The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., has ordered Attorney General William Barr to produce by Monday the unredacted special counsel report and its underlying evidence, including secret grand jury information, or be held in contempt of Congress.
By law, grand jury information cannot be released without an order from a federal judge.
Nadler insisted Congress should be allowed to see raw evidence from the Russia probe, arguing the Trump administration shared with the Republican-led House some 800,000 pages of “sensitive investigative materials” related to the Hillary Clinton email investigation, DailyMail.com reported.
Barr has declined to request an exemption from a judge, and Nadler has not made that request either.
Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., reacted Friday to Nadler’s demand.
“As chairman Nadler continues to turn down free information from the Justice Department, he once again places absurd demands on the department to comply with his oversight request,” Collins said.
“His accusations do not fully capture the context, nature and substance of this situation. Democrats continue to cite no precedent for the Justice Department ceding Congress grand jury materials outside of impeachment proceedings, and today’s letter is inaccurate in claiming the Justice Department provided information to Congress as part of the Starr investigation.”
Collins said Democrats “continue to deliver inaccurate statements and abusive politics, while demanding the attorney general either break the law or face contempt charges.”
“Their chief complaint against the attorney general is his upholding the rule of law when they wish him to disregard it,” he said.
Barr voluntarily testified Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee about the Mueller report. He canceled an appearance before a House panel Thursday, because Democrats insisted on the unprecedented move of having staff lawyers question him.
In the past, grand jury material has been provided to Congress only during an impeachment proceeding.
The Justice Department already has made available to some members of Congress a copy of the Mueller report with only grand jury material redacted.
The congressional leaders allowed to read it in a secure room are not permitted to disclose the contents to lower-ranking members.
Half of the members authorized to read it are Democrats.
But the only two lawmakers who have checked in to the secure room are Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham and Collins, the ranking Republican on Nadler’s panel.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters Friday at the White House: ‘Not a single Democrat has yet to go read the less-redacted version of the report.”