chairman, issued a challenge to Donald Trump and his Attorney General appointee William Barr. Appearing on CNN on Wednesday night, Nadler said that if Barr is confirmed as Attorney General, and if he does not release special counsel Robert Mueller‘s final report to the public, then Nadler will issue a subpoena to obtain it.
He also said that he would compel Mueller to come before his committee to testify under oath about what he knows about the president and his relationships and interactions with Russia.
Nadler told Anderson Cooper:
“If necessary, our committee will subpoena the report. If necessary, we’ll get Mueller to testify. The American people need the information here.”
Mueller has spent nearly two years investigating Russian interference in the 2016 Trump campaign for president. He has also investigated possible crimes of conspiracy against the United States and obstruction of justice. He has obtained evidence of collusion between Trump associates and Russians during the 2016 presidential campaign. (Yesterday, also appearing on CNN, Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani admitted that there was collusion, although his boss was not involved and didn’t know about it.”
Barr was nominated to become U.S. Attorney General after Trump fired the former attorney general, Jeff Sessions, in November. Sessions had recused himself from overseeing the Russia investigation, which led to severe criticism from the president over the past two years. Matt Whitaker was appointed to be the acting attorney general after Sessions left his office.
Barr appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this week for his confirmation hearing.
With respect to Mueller’s report, he pledged to release “as much as I can.” This response did not please congressional Democrats, who are looking for a firm commitment from Barr.
He also pledged to provide the special counsel with the resources and time to finish the job that he was hired to do. The nominee also said he would not terminate Mueller without good cause, and would notify Congress if he denied a major request during the investigation. He also said he would resign “if someone tried to stop a bona fide, lawful investigation to try to cover up wrongdoing.”
In December, it was revealed that Barr has given over $500,000 to Republican political candidates and PACs through the years, so he is not exactly bipartisan.
During his testimony Barr expressed sympathy for the President, saying it is “understandable” that someone would view an investigation as a “witch hunt” — as Trump has repeatedly called the Russia probe — if he believes he is wrongly accused.
But Barr at the same time defended the special counsel, saying Mueller would not be involved in a “witch hunt.”
Since Barr appeared before the Senate, Nadler has been expressing his dissatisfaction, and he told CNN on Wednesday that Barr is “obviously there to protect the President.”
He also said that the nominee had “made it pretty clear he would not release the Mueller report to the public, and that’s unacceptable.”
The powerful committee chairman said he believes Barr had made it clear he would “only release certain information — that he was going to be the judge of that.”
“The public needs all the facts,” Nadler said, “and we can’t have it filtered through someone who may be very partisan.”
Obtaining Mueller‘s final report is especially important for congressional Democrats who have been saying that they will not make a decision about impeaching Trump until they see the report.