The conclusion of the Mueller investigation into whether Trump colluded with Russia in the election has been submitted. And, Mueller’s report will be governed by rules written in the wake of the Starr Report. We explain.
Just the FAQs, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON – As news broke Friday that Attorney General William Barr had sent a letter notifying Congress that special counsel Robert Mueller had submitted his report, reaction started pouring in from senators and representatives.
Lawmakers on both sides were quick to call for transparency. However, Republican comments generally were vague, calling for what was legally allowed to be made public. Democrats generally were more aggressive in their calls for the report to be released.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York released a joint statement saying it’s “imperative for Mr. Barr to make the full report public.” They called upon Barr to not give President Donald Trump, his lawyers or his staff a “sneak preview” of the special counsel’s findings or evidence.
“The president himself has called, without qualification, for the report to be made public,’’ Schumer said later. “There is no reason on God’s green earth why Attorney General Barr should do any less.”
Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, called for release of the report “with its underlying evidence, and with only limited redactions for truly classified material. Not a summary. No absurd claims of executive privilege. No excuses. Just the facts.”
Judiciary will be the first committee to review and decide what to do with Barr’s pass-along to Congress.
Across the aisle, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., called for time for Barr to review the report. McConnell said in his statement he hopes Barr will provide as much information as possible and “with as much openness and transparency as possible.”
Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said the notification Friday indicates there were no areas of disagreement between the attorney general or acting attorney general and Mueller. Graham said he would work with Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the top Democrat on the committee, “to ensure as much transparency as possible, consistent with the law.”
“I have always believed it was important that Mr. Mueller be allowed to do his job without interference, and that has been accomplished,” Graham said.
Regardless of what the special counsel’s report says, key House committees led by Democrats vow to continue their own related investigations.
And Congressional committees are not limited as Mueller’s team was by its mandate to look at Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
House Democrats plan to use the oversight powers of Congress to look into Trump’s finances and other aspects of his presidency.
The House Judiciary Committee recently launched an investigation into whether Trump sought to obstruct justice or misuse his powers, requesting documents from 81 “agencies, entities, and individuals” connected to the administration and Trump’s private businesses.
The House Intelligence Committee announced it will look into Russian interference in the 2016 election as well as Trump’s foreign financial interests.
Meanwhile, the House Oversight and Reform Committee has launched several investigations, including one into Trump’s communications with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The committee held a hearing in February where Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, slammed his former boss and cast him as a “con man.”
Republicans accused Democrats of pursuing the investigations because they doubt Mueller’s report will show evidence of collusion or of Trump committing a crime.
The House overwhelmingly supported a resolution in March pressing for lawmakers to get a copy of the fullMuellerreport. The Senate, however, blocked the measure.
“It is important that Congress stand up for the principle of full transparency at a time when the president has publicly attacked the Russian investigation more than 1,100 times and counting,” House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., said on the House floor March 14.
On Friday, Nadler tweeted, “We look forward to getting the full Mueller report and related materials. Transparency and the public interest demand nothing less. The need for public faith in the rule of law must be the priority.”
Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., another member of the Judiciary Committee, told USA TODAY the report “should not be censored by the attorney general or by the White House. The president is the subject of the report. To hand it over to the person who is the subject of the report and you expect a transparent process? I don’t think so.”
Bass said the release of the report won’t delay the House investigations, including upcoming hearings.
“I don’t think that this changes anything that we do in Congress,” she said. “Hopefully, it gives us more information to work with.”
Rep. Eric Swallwell, D-Calif., a member of both the House Intelligence Committee and House Judiciary Committee, told MSNBC Friday evening, “The American people will see every word, every comma, every period of this report. The president is outnumbered now in a way that he was not before. We have the subpoena power … so it’s just a matter of time.
“This is a test for our country because the rule of law has had a wrecking ball taken to it, and what we do now with this report will very much determine whether the rule of law still stands.”
Read the complete letter:
Contributing: Bart Jansen, Christal Hayes, Sean Rossman
When Special Counsel Robert Mueller investigation is complete, he will send a report to Attorney General William Barr. What happens after that?
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