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 BarrImpeachment tests Barr-Trump relationship Democratic senators seek documents on Trump's alleged call for Barr press conference The Hill's Morning Report — Bloomberg news shakes up 2020 race MORE's offer to let a select group of lawmakers review redacted sections of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerSpeier says impeachment inquiry shows 'very strong case of bribery' by Trump Gowdy: I '100 percent' still believe public congressional hearings are 'a circus' Comey: Mueller 'didn't succeed in his mission because there was inadequate transparency' MORE's investigative report.

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiImpeachment week: Trump probe hits crucial point Klobuchar: 'I have seen no reason why' Hunter Biden would need to testify Johnson dismisses testimony from White House officials contradicting Trump as 'just their impression' MORE (D-Calif.), Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTop Senate Dem: Officials timed immigration policy around 2020 election Senate fight derails bipartisan drug pricing bills Trump has officially appointed one in four circuit court judges 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 NadlerAs impeachment goes public, forget 'conventional wisdom' What this 'impeachment' is really about — and it's not the Constitution Trump officials weigh adding more countries to travel ban list: report MORE (D-N.Y.) and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamImpeachment week: Trump probe hits crucial point Graham on the impeachment inquiry: 'I made my mind up. There's nothing there' Rand Paul says Trump has 'every right' to withhold Ukraine aid over corruption 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 SchiffImpeachment week: Trump probe hits crucial point This week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry Sunday shows — New impeachment phase dominates MORE (Calif.), Senate Judiciary Committee ranking member Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinHarris shares video addressing staffers the night Trump was elected: 'This is some s---' Centrist Democrats seize on state election wins to rail against Warren's agenda Senate talks on stalled Violence Against Women Act reauthorization unravel MORE (Calif.) and Senate Intelligence Vice Chairman Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerCentrist Democrats seize on state election wins to rail against Warren's agenda Hillicon Valley: Facebook to remove mentions of potential whistleblower's name | House Dems demand FCC action over leak of location data | Dem presses regulators to secure health care data Senator criticizes HHS for not investigating exposure of millions of medical images 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.