US Justice Department to provide Mueller evidence: Top Democrat

The US Justice Department has agreed to provide evidence gathered during Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation to politicians who are considering whether to launch impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump, a top Democrat said on Monday.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler said he will hold off on a threat to bring criminal contempt charges against Attorney General William Barr, as long as the Justice Department continues to provide materials sought by his committee.

The agreement marks a rare moment of compromise between the Trump administration and congressional Democrats, who have been seeking materials from Mueller’s two-year investigation, which examined Russia’s interference in the 2016 US presidential election and whether Trump tried to undermine the probe.

Nadler’s committee has issued subpoenas for an unredacted version of Mueller’s 448-page report, released in April, as well as underlying evidence gathered during the process.

The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives is expected to vote on Tuesday on a measure that would authorise a lawsuit to enforce those subpoenas.

Nadler said there will be no need to move forward with the lawsuit if the Justice Department provides the material sought by his committee. 

“It is critical that Congress is able to obtain the information we need to do our jobs,” he said in a statement.

The agreement indicates that the Trump administration is not stonewalling Congress, the committee’s top Republican, Representative Doug Collins, said.

“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 former White House counsel tomorrow?” Collins said.

A redacted version of the Mueller report was published in April. It concluded there was no conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Moscow. But Mueller declined to make a judgment on whether President Trump obstructed justice, though the report outlined 10 instances in which Trump tried to impede the investigation.

Barr and former deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein subsequently determined Trump had not broken the law.

SOURCE:
Al Jazeera and news agencies

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