March 27, 2019
As spirits flagged following the completion of the Mueller report—and the announcement by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that he would block a resolution to release the full document to Congress—House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) sought to rally her caucus behind closed doors Tuesday morning.
“Be calm. Take a deep breath. Don’t become like them. We have to handle this professionally, officially, patriotically, strategically,” Pelosi said during a closed-door meeting with House Democrats, referring to Republicans.
“Let’s just get the goods,” she said of Mueller’s report, according to an account released by Politico.
Pelosi’s comments came after the chairs of six key House committees sent a letter on March 25 to Attorney General William Barr—who had provided them only with a four-page letter that outlined the “highlights” of the report and ruled out any consideration of charges of obstruction of justice.
“It is vital for national security purposes that Congress be able to evaluate the full body of facts and evidence collected and evaluated by the Special Counsel,” the chairs said in the letter, advising Barr that, “We look forward to receiving the report in full no later than April 2, and to begin receiving the underlying evidence and documents the same day.”
The signatories of the letter included Representatives Jerrold Nadler (Judiciary Committee), Adam Schiff (Intelligence), Richard Neal (Ways and Means), Elijah Cumming (Oversight), Maxine Waters (Financial Services) and Eliot Engel (Foreign Affairs).
According to Barr, Mueller was unable to establish that Trump associates conspired with Russians during the 2016 presidential campaign, and he left unresolved the key issue of whether President Donald Trump obstructed justice.
Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee have suggested that the panel would move to issue a subpoena for the Mueller report if Barr refuses to turn it over by next Tuesday. Lawmakers said that they expect Barr to send Congress a heavily redacted version of the highly anticipated report.
They also highlighted the fact that Barr declined to recommend a criminal prosecution against Trump for obstruction of justice, noting his previously held view that a president could not obstruct justice.
“We have not seen the report. We’ve only gotten a summary that was created by a man who was appointed by the president, who clearly said before his appointment that he didn’t believe a sitting president could be charged, if you will, with obstruction of justice,” said Representative Val Demings (D-Florida), a member of the Judiciary Committee.
Research contact: @heathscope