House to Likely Pass Bill Forcing Public Release of Mueller Report Today

Doug Mills  The New York Times News Service

The House voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to pass a measure calling for the Justice Department to release special counsel Robert Mueller's report to the public, an effort to increase pressure on the agency ahead of the expected conclusion of the probe into Russian meddling into the 2016 election.

Federal law requires Mueller to present Attorney General William Barr with a confidential report upon the completion of his work, but it's ultimately Barr's call on how much of that report is made public.

The Democratic-backed resolution, which passed 420-0, comes as Mueller is nearing an end to his investigation.

Four Republicans voted present: Michigan Rep. Justin Amash, Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar and Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie.

Before Thursday's vote, Rep.

Justice Department regulations governing the appointment of special counsels give Barr latitude in deciding how much of the report to made public.

U.S. Representative Jerry Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and author of the resolution, said on the House floor: "It is important that Congress stand up for the principle of full transparency at a time when the president has publicly attacked the Russian Federation investigation more than 1,100 times and counting". He has promised members of Congress to send his own "report" on Mueller's investigation to lawmakers, but it's unclear what that will contain.


The rules do not require release of the report, but also do not explicitly prevent Barr from giving the entire document to Congress.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has been less eager to push Barr on the release of the report, despite some in his caucus who have said they want to ensure transparency.

Democrats - and several Republicans - want Barr to release more than just Mueller's full report.

For Democrats, however, passing the resolution was an important gesture, as during his confirmation hearing, Barr refused to pledge to release the full report to the public.

Graham said he agrees "with the concept of transparency", but stopped short of supporting Grassley's bill, saying he disagrees with taking discretion away from the attorney general.

Then-Attorney General nominee William Barr testifies during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington in January.

The Mueller investigation so far has resulted in indictments against 34 individuals and three companies, seven guilty pleas and one conviction following a jury trial.

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