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Law & the Courts

DOJ Agrees to Turn Over Mueller Evidence to House

Special counsel Robert Mueller delivers a statement on his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election at the Justice Department in Washington, D.C., May 29, 2019. (Jim Bourg/Reuters)

After weeks of negotiation, the Department of Justice has agreed to turn over to lawmakers key documentary evidence collected by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the House Judiciary Committee announced Monday.

The DOJ’s newfound willingness to furnish the documents appears to be the product of an agreement between the Trump administration and Judiciary Committee chairman Jerry Nadler, who announced Monday that he will not hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt, as he had previously threatened to do.

“I am pleased to announce that the Department of Justice has agreed to begin complying with our committee’s subpoena by opening Robert Mueller’s most important files to us, providing us with key evidence that the special counsel used to assess whether the President and others obstructed justice or were engaged in other misconduct,” Nadler said. “All members of the Judiciary Committee — Democrats and Republicans alike — will be able to view them. These documents will allow us to perform our Constitutional duties and decide how to respond to the allegations laid out against the President by the Special Counsel.”

The House moved to hold Barr in contempt after he refused to turn over Mueller’s full unredacted report due to constraints imposed on him by federal law. While he has agreed to halt the push to hold Barr in contempt for now, Nadler reserved the right to impose further sanctions “if important information is held back.”

While the House will still not be given access to Mueller’s full unredacted report, it will now receive a cache of documents, including FBI witness-interview summaries, contemporaneous notes, and memos cited in the report. The documents are expected to further lawmakers’ probe into the numerous instances in which Trump attempted to obstruct or otherwise influence Mueller’s probe.

The agreement was announced hours before the Judiciary Committee is scheduled to begin its first round of hearings on Mueller’s investigation and the president’s attempts to obstruct it. Since the Trump administration has blocked key witnesses, such as former White House Counsel Don McGahn, from testifying, Democrats have resorted to calling John Dean, who served as White House counsel to Richard Nixon, as their first witness.

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