By Emily Tillett
The House Judiciary Committee voted to authorize subpoenas for special counsel Robert Mueller’s full report on his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and potential ties between the Russian government and the Trump campaign. The resolution passed Wednesday morning 24-17 in a party line vote. The committee will now also move to subpoena all underlying documents related to Mueller’s findings.
Before Wednesday’s vote, Republicans largely blasted the Democratic-led effort as violating the law, claiming the public release of the full Mueller report would present national security issues as much of the report is expected to contain redacted materials pertaining to grand jury information.
Republican members on the committee also claimed the resolution was a continuing effort to undermine the Trump presidency, with some claiming Democrats were pursuing the subpoenas as an attack on the president.
“As much as Democrats may hate the president, I would hope you love America more,” said Colorado Republican Rep. Ken Buck. He said that “if love trumps hate” Democrats should afford the attorney general enough time to properly release the findings.
Meanwhile, as Democrats continue to push for transparency, President Trump pushed back, calling out committee Chairman Jerry Nadler for opposing the release of independent counsel Ken Starr’s report on the investigation of former President Clinton.
“With the NO COLLUSION Mueller Report, which the Dems hate, he wants it all. NOTHING WILL EVER SATISFY THEM!” tweeted Mr. Trump on Tuesday.
Committee spokesman Daniel Schwarz said in a statement on Tuesday that the debate in 1998 “was not about Congress receiving evidence” but rather about “what type of material from the underlying evidence in the Starr report should be made public.”
“Our expectation is that Attorney General Barr will be as forthcoming now as Mr. Starr was in 1998,” added Schwarz, saying Barr “should provide the full Mueller report to Congress, with the underlying materials, at which point we will be in a better position to understand what Special Counsel Mueller uncovered during his investigation.”
The House already overwhelmingly voted 420-0 on a non-binding resolution to release the full Mueller report, but Sen. Lindsey Graham blocked a vote on the resolution in the Senate.
As a result of the resolution, Nadler’s committee will also issue subpoenas for a variety of Trump associates. They include former White House Counsel Donald McGahn, former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, former White House Communications Director Hope Hicks, former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and former White House Counsel Chief of Staff Ann Donaldson.
They are being subpoenaed as part of the Judiciary Committee’s separate investigation into possible threats to the rule of law by the president.
“Because we may have to go to court to obtain the complete text of the Special Counsel’s report, and because the President may attempt to invoke executive privilege to withhold that evidence from us, it is imperative that the Committee take possession of these documents, and others, without delay,” explained Nadler.
Highlights from the Judiciary Committee vote below:
Nadler pushes for report release
Speaking before Wednesday’s vote, Nadler said in opening remarks that on multiple occasions, he asked Barr “to work with us to go to the court and obtain access to materials.” Nadler claimed however that Barr has “so far refused.”
“I will give him time to change his mind. But if we cannot reach an accommodation, then we will have no choice but to issue subpoenas for these materials. And if the Department still refuses, then it should be up to a judge—not the President or his political appointee—to decide whether or not it is appropriate for the Committee to review the complete record,” said Nadler.
Republicans blast committee probe
Ranking Member Rep. Doug Collins, R-Georgia, meanwhile slammed the committee’s ongoing probe of the president and investigation, saying time would best be spent on issues like the crisis on the Southern border. Collins said the asks for further documents was “reckless, irresponsible and disingenuous.”
“What’s the rush? Spring break probably, we don’t want to wait until May,” Collins suggested of Nadler’s calls for subpoenas as Barr has vowed to testify before lawmakers in early May. He claimed Democrats were simply calling for the subpoenas of documents to make headlines after Mueller didn’t make a determination as to whether Mr. Trump committed obstruction of justice.
“This is great political theater,” he added, arguing that asking Barr to release any grand jury materials was illegal, citing potential national security issues.
Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado echoed Collins, saying the public release could “comprise intelligence sources and methods” that Barr previously expressed concerns about this to the committee.
“As much as Democrats may hate the president, I would hope you love America more,” said Buck. He said that “if love trumps hate” Democrats should afford the attorney general enough time to properly release the findings.
Rep. John Ratcliffe of Texas meanwhile urged a subpoena of Robert Mueller himself, saying the committee should let Mueller speak about “whether or not he thinks the report he created should be disclosed without considerations of redactions of classified information.”
Fellow Texan Louie Gohmert blasted Democrats claiming they were the ones who colluded with the Russian government. He called the ongoing probe an “outrageous assault on the office of the president even after the truth has come out.”
“It’s time to go back and clean up the mess that’s been made,” added Gohmert.
Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida agreed with Gohmert, saying Democrats are in denial over Muller’s report, saying the report’s initial release is the the “death rattle of the Democrats’ Russian collusion lie.” He said they’re going through the “stages of grief” in real time over Mueller’s less-than-fruitful findings into obstruction of justice and collusion.
CBS News’ Rebecca Kaplan contributed to this report.