House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Democratic congressional leaders, infuriated over the Justice Department’s release of a redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller's report, assailed Attorney General William Barr on Thursday, accusing him of creating a crisis of confidence in his independence, while calling on Mueller to publicly testify before Congress about his work.
The big picture: This is sets up what is expected to be a drawn-out clash between the Trump administration and Democrats, who have raised concerns over President Trump's conduct detailed in the report. Democratic-led House committees are also working to obtain the elemental evidence from Mueller's probe to bolster their own investigations into Trump and his inner circle.
What they're saying:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer in a joint statement: "The differences are stark between what Attorney General Barr said on obstruction and what Special Counsel Mueller said on obstruction. As we continue to review the report, one thing is clear: Attorney General Barr presented a conclusion that the president did not obstruct justice while Mueller’s report appears to undercut that finding."
- In an earlier statement, Pelosi and Schumer said: "We believe the only way to begin restoring public trust in the handling of the Special Counsel’s investigation is for Special Counsel Mueller himself to provide public testimony in the House and Senate as soon as possible. The American people deserve to hear the truth."
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler said he's issuing a subpoena to obtain the full, unredacted report. He has also sent a letter to Mueller, asking him testify before his panel "as soon as possible" or "in any event, no later than May 23, 2019."
- "We cannot take Attorney General Barr's word for it. We must read the full Mueller report, and the underlying evidence. This is about transparency and ensuring accountability," Nadler tweeted.
House Intelligence Committee chair Adam Schiff: "The attorney general did a grave disservice to the country by misrepresenting significant parts of the Mueller report, by attempting to put a positive spin for the president. The attorney general is not the president's personal lawyer. ... He is supposed to represent the interests of the American people."
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told CNN’s Dana Bash: "Based on what we have seen to date, going forward on impeachment is not worthwhile at this point. Very frankly, there is an election in 18 months and the American people will make a judgement."