Nadler asks Barr for correspondence with Mueller's office

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerBy questioning Barr, Democrats unmasked their policy of betrayal Chris Wallace: Barr hearing 'an embarrassment' for Democrats: 'Just wanted to excoriate him' Apple posts blowout third quarter MORE (D-N.Y.) on Thursday called on Attorney General William BarrBill BarrWillie Brown: Kamala Harris should 'politely decline' any offer to be Biden's running mate Barr: The left 'believes in tearing down the system' The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Negotiators signal relief bill stuck, not dead MORE to release publicly any summaries prepared by special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE and give Congress all correspondence between the Justice Department and Mueller’s office related to his final report.

Nadler wrote to Barr Thursday after The New York Times and The Washington Post reported that some members of Mueller’s team had expressed concerns that Barr’s four-page summary of Mueller’s core findings did not adequately capture what investigators found and conveyed a more rosy picture of the president’s behavior than Mueller’s report lays out.

The reports indicated that the special counsel’s office had prepared summaries of different areas of the report that could have been publicly released. Barr instead issued a four-page letter on March 24 laying out Mueller’s conclusions primarily in his own words.


Nadler called the reports “troubling” and demanded Barr immediately release any summaries made of Mueller's report. The Judiciary chairman also requested Barr deliver to the committee “all communications” between the special counsel’s office and the department regarding Mueller’s report, the disclosure of the document to Congress and his four-page letter laying out the principal conclusions reached in the course of the investigation.

“You have already provided an interpretation of the Special Counsel’s conclusions in a fashion that appears to minimize the implications of the report as to the President,” Nadler wrote in the letter to Barr released Thursday afternoon. “Releasing the summaries—without delay—would begin to allow the American people to judge the facts for themselves.” 

The Justice Department has defended Barr in the wake of the reports, noting that every page of Mueller’s report is marked as possibly containing grand jury information, which federal law prohibits from being released publicly in the absence of a court order.

“Given the extraordinary public interest in the matter, the Attorney General decided to release the report’s bottom-line findings and his conclusions immediately – without attempting to summarize the report — with the understanding that the report itself would be released after the redactions process,” Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said in a statement earlier Thursday.

Barr’s four-page letter revealed that the special counsel did not conclude that members or associates of President TrumpDonald John TrumpTeachers union launches 0K ad buy calling for education funding in relief bill FDA head pledges 'we will not cut corners' on coronavirus vaccine Let our values drive COVID-19 liability protection MORE’s campaign conspired with the Russian government to interfere in the 2016 election. Barr also deemed the evidence laid out in Mueller’s report insufficient to accuse Trump of obstructing justice, despite the special counsel not coming to a conclusion one way or another on obstruction.

Trump and his Republican allies have seized on the letter as vindicating the president.

Democrats, meanwhile, have suggested Barr is unable to be a neutral arbiter over the investigation given that he was appointed by the president, and have demanded the release of Mueller’s full report to Congress — without any redactions.

The twin news reports have added new urgency to those demands and raised new questions about the contents of Mueller’s confidential report, which is said to be close to 400 pages. Barr has committed to releasing a public version of the report that he will also issue to Congress, with redactions to conceal grand jury material, classified national security information and other sensitive details.

His commitments, however, have not appeased Democrats wrangling for the complete report. 

The House Judiciary Committee voted along party lines to authorize Nadler to issue a subpoena for Mueller’s full report and the underlying evidence at a Wednesday business meeting, something he has said he will do in “very short order” if the Justice Department does not cooperate.

Nadler wrote Thursday that Barr releasing any “summaries” prepared by Mueller would not constitute a “substitute” for releasing the complete report to Congress, but emphasized the “obligation” shared by the executive and legislative branches to release as much information about Mueller’s probe to the American public as possible.

“Additionally, if the Special Counsel’s summaries fit the summary you provided on March 24, that would alleviate substantial concerns that the House Judiciary Committee may wish to discuss when you appear to testify,” Nadler wrote. “If there is significant daylight between his account and yours, the American people should know that too.”

Nadler also asked Barr to update him when the special counsel’s office has finished reviewing the report to identify grand jury material. 

The Justice Department did not immediately return a request for comment on Nadler's letter.

--Updated at 4:34 p.m.