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House Unanimously Votes to Force Mueller Report to Be Released; Graham Blocks Measure in Senate
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15 Mar 2019 01:07 PM EST

By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Lindsey Graham (Image source: Michael Vadon via Wikimedia Commons)

 

 

It's not so much a partisan battle at this point — now it's a chamber battle. The House unanimously voted to force the Justice Department to release Special Counsel Robert Mueller's eventual report publicly, meaning every Democrat and every Republican either voted affirmatively or didn't vote at all. However, it never had a chance in the Senate, as Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) blocked it. 

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) noted that this measure is an attempt to "send a clear signal both to the American people and the Department of Justice" that they expect to see the full report of Mueller's nearly two years of work. It's widely expected that he is close to finishing his Russia and obstruction of justice investigations.

 

The vote was 420 in favor of forcing the Mueller report to be made public with zero voting no. Four members of the House voted "present." 

This resolution alone isn't all that's necessary to force the DOJ, namely Attorney General William Barr, to publish the report, leading to some Republicans feeling the vote was a waste of time.

 

"Attorney General Barr said he wants to be transparent with Congress and the public, consistent with the rules and the law," commented Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) on the House floor on Thursday. He added that the resolution was "simply a restatement of the regulation." 

Despite the overwhelming approval of the measure in the House, it never had a chance in the Senate. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) tried to force a vote on Thursday, but he was blocked by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Graham.

 

He is not going to go along with the resolution unless the lawmakers also ask Barr to appoint a second special counsel "to investigate Department of Justice misconduct" during the investigations of Donald Trump's suspected collusion with Russia and Hillary Clinton's emails. Schumer, not surprisingly, refused to do so. 

This is something the House Democrats feel strongly about, as they have suspected all along that Barr was nominated for attorney general by Trump just because of his prior public comments against Mueller and his investigation. Additionally, Barr refused during his confirmation hearing to agree to release the full report. He also doesn't support sitting presidents being indicted.

 

"To maintain that a sitting president cannot be indicted no matter how much evidence there is because he's a sitting president, and then to withhold evidence of wrongdoing from Congress because the president cannot be charged, is to convert the DOJ policy into the means for a coverup," said Nadler just before the vote. 

It's not just a bipartisan issue either, as there are several Republicans who agree with the Democrats that it should be released.

 

"I want the American people to know as much as they can and to see as much as they can," said Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX), a member of the Intelligence Committee and a former CIA officer. "The taxpayers paid millions for this information, and they should get to see all of it." 

"Disclosure is uniquely imperative here because the special counsel reportedly is investigating whether the president himself engaged in misconduct," said House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA).

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