Justice Department agrees to turn over Mueller documents: Schiff

by Kim Boateng Posted on May 22nd, 2019

Easing some of the escalating tension between Congress and the White House, the House Intelligence Committee postponed efforts to enforce a subpoena against the Justice Department on Wednesday after officials agreed to hand over a cache of documents related to special counsel Robert Mueller’s Trump-Russia report.

The agreement came a day after the department said it would be willing to provide documents from Mueller’s investigation but only if the committee didn’t take action against Attorney General William Barr. The panel had been expected to vote at Wednesday’s meeting — now postponed — on an unspecified “enforcement action” against Barr or the department after they refused to hand over an unredacted version of Mueller’s report and other documents related to the Russia probe.

Democrats have accused President Donald Trump and Barr of trying to stonewall and block their constitutional oversight duties. A separate House panel voted earlier this month to hold Barr in contempt after he failed to comply with a similar subpoena.

The Justice Department will begin turning over 12 categories of “counterintelligence and foreign intelligence materials as part of an initial rolling production,” and that process should be completed by the end of next week, Rep. Adam Schiff, the intelligence committee’s chairman, said in a statement.

Schiff, a California Democrat, warned that the subpoena would remain in effect and “will be enforced should the Department fail to comply with the full document request.”

Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd told Schiff in a letter Tuesday that the Justice Department would be willing to make less-redacted portions of the report available to members of the committee and that officials were reviewing troves of investigative documents that were also requested by the committee.

“We appreciate the continued dialogue with the Committee and look forward to working toward appropriately accommodating their requests,” department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said Wednesday.

The decision ended a standoff between the Democratic-led committee and the Justice Department for access to counterintelligence reports generated by Special Counsel Robert Mueller during his probe of President Donald Trump and his associates.

The dispute, one of many between the Republican administration and the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives, has come as Trump refuses to cooperate with numerous congressional probes into matters ranging from his personal finances and business dealings to Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Schiff canceled a committee meeting to consider enforcement action on Wednesday.

Barr, the top U.S. law enforcement official and a Trump appointee, on May 2 snubbed the House intelligence committee, which voted to hold him in contempt of Congress for not handing over a full, unredacted Mueller report.

The White House has accused Democrats of playing politics with the congressional probes.

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