- The Washington Times - Monday, April 8, 2019

Rep. Doug Collins, the top Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee on Monday urged Democrats to invite special counsel Robert Mueller to testify before Congress rather than continuing to accuse Attorney General William P. Barr of a cover-up.

In a letter to House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, New York Democrat, Mr. Collins said Democrats’ demands for the entire report is essentially a trap for Mr. Barr, because they are asking him to release confidential grand jury information, prohibited from becoming public under federal law.

Last week, a Justice Department spokeswoman said “every page” of Mr. Mueller’s report contains confidential information.

“You and your fellow Democrats created an untenable but politically convenient situation: force Attorney General William P. Barr to break the law to comply with your subpoena or label him as part of a cover-up if he does not,” Mr. Collins, Georgia Republican, wrote.

Mr. Collins said compelling testimony from the special counsel instead of Mr. Barr will give the American public a clearer picture of his ultimate findings.

“If you seek both transparency and for the American public to learn the full contours of the Special Counsel’s investigation, public testimony from Special Counsel Mueller himself is undoubtedly the best way to accomplish this goal,” wrote Mr. Collins, Georgia Republican.

The letter comes after Democrats on the committee last week voted to authorize a subpoena for Mr. Mueller’s full report along with the underlying evidence used in the investigation.

Mr. Collins signaled in his letter that Democrats’ subpoena efforts are political theater, saying the only way they can access Mr. Mueller’s underlying evidence is to open an impeachment inquiry.

“You refuse to head down that path for political reasons, and have chosen the path of greatest resistance, and least legality — attacking the attorney general for refusing to break the law while misleading the American public about what the law requires or allows,” Mr. Collins wrote.

Mr. Nadler has said he will give Mr. Barr time to hand over the unredacted version of the special counsel’s report, but he has not given him a firm deadline. Mr. Barr said he wants to provide the report to Congress but cautioned redactions may lengthen the process.

Nonetheless, Mr. Collins wrote the Democrats are wasting their time focusing on the attorney general.

“Attorney General Barr was never part of this investigation, and instead simply reviewed the special counsel’s final report …,” Mr. Collins wrote. “While he can testify surrounding his decision to provide the committee with principal conclusions, it is special counsel Mueller who is best-positioned to testify regarding the underlying facts and material in which you are so interested.”

Mr. Nadler has indicated that he wants to have Mr. Mueller testify but preferred to wait until he sees the full report before making the request.

Last month, Mr. Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein authored a four-page letter to Congress saying Mr. Mueller cleared President Trump and members of his Cabinet of conspiring with Russia. They also wrote that there was not enough evidence to charge the president with obstruction of justice after Mr. Mueller declined to make a call either way.

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