Judiciary Democrat: House impeaching Trump not a 'foregone conclusion'
Nadler: DOJ withholding underlying evidence of Mueller report would be 'equivalent to a cover-up'
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) said Sunday that it would be "equivalent to a cover-up" if the Department of Justice (DOJ) refuses to release the underlying information behind special counsel Robert Mueller's final report on his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Nadler said on "Fox News Sunday" that it's typically a "very good rule" for the DOJ to avoid going public with evidence against an individual who isn't charged with a crime. However, he argued that it's different in the case of a sitting president since DOJ regulations stipulate a sitting president can't be indicted.
"Once you say that a president cannot be indictable, no matter what the evidence, as a matter of law, to then follow the principle that you can't then comment on the evidence or publicize it is to convert that into a cover-up," Nadler said.
Asked if the attorney general may view department regulations differently, Nadler doubled down on his argument and suggested that the underlying information is required for Congress to conduct its oversight role properly.
"If the president cannot be indicted ... then the only way a president can be held accountable is for Congress to consider it and act, if warranted, and Congress can only do that if it has the information," he said.
"And for the [DOJ] to take the position that we're not going to give information because he's not indicted like a normal person who's not indicted because of lack of evidence is equivalent to a cover-up and subverts the only ability to hold the president accountable," Nadler continued. "And the president, no more than anybody else, cannot be above the law."
Nadler added that his committee will use subpoenas if necessary to secure the underlying information behind the report.
The special counsel submitted his final report to Attorney General William Barr on Friday evening, signaling the end of the nearly two-year investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Barr could brief Congress on the report's main findings as early as Sunday. The attorney general previously committed to releasing as much of the report as possible under the law, but Democrats and some Republicans have been insistent that the full document be made public.
Nadler said on "Fox News Sunday" that he has received no additional information on what Barr's briefing will include or when it may take place.