Dems demand Mueller’s full 300 pages, mock ‘scaredy-cat’ GOP
Washington – Special counsel Robert Mueller’s Trump-Russia report is more than 300 pages long, it was revealed Thursday, sparking fresh criticism from Democrats arguing that Attorney General William Barr’s four-page summary was gravely inadequate and the full findings must be quickly released.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called Barr’s synopsis that cleared President Donald Trump of campaign collusion with Russia and criminal obstruction of the federal probe “condescending” and “arrogant.”
“Mr. Attorney General, we do not need your interpretation,” Pelosi said Thursday. “Show us the report and we’ll come to our own conclusions.” She mocked the administration and Republicans as “scaredy-cats.”
The length of Mueller’s confidential report makes clear that there are substantially more details he and his team have documented in their investigation than Barr disclosed to Congress and the public in his summary. The volume of pages was described Thursday by a Justice Department official and another person familiar with the document.
The Justice Department official said Barr discussed the length of the report during a phone call Wednesday with House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler.
Both the department official and the other person spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the confidential report.
Barr has been at work going through the document as the battle is intensifying over if and when he will release the complete report and its underlying evidence amid Democratic concerns that what has been made public so far was tilted in Trump’s favor. Barr has said he’ll release at least a partial version in April and also told Nadler he would agree to testify before his committee.
As that battle brews, House Democrats barreled ahead with their oversight of the Trump administration, and Trump resumed his attack on Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., just as the chairman of the intelligence committee was about to gavel the panel into session.
“Congressman Adam Schiff, who spent two years knowingly and unlawfully lying and leaking, should be forced to resign from Congress!” Trump tweeted early Thursday.
Republicans picking up on Trump’s complaints formalized their demand that Schiff resign as chairman of the intelligence panel over his comments that there was significant evidence the president and his associates conspired with Russia.
“We have no faith in your ability to discharge your responsibilities” in line with the Constitution, the Republicans wrote to Schiff in a missive they read aloud at the hearing.
Republicans pointed to Barr’s synopsis, released Sunday, that said Mueller’s probe didn’t find that Trump’s campaign “conspired or coordinated” with the Russian government to influence the 2016 presidential election.
Schiff stood by his remarks, listing the meetings those in Trump’s circle had with Russians. He noted Trump’s pursuit of a deal to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.
“There is a different word for that than collusion, and it’s called compromise,” Schiff said, as he opened the session. The hearing was called to provide an overview on how Russia in the past has blackmailed Americans.
Since Barr’s findings were released, Schiff this week has repeated his assertion that evidence of collusion is in “plain sight.” He says Mueller’s failure to find a criminal conspiracy with Russia does not absolve the Trump campaign of its actions.
Pelosi stood by Schiff, saying she was proud of him and taunted Republicans – and Trump – for fearing the chairman whom she called a “patriotic leader.”
“What is the president afraid of, Is he afraid of the truth?” she said. “They’re just scaredy-cats.”
Outside the hearing room, the main battle continued over releasing Mueller’s still-confidential report. The New York Times first reported Thursday that the report was more than 300 pages.
“I would hope the attorney general would not be acting as a political operative for the president,” said Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., a member of the Judiciary Committee. “The Department of Justice should not be involved in a cover-up of what’s actually in the report.”
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., chairman of the House Oversight Committee, said Wednesday he was disappointed Barr would take weeks, not days, to release the report.
“The president has now an opportunity for weeks, it sounds like, to do these victory laps,” said Cummings, noting that Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, is among those headed to jail as a result of the probe. “Cohen goes to jail, the president runs a victory lap.”
Barr told the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., that he’s combing through Mueller’s report and removing classified, grand jury and other information in hopes of releasing the rest to Congress.
Trump has said he’s fine with releasing the findings. “The president said, ‘Just let it go,’ and that’s what’s going to happen,” Graham said.
What’s clear, though, is that Barr will miss the Tuesday deadline set by six House committee chairmen to see the full confidential report and its underlying documents. They have suggested they may eventually try to subpoena it.
Associated Press writers Eric Tucker, Andrew Taylor, Catherine Lucey, Jill Colvin, Alan Fram, Mike Balsamo and Padmananda Rama contributed to this report.