House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler — who is calling for the full Mueller report to be released unredacted — argued in 1998 it would be “unfair” to release independent counsel Ken Starr’s complete report regarding Bill Clinton because it contained “salacious” material and unverified testimony.
Six Democratic House committee chairs, including Nadler, Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff and Financial Services Committee Chair Maxine Waters sent a letter to Attorney General William Barr on Monday demanding the release of the unredacted Mueller report, as well as the evidence underlying it. If Barr fails to comply, the Democratic leaders promised to issue subpoenas.
“On Wednesday, April 3, 2019, the House Judiciary Committee plans to begin the process of authorizing subpoenas for the report and underlying evidence and materials. While we hope to avoid resort to compulsory process, if the Department is unwilling to produce the report to Congress in unredacted form, then we will have little choice but to take such action,” the letter reads.
Barr has promised to deliver as much of the Mueller report as he legally can to Congress, without redactions, by the middle of April.
The attorney general has noted that Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 6(e) prevents him from disclosing matters occurring before a grand jury, including the testimony of witnesses, without a judge’s approval.
This rule is meant to protect both the subjects of a grand jury inquiry and those participating in it when prosecutors decide there is not sufficient evidence to bring indictments.
In a 1998 interview on PBS’ Charlie Rose show, Nadler, then a member of the Judiciary Committee, cited rule 6(e) as a reason much of the Starr report could not be released publicly.
“It’s grand jury material,” he said. “It represents statements, which may or may not be true by various witnesses, salacious material, all kinds of material that it would be unfair to release.”
.@realDonaldTrump is right!
In 1998, @RepJerryNadler opposed release of the Starr Report “as a matter of decency”
“It represents statements which may or may not be true by various witnesses, salacious material, all kinds of material that it would be unfair to release.” – Nadler pic.twitter.com/qETt0yMxaJ
— Brian Anderson (@AZBrianAnderson) April 2, 2019
The congressman went on to state that “somebody” would have to go through the report “to determine what is fit for release and what is a matter of decency protecting people’s privacy rights, people who may be totally innocent third parties, must not be released at all.”
The regulations governing the special counsel place the responsibility with the attorney general to undertake this review, which Barr has stated he is doing.
Harvard Law School professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz said on Fox News on Monday that no court should order the attorney general to release grand jury materials.
He explained what the Democrats want to try to second guess and raise doubts about the special counsel’s findings.
No court should order the AG of the executive branch to release grand jury material.https://t.co/45qxNo2Oxg
— Alan Dershowitz (@AlanDersh) April 2, 2019
Dershowitz contended it is not the role of Department of Justice to publicly accuse people of wrongdoing, who they have chosen not to indict.
He pointed to the example of former FBI Director James Comey failing to follow DOJ protocol when he held a news conference in July 2016 to announce that Hillary Clinton would not be criminally indicted for the mishandling of “highly classified information,” though she had been “extremely careless” in handling it.
“The best test is the shoe on the other foot test,” Dershowitz said. “When we go back to Comey’s statement. If Comey had said, ‘We’re just not going to indict Hillary Clinton on the emails’ and the Republicans said, ‘Wait a minute, we heard you have a report that said she was extremely careless. We want you to release that.’
“The Democrats would have jumped up and down, and said, ‘No, no, no. Prosecutors don’t say anything negative about people they haven’t indicted.’”
House Freedom Caucus Chair Mark Meadows of North Carolina told Fox News that Nadler has clearly flip-flopped by calling for the release of grand jury materials.
“What they’re trying to do is change the narrative and pick and choose little parts so they can go after the president, once again,” he said.
Trump responded to Nadler and his fellow Democrats’ demands at the White House on Tuesday, saying, “It’s ridiculous. We went through two years of the Mueller investigation. Who could go through that and get wording ‘no collusion,’ no nothing?”
Pres. Trump on possible House vote to subpoena full Mueller report: “Anything we give them will never be enough.”
— ABC News (@ABC) April 2, 2019
“Anything we give them will never be enough,” the president said.
He pledged to stand by what Barr decides should be released.
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