- The Washington Times
Monday, April 22, 2019

The highest-ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee viewed a less-redacted copy of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report at the Justice Department on Monday, over Democrats’ objections to keeping the document in secret.

Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia is among the first lawmakers to view the more complete report. It is not known if other lawmakers have viewed the report or intend to do so later this week.

Mr. Collins said the section on whether President Trump attempted to obstruct justice only included four redactions.

Last week, the Justice Department offered key members of Congress an opportunity to view the less-redacted report, but insisted the information must remain secret.

The department will permit members of Congress to stop by and view the report from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day this week.

Lawmakers were required to view the document at a special secure room at the Justice Department and they cannot take materials out. They can take notes, but those notes must remain confidential, the Justice Department said.

The so-called Gang of Eight — the top leaders for each party as well as the top Democrat and Republican on the House and Senate Intelligence committees — were permitted to see the report. The top members of the House and Senate Judiciary committees were also invited.

Most of the invited lawmakers — including Republican Sen. Richard Burr and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — did not respond to requests from The Washington Times inquiring if they intended to view the less-redacted complete.

A spokeswoman for Rep Devin Nunes, California Republican, said he isn’t going this week because of his travel schedule.

Democrats have refused to look at the less-redacted version because they want to see the 448-page in its entirety, including confidential grand jury material. They’re also insisting that the public have more access to the redacted information as well.

On Monday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent a letter to Mr. Barr flatly rejecting his offer. She argued that by withholding the entire report the Justice Department is impeding Congress ability to exercise its constitutional authority.

“Your proposed accommodation — which among other things would prohibit discussion of the full report, even with other Committee Members — is not acceptable,” she wrote.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, New York Democrat, issued a subpoena Friday morning demanding the full document be produced to Congress.

Mr. Collins on Monday called on Democrats to view the less-redacted report.

“With the special counsel’s investigation complete, I encourage Chairman Nadler and Democrat leaders to view this material as soon as possible — unless they’re afraid to acknowledge the facts this report outlines,” he said.

Democrats are set to convene via conference call around 5 pm this evening so that committee chairs can discuss the redacted report, their requests for the full report and where the caucus goes from here.

Several prominent Democrats — including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and presidential hopefuls Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro — have called for House Democrats to start impeachment proceedings.

Mrs. Pelosi attempted to pull the reins back in on that particular political gamble.

“While our views range from proceeding to investigate the findings of the Mueller report or proceeding directly to impeachment, we all firmly agree that we should proceed down a path of finding the truth,” she wrote in a letter to her caucus.

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

• Gabriella Muñoz can be reached at gmunoz@washingtontimes.com.

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