WASHINGTON – The top two Democrats in Congress Thursday called on Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III to publicly testify before both the House and Senate.
“Attorney General Barr’s regrettably partisan handling of the Mueller report, including his slanted March 24th summary letter, his irresponsible testimony before Congress last week, and his indefensible plan to spin the report in a press conference later this morning — hours before he allows the public or Congress to see it — have resulted in a crisis of confidence in his independence and impartiality,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) said in a joint statement.
They added: “We believe the only way to begin restoring public trust in the handling of the Special Counsel’s investigation is for Special Counsel Mueller himself to provide public testimony in the House and Senate as soon as possible.”
Attorney General William Barr is expected to release a redacted version of Mueller’s final report on Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election later this morning. Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein are scheduled to hold a joint news conference ahead of the release.
Barr told Congress last week that the redactions are needed to protect national security interests as well as the identities of people who were interviewed but not charged. He said the redactions will be accompanied by side notes explaining why certain information cannot be made public.
Democrats have demanded that the entire report, which is estimated to be 300-400 pages, be made available to Congress.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) has said he is prepared to issue a subpoena for the full report.
Barr sent a four-page summary of Mueller’s report to key lawmakers on Capitol Hill last month that said the special counsel did not find any evidence of collusion between members of the Trump campaign and Russian officials during the 22-month investigation.
In his letter, Barr said that while Mueller’s report did not uncover any evidence that President Trump may have broken the law, “it also does not exonerate him.”
The New York Times has reported that Barr painted an over-optimistic picture of Mueller’s findings in the summary. The Times spoke with individuals believed to be involved in the drafting of the report.