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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 BarrBill BarrLieu calls Catholic bishops 'hypocrites' for move to deny Biden communion The Hill's Morning Report - After high-stakes Biden-Putin summit, what now? Senate Judiciary Democrats demand DOJ turn over Trump obstruction memo MORE's offer to let a select group of lawmakers review redacted sections of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE's investigative report.

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOvernight Energy: Lake Mead's decline points to scary water future in West | White House leads opposition to raising gas tax | Biden taps ex-New Mexico lawmaker for USDA post Trump against boycotting Beijing Olympics in 2022 House Democrats' campaign arm raises almost million in May MORE (D-Calif.), Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerFive takeaways on the Supreme Court's Obamacare decision Senate confirms Chris Inglis as first White House cyber czar Schumer vows to only pass infrastructure package that is 'a strong, bold climate bill' 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 NadlerSenate on collision course over Trump DOJ subpoenas Black Democrats press leaders for reparations vote this month House Judiciary to probe DOJ's seizure of data from lawmakers, journalists MORE (D-N.Y.) and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham quips key to working with Trump: We both 'like him' Centrists gain leverage over progressives in Senate infrastructure battle Lawmakers rally around cyber legislation following string of attacks 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 SchiffCyber concerns dominate Biden-Putin summit Senate on collision course over Trump DOJ subpoenas Lawmakers urge Biden to be tough on cybersecurity during summit with Putin MORE (Calif.), Senate Judiciary Committee ranking member Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinYouth climate activists march outside California homes of Pelosi and Feinstein Cosmetic chemicals need a makeover Progressives want to tighten screws beyond Manchin and Sinema MORE (Calif.) and Senate Intelligence Vice Chairman Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerOn The Money: Centrists gain leverage over progressives in Senate infrastructure battle | White House rules out gas tax hike Democrats introduce resolution apologizing to LGBT community for government discrimination Centrists gain leverage over progressives in Senate infrastructure battle 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.