Dems reject Barr's offer to view Mueller report with fewer redactions

Dems reject Barr's offer to view Mueller report with fewer redactions
© Greg Nash

Top congressional Democrats on Friday rejected Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrClarence Thomas, Joe Manchin, Rudy Giuliani among guests at second state visit under Trump Democrats to seek ways to compel release of Trump whistleblower complaint Democrats press Nadler to hold Lewandowski in contempt MORE's offer to let a select group of lawmakers review redacted sections of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerLewandowski says Mueller report was 'very clear' in proving 'there was no obstruction,' despite having 'never' read it Fox's Cavuto roasts Trump over criticism of network Mueller report fades from political conversation MORE's investigative report.

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiBiden blasts Trump, demands he release transcript of call with foreign leader Pelosi wants to change law to allow a sitting president to be indicted Overnight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Walmart to stop selling e-cigarettes | Senators press FDA to pull most e-cigarettes immediately | House panel tees up e-cig hearing for next week MORE (D-Calif.), Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSchumer, Pelosi push Trump to back universal background check bill Sinema says she would back Kennedy in race against Markey Democrats threaten to withhold defense votes over wall MORE (D-N.Y.) and the top Democrats on the Intelligence and Judiciary committees in both chambers argued in a letter on Friday that Barr's offer is too rigid. They said the number of lawmakers who can review the redacted text is too small, and they took issue with not being able to see all the information, including grand jury material.

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"Unfortunately, your proposed accommodation -- which among other things would prohibit discussion of the full report, even with other Committee Members -- is not acceptable," the Democrats wrote in their letter to Barr.

"Given the comprehensive factual findings presented by the Special Counsel's Report, some of which will only be fully understood with access to the redacted material, we cannot agree to the conditions you are placing on our access to the full report. Nor can we agree to an arrangement that does not include a mechanism for ensuring access to grand jury material," they added.

Their letter comes after Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd notified House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerPelosi: Lewandowski should have been held in contempt 'right then and there' Nadler's House committee holds a faux hearing in search of a false crime Lewandowski says he's under no obligation to speak truthfully to the media MORE (D-N.Y.) and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSenate Judiciary Committee requests consultation with admin on refugee admissions Trump reignites court fight with Ninth Circuit pick Trump judicial picks face rare GOP opposition MORE (R-S.C.) on Thursday, following the release of a redacted version of the 448-page report, that Barr has agreed to provide their committees and the Gang of Eight access to details in Mueller’s report that were restricted in the public version.

Barr's offer would allow the lawmakers to review sensitive information uncovered during Mueller's 22-month probe, including matters related to national security and details that relate to ongoing criminal investigations.

Democrats said Friday that while they won't accept the offer, they are willing to work with Barr to reach "a reasonable accommodation" so that the Justice Department can continue to "protect law enforcement sensitive information," while allowing lawmakers to review information they view as necessary in order to conduct their oversight responsibilities.

Barr has said that he is operating within the guidelines of the special counsel regulations by not providing Congress with information like grand jury materials.

Nadler, who signed Friday's letter, issued a subpoena earlier in the day in an attempt to compel Barr to provide Congress with the full report and its underlying evidence, the first legal move in what is gearing up to become a protracted court battle.

The other Democratic lawmakers who signed the letter are House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffHillicon Valley: Lawmakers say Zuckerberg to 'cooperate' on antitrust probes | Dems see victory after McConnell backs election security funds | Twitter takes down fake pro-Saudi accounts Trump asked Ukraine president to investigate Biden's son eight times in one phone call: reports Lawmakers say Zuckerberg has agreed to 'cooperate' with antitrust probe MORE (Calif.), Senate Judiciary Committee ranking member Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinSenate Judiciary Committee requests consultation with admin on refugee admissions Trump reignites court fight with Ninth Circuit pick GOP's Kennedy sends warning shot to Trump nominee Menashi MORE (Calif.) and Senate Intelligence Vice Chairman Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerOvernight Defense: Trump hits Iranian central bank with sanctions | Trump meeting with Ukrainian leader at UN | Trump touts relationship with North Korea's Kim as 'best thing' for US Hillicon Valley: Zuckerberg courts critics on Capitol Hill | Amazon makes climate pledge | Senate panel approves 0M for state election security Zuckerberg woos Washington critics during visit MORE (Va.).

Republicans slammed the move, saying Nadler and other Democrats are rejecting the very information they want provided to Congress.

“Democrats demand answers but put their hands over their eyes every time those answers appear," a spokesperson for House Judiciary Republicans said in a statement. "Attorney General Barr has given unprecedented accommodations to Chairman Nadler, and it’s unconscionable the chairman refuses receipt of information he’s claimed for weeks Democrats are ‘entitled to.’ Who subpoenas a report and publicly refuses to read it in the same day?”

Updated at 4:48 p.m.