- The Washington Times - Monday, June 10, 2019

The Justice Department will turn over some of special counsel Robert Mueller’s evidence to the House Judiciary Committee, and has agreed to make it viewable by all the members of the panel, Chairman Jerrold Nadler announced Monday.

Mr. Nadler did not say exactly which documents he and his colleagues will now have access to, only describing it as Mr. Mueller’s “most important files” that will help the committee judge how Mr. Mueller drew his conclusions.

But the agreement does mark a breakthrough in the House’s question to get a look at more of Mr. Mueller’s work. At the same time, it also challenges Democrats’ argument that the administration is reflexively resisting any cooperation.

The files appear to be supporting evidence Mr. Mueller amassed during his two-year probe into the 2016 election, Russian meddling and President Trump’s behavior.

“These documents will also us to perform our constitutional duties and decide how to respond to allegations laid out against the president by the special counsel,” Mr. Nadler said in a statement.

He had issued a subpoena months ago demanding full access to all of Mr. Mueller’s report and supporting evidence.

The deal between Mr. Nadler and the Justice Department comes a day before the House is slated to vote on a resolution authorizing Mr. Nadler and other committee chairmen to go to court to pursue civil contempt proceedings. That would involve asking a judge to referee disputes over documents.

That vote will still take place, the Judiciary Committee said.

But Mr. Nadler said he will not pursue a separate criminal contempt of Congress process against Attorney General William P. Barr.

Mr. Nadler said that would be held “in abeyance for now.”

Mr. Barr has released a redacted version of the Mueller report publicly, and made a less-redacted version available to a select group of lawmakers. He had promised to work on expanding access to that, and to releasing some of the supporting evidence to lawmakers, too.

But he has said under the law he cannot release grand jury information, which means the full report cannot be released.

He defied several of Mr. Nadler’s deadlines.

The issue came to a head when the Judiciary Committee voted to hold Mr. Barr in contempt and the Trump administration responded by asserting executive privilege over Mr. Mueller’s full report.

Mr. Nadler said the deal suggests there may be no need for him to pursue that fight.

“If the department proceeds in good faith and we are able to obtain everything the the need, then there will be no need to take further steps,” he said. “If important information is held back, then will have no choice but to enforce our subpoena in court and consider other remedies.”

Rep. Doug Collins, the ranking Republican on the committee, said the agreement, combined with another one struck with the House intelligence committee previously, shows Mr. Barr is willing to work with Congress.

“In light of today’s agreement from the Justice Department. it’s logical to ask: Is the chairman prepared to rescind his baseless recommendation to hold the attorney general in contempt or do House Democrats still plan to green light lawsuits against the attorney general and White House counsel tomorrow,” Mr. Collins said.

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