House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler said Wednesday that Attorney General William Barr would not commit to make public the full report from special counsel Robert Mueller.
Nadler and Barr spoke by phone Wednesday for about 10 minutes, in their first conversation since Barr released a four-page summary of Mueller’s confidential report Sunday. Democrats have reacted with suspicion toward Barr’s summary of Mueller’s findings, and Nadler said it was unacceptable that Barr wouldn’t commit to making the entire report public.
“Mueller spent 22 months investigating this,” the New York Democrat said. “These are some of the central questions before the United States Congress and the American people, and it is unacceptable if the Congress certainly, and the people, don’t see the full report, and he wouldn’t commit to that. … We’re not happy about that, to put it mildly.”
Barr also told Nadler that the Justice Department “did not plan to submit” the report to the White House for review first, which could ease a concern that Democrats have raised over executive privilege.
House Democrats have set an April 2 deadline for Barr to release the report and Mueller’s underlying evidence, but Nadler said Barr would only tell him it would take “weeks, not months.”
“Obviously, they’re not going to meet the April 2 deadline the committee set. I’m very upset and concerned by that,” Nadler said, declining to say what Democrats would do after April 2.
Barr wrote in his summary that he would work with Mueller to redact classified and grand jury materials from the report before releasing it publicly. But Democrats have made clear they’re unlikely to be satisfied with Barr’s submission, and Nadler suggested Democrats could wind up in court in order to obtain all the documents they are seeking.
Asked whether the report would be summarized at all, Barr told Nadler he “reserved the right” to summarize portions of the report if there were heavy redactions, Nadler said.
Barr’s summary released Sunday stated that Mueller did not find evidence of a criminal conspiracy with Russia, but Mueller did not reach a conclusion on obstruction of justice, leaving the decision to prosecute up to Justice Department leaders. Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said they did not see a case against Trump because his actions did not meet the standards for prosecuting such a case.
Democrats have questioned that decision and say they want Barr to testify to explain himself, and Nadler said Barr on Wednesday committed to doing so, though the timing is still fluid.
Nadler said his committee could ask Mueller to testify, too.
“After we’ve seen the report, and after we’ve had Barr, then we’ll make a judgment as to whether it is necessary and what the timing is on seeing Mueller,” Nadler said.
Nadler said he did not discuss specifics of the report with Barr on the phone call, including Barr’s decision on obstruction. But Nadler did learn how long the report is. He wouldn’t give a number but called it very substantial. Asked by a reporter if “very substantial” meant less than 1,000 pages, Nadler said: “Oh, I would think so.”