Rep. Douglas A. Collins, the ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, urged Democrats on Monday to reconsider the Justice Department’s offer to allow them to view a less-redacted version of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report.
Collins’s suggestion followed the rejection of that offer Friday by leading House and Senate Democrats, who are insisting that Congress is entitled to see the full report. To that end, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) sent a subpoena to Attorney General William P. Barr on Friday.
In his statement, Collins (R-Ga.) said he had reviewed the less-redacted version of the special counsel’s report earlier Monday, including an 182-page section that explores whether actions President Trump took constituted obstruction of the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Collins said that the version of the report he saw contained only four redactions in that section and that it supports the “principal conclusions” that Barr announced last month. In a letter to Congress, Barr exonerated Trump of illegally coordinating with Russia during the 2016 campaign and of obstruction of the probe.
“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,” Collins said. He said the Justice Department was making an “extraordinary” accommodation.
On Friday, Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said the Judiciary Committee subpoena was “premature and unnecessary” considering how much of the report is already public and the department’s offer to let lawmakers see the less-redacted version of it.
That prompted the letter from Democratic leaders rejecting the offer.
The Democrats said Barr’s proposal would allow only 12 members of Congress to view the less-redacted version of the report in person and would not permit them to discuss it with colleagues who all have top security clearances.
“While the current proposal is not workable, we are open to discussing a reasonable accommodation with the Department that would protect law enforcement sensitive information while allowing Congress to fulfill its constitutional duties,” the Democrats wrote.
The letter was signed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and the top Democrats on the Judiciary and Intelligence committees in both chambers.
Upon releasing Mueller’s report, Barr said the redactions fell into several categories, including material related to other ongoing investigations; material protected by grand-jury proceedings; information that was classified; and information that infringed on the personal privacy of peripheral figures.