On Monday, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) announced a deal with the Justice Department that will result in the committee obtaining “the most important files” from the Mueller report concerning potential obstruction of justice and may end a push to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt.
“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 in a statement Monday. “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.”
Nadler said that both his fellow Democrats and Republicans would be given access to the documents, which he would begin sharing with committee members this evening.
“Given our conversations with the Department, I will hold the criminal contempt process in abeyance for now,” said Nadler. “We have agreed to allow the Department time to demonstrate compliance with this agreement. If the Department proceeds in good faith and we are able to obtain everything we need, then there will be no need to take further steps. If important information is held back, then we will have no choice but to enforce our subpoena in court and consider other remedies.”
The New York Times, which first reported the story, notes that “the exact scope of the material the Justice Department has agreed to provide was not immediately clear.” However, as the paper highlights, Nadler has cited in the past his request for access to passages related to “certain incidents when the special counsel found ‘substantial evidence’ of obstruction of justice”:
Those incidences include Mr. Trump’s attempts to fire Mr. Mueller, the special counsel; his request that Donald F. McGahn II, the former White House counsel, create “a fraudulent record denying that incident;” and Mr. Trump’s efforts to get former Attorney General Jeff Sessions to undo his recusal and curtail the scope of the special counsel inquiry.
Though Nadler said they would pause a contempt resolution concerning the unredacted Mueller report documents, as Fox News notes, plans by the House Democrats to present a “contempt-related resolution to enforce subpoenas against Barr and former White House Counsel Don McGahn” is still in the works. That measure may be voted on as early as Tuesday.
Both Democrats and Republicans have expressed some relief about the break in the stalemate over the Mueller documents, Republican Doug Collins (GA), a ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, pointing to the development as evidence that the Justice Department isn’t “stonewalling” Congress like Democrats allege.
“Today’s good faith provision from the administration further debunks claims that the White House is stonewalling Congress, which Chairman Schiff’s successful negotiations with the Justice Department already showed,” said Collins, the Times reports.