House Intel panel subpoenas Barr for full Mueller report, evidence

The House Intelligence Committee has issued a subpoena for documents and materials related to special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerAn unquestioning press promotes Rep. Adam Schiff's book based on Russia fiction Senate 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 MORE’s investigation into Russia's election interference.

The panel's chairman, Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffMask rules spark political games and a nasty environment in the House CIA says 'Havana syndrome' unlikely a result of 'worldwide campaign' by foreign power The Hill's Morning Report - Biden to make voting rights play in Atlanta MORE (D-Calif.), issued the subpoena to Attorney General William BarrBill BarrHow President Biden can win back momentum on women's rights Kellyanne Conway memoir set for May release The Hill's Morning Report - US warns Kremlin, weighs more troops to Europe MORE on Wednesday evening, accusing the Justice Department of failing to negotiate with the committee or comply with the panel’s bipartisan requests for Mueller’s files.

The committee is demanding Mueller’s full unredacted report, the underlying evidence, and all counterintelligence and foreign intelligence materials generated in the course of the investigation. It set a May 15 deadline for the Justice Department to hand over the materials.

ADVERTISEMENT

In addition to Mueller’s full unredacted report, the committee is seeking all documents and materials referenced in the report and all documents and materials obtained or generation by Mueller’s office that refer or relate to foreign individuals or entities; persons or entities associated with or acting as a foreign agent; communications or links between Americans and foreign individuals or entities; and “any effort to influence, impede, or obstruct congressional investigations.”

The subpoena follows bipartisan letters from Schiff and ranking member Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesSunday shows preview: US reaffirms support for Ukraine amid threat of Russian invasion Florida Rep. Cherfilus-McCormick sworn in as newest House member GOP lawmaker adheres to term limit pledge, won't run for reelection MORE (R-Calif.) to the Justice Department in March and April requesting Mueller’s full unredacted report and all related classified and unclassified evidence. The leaders also asked that the Justice Department make Mueller available to testify before the committee.

“After repeated, bipartisan overtures and multiple, unreciprocated efforts by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence to reach a reasonable accommodation on its requests to the Department of Justice for documents and materials related to the Special Counsel’s investigation, including foreign intelligence and counterintelligence information, the Committee has no choice but to serve the attached subpoena for those materials,” Schiff wrote in a letter to Barr dated Wednesday.

“The Department’s failure to engage and negotiate with the Committee, and its failure to comply in any meaningful way with the Committee’s bipartisan document request, necessitates the issuance of the attached subpoena,” he added.

The Justice Department declined to comment Wednesday evening.

The development represents the latest escalation in the fight between the executive branch and Congress over Mueller’s investigation into Russia's interference, which concluded in late March.

Schiff issued the subpoena hours after the House Judiciary Committee voted to hold Barr in contempt of Congress for not complying with a separate subpoena to turn over Mueller’s unredacted report and underlying evidence.

President TrumpDonald TrumpMark Walker to stay in North Carolina Senate race Judge lays out schedule for Eastman to speed up records processing for Jan. 6 panel Michael Avenatti cross-examines Stormy Daniels in his own fraud trial MORE earlier on Wednesday asserted executive privilege over the subpoenaed materials on the recommendation of the Justice Department after the Judiciary Committee moved forward with the contempt vote.

Barr issued a memo days after Mueller concluded the investigation, revealing that the special counsel did not find evidence to charge members of the Trump campaign with conspiring with Russia.

Mueller did not reach a conclusion on whether Trump obstructed justice, but Barr and outgoing Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinWashington still needs more transparency House Judiciary to probe DOJ's seizure of data from lawmakers, journalists The Hill's Morning Report - Biden-Putin meeting to dominate the week MORE judged the evidence to be insufficient to charge Trump with criminal wrongdoing. Democrats have roundly criticized Barr over his handling of Mueller’s report, accusing him of bias and acting on the president's behalf.

Barr released a redacted version of Mueller’s report on April 18 and has allowed a select group of lawmakers to review a less restricted version but has so far resisted Democrats’ demands for access to Mueller’s full report and evidence.

The Intelligence Committee signaled on Tuesday that it would soon take “compulsory” action to force the Justice Department to turn over Mueller’s report, accusing the department of failing to cooperate. 

In his letter to Barr on Wednesday, Schiff detailed repeated efforts by the committee to reach out to the Justice Department regarding the panel’s request for Mueller’s unredacted report, evidence and other materials, including the bipartisan letters sent on March 27 and April 25.

Schiff wrote that committee staff met with Justice Department officials once on April 29 to discuss the request and later reiterated they would move to a compulsory process in the absence of “substantial compliance” by the department. 

According to his letter, the Justice Department on May 3 said it had taken “meaningful steps” to respond to the April requests, pointing to Barr’s decision to allow the chairman and ranking member to view a less redacted version of Mueller’s report and a phone call the committee held with the FBI regarding “procedural matters unrelated to the substantive work” of Mueller’s office. 

“Neither of these responses amounted to a good faith effort to negotiate an accommodation of the Committee’s request,” Schiff wrote.

Updated 7:55 p.m.