Democrats have rebuffed the Justice Department’s offer to see a less-redacted – but not fully unredacted – version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, but that didn’t stop at least one Republican from reading the additional material.
Georgia Rep. Doug Collins, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, went to the Justice Department Monday morning to read the less-redacted Mueller report in the department’s secure spaces.
Leaving the department, Collins said nothing he read on Monday changed the results of Mueller’s report finding of “no collusion” and deciding not to charge President Donald Trump for obstruction of justice.
“Nothing that I saw today at the end of the day though changed Mr. Mueller’s decision,” Collins said.
Collins appears to be the first lawmaker to read the less-redacted version of the Mueller report, which was made available to congressional party leaders and the heads of the House and Senate Judiciary and Intelligence Committees.
The version of the document Collins read removed three of the four categories of redactions that were stricken from the public report: classified information, material about ongoing investigations and information that would infringe on the privacy of peripheral third parties.
But the Justice Department kept grand jury material redacted, something that congressional Democrats are demanding to see. House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler on Friday issued a subpoena for the unredacted Mueller report and the special counsel’s underlying evidence.
In a letter sent to Attorney General William Barr on Friday, the six Democrats who were invited to read the less-redacted report rejected the Justice Department’s proposal.
“Given the comprehensive factual findings presented by the special counsel’s report, some of which will only be fully understood with access to the redacted material, we cannot agree to the conditions you are placing on our access to the full report,” the Democrats wrote. “Nor can we agree to an arrangement that does not include a mechanism for ensuring access to grand jury material.”
Democratic aides said that the lawmakers still did not plan to read the report at the Justice Department under the conditions placed on it.
Barr said earlier this month in congressional testimony there’s no statute for the Justice Department to provide Congress with grand jury material, which Democrats argue they’re entitled to see as part of their oversight responsibilities.
Collins has battled with Nadler over the subpoena for the full report, and he’s sided with Barr on the grand jury fight, accusing Democrats of asking the attorney general to break the law by handing over grand jury material.
On Monday, Collins encouraged Democrats to take Barr up on his offer to read the report.
“I do encourage my colleagues, the Democrats, who have asked for transparency, who have asked for access, to actually come here and do so,” Collins said. “To not come here and take advantage of the attorney general and his offer, to me says that they’re not more worried about what’s in the report, they’re more worried about actually scoring political points.”