U.S. House Judiciary Committee has issued a subpoena to obtain the full Russia investigation report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, saying that a redacted version “leaves most of Congress in the dark. “
"My committee needs and is entitled to the full version of the report and the underlying evidence consistent with past practice,” Committee chairman Jerrold Nadler (Democrat-New York), said in a statement on April 19, the day after the release of the partially redacted 448-page report.
Attorney General William Barr sent the Mueller report to Congress, blacking out several types of material, including classified information, material pertaining to ongoing investigations, and grand jury evidence.
Mueller corroborated U.S. intelligence conclusions of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and also documented President Donald Trump’s efforts to undermine his inquiry, but Mueller concluded there was not sufficient evidence to prove Trump and his team committed a crime by colluding with Russia officials.
The report also points to areas where Trump and his associates could still face legal problems, as well as the potential for impeachment proceedings.
“The redactions appear to be significant. We have so far seen none of the actual evidence that the special counsel developed to make this case," Nadler said. He said the report points to "serious instances of wrongdoing" by Trump.
But the committee's top Republican, Doug Collins, said the subpoena was "wildly overbroad" and that Trump already declined to assert executive privilege in a move of "unprecedented openness."
He said that Nadler was rushing the process for political gain.
The subpoena gives Barr until May 1 to produce the materials requested.
The subpoena is the opening shot in what could be a lengthy legal battle. If the Justice Department doesn't respond, Democrats could hold officials in contempt of Congress or eventually fight the battle in court.
Mueller’s report painstakingly details evidence about Russian election meddling and confirms the previous findings of the U.S. intelligence community of a two-pronged Russian strategy to manipulate U.S. public opinion through e-mail hacking and a disinformation campaign.
"The Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion,” the Mueller report said.
However, Russia’s Foreign Ministry falsely claimed on April 19 that Mueller "admitted" his investigation did not find evidence of Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential election.
"There is nothing there to catch attention. In fact, it confirms the absence of any arguments proving Russia's alleged interference in the U.S. election,” said Georgy Borisenko, the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s North America Department. “There is not a single piece of evidence. In fact, the report’s authors have admitting having no proof,” Borisenko claimed.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on April 19 also dismissed the evidence contained in the Mueller report, saying the Kremlin does not accept the meddling accusations.
“As a whole, the report as before does not present any reasonable proof at all that Russia allegedly meddled in the electoral process in the United States,” Peskov told journalists in Moscow a day after the publication of the redacted version of the document.
Among the most pointed allegations leveled earlier by Mueller regarding Russian interference was the indictment of a dozen Russian military intelligence officers who, he said, were behind the hacking and theft of Democratic Party e-mails, e-mails that were released in the heat of the 2016 U.S. election.
While the Mueller report concluded there wasn’t sufficient evidence to prove Trump or members of his team colluded with Russia's state-sponsored meddling campaign, it said Trump and at least 17 of his campaign officials and advisers did have more than 100 contacts with Russians during the 2016 election campaign.