Pelosi rejects any classified briefings on Mueller report

 
During a Saturday afternoon conference call with roughly 120 members of the Democratic Caucus, Pelosi amplified earlier vows that Democrats will insist Mueller's full report be released to the public. Mueller filed a confidential version of the document to Attorney General William Barr on Friday.
 
Democrats are also pushing to make public any underlying documents that could guide the Democrats' ongoing investigations and potential legislative response. Pelosi said she'll also demand that the DOJ's promised briefings be unclassified so lawmakers can speak publicly about the full scope of those discussions.
ADVERTISEMENT
 
"The takeaway from this call is that the American [people] deserve the truth," she said, according to a person on the call. "Transparency is the order of the day." 
 
The demand sets the stage for what are likely to be tense negotiations with administration officials over how much of Mueller's highly anticipated report about the Russia probe will be disclosed — and to whom.
 
Classified briefings are a regular occurrence on Capitol Hill when executive branch officials convey sensitive information to Congress. In such cases, a select group of lawmakers representing both parties and chambers — a group known as the Gang of Eight — typically acts as a conduit between the branches. 
 
Pelosi, as Speaker, is a member of that group. Nonetheless, she said she would reject briefings limited to the Gang of Eight or any other classified arrangements, according to the person on the call. 
 
The Democrats' strategy call came a day after Mueller submitted his long-awaited report to the DOJ but before any of the details have been revealed, even to Congress. The call appeared designed to assure rank-and-file members that party leaders will accept nothing short of full disclosure of Mueller's findings.
 
"Right now, we are in the mode wanting to know the truth, wanting the facts so that our chairpersons and members of the committees can take a look into this going forward," Pelosi said, according to the person on the call.
 
In a letter sent Friday to the bipartisan leaders of the House and Senate Judiciary committees, Barr vowed "as much transparency as possible" under the regulations governing the special counsel's charge and said he could brief the committee heads on Mueller's "principal conclusions" as early as this weekend.
 
A source familiar with the matter later told The Hill that the DOJ had informed lawmakers that Barr would not provide them a briefing on Saturday about details from the probe into Russia's efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.
 
Barr has left open the option of keeping certain details under wraps, citing possible claims of executive privilege. 
 
In a "Dear Colleague" letter sent to Democrats just before Saturday's call, Pelosi warned that Barr's offer "to provide the Committees with a summary of the report’s conclusions is insufficient." 
 
"Congress requires the full report and the underlying documents so that the Committees can proceed with their independent work, including oversight and legislating to address any issues the Mueller report may raise," she wrote.
 
Democrats on the 35-minute call also heard from six committee heads, all of whom have some oversight role related to the Mueller investigation. They included Reps. Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerKlobuchar on impeachment: 'I'm the jury' Where 2020 Democratic candidates stand on impeachment Pelosi downplays impeachment post-Mueller report MORE (D-N.Y.), of the Judiciary Committee; Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsWhite House moves to block official from congressional testimony despite subpoena The Hill's Morning Report - Dem candidates sell policy as smart politics On The Money: Cain withdraws from Fed consideration | Says he didn't want 'pay cut' | Trump sues to block subpoena for financial records | Dems plot next move in Trump tax-return battle MORE (D-Md.), of Oversight and Reform; Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffOn The Money: Cain withdraws from Fed consideration | Says he didn't want 'pay cut' | Trump sues to block subpoena for financial records | Dems plot next move in Trump tax-return battle Pelosi downplays impeachment post-Mueller report Pelosi, Dems struggle to find unity in Mueller response MORE (D-Calif.), of the Intelligence Committee; Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelDem House chairs: Mueller report 'does not exonerate the president' Live coverage: Frenzy in DC as Congress, White House brace for Mueller report House Dems demand Barr cancel 'inappropriate' press conference on Mueller report MORE (D-N.Y.), of Foreign Affairs; Maxine WatersMaxine Moore WatersHarris says Congress should take steps toward impeaching Trump On The Money: Cain withdraws from Fed consideration | Says he didn't want 'pay cut' | Trump sues to block subpoena for financial records | Dems plot next move in Trump tax-return battle Dems seek to rein in calls for impeachment MORE (D-Calif.), of the Finance Committee; and Richard NealRichard Edmund NealOvernight Health Care: Social Security won't be able to fund full payouts by 2035 | Drug companies under scrutiny from Congress boost lobbying | US on pace to break record for measles cases On The Money: Cain withdraws from Fed consideration | Says he didn't want 'pay cut' | Trump sues to block subpoena for financial records | Dems plot next move in Trump tax-return battle Social Security won't be able to fund full payouts by 2035 MORE (D-Mass.), the chairman of Ways and Means. 
 
Rep. Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesDems attack Barr's credibility after report of White House briefings on Mueller findings The Hill's 12:30 Report: Assange faces US charges after dramatic arrest Dem leader: Trump's Fed picks like something out of 'SNL' MORE (D-N.Y.), the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, also spoke on the call and made another case for full public disclosure: America's taxpayers, he noted, funded Mueller's investigation and therefore deserve to see the findings in their entirety.