House calls for upcoming Mueller report to be made public

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The House voted overwhelmingly and in bipartisan fashion Thursday (March 14) to urge the Justice Department to publicly release the entirety of special counsel Robert Mueller's report into Russian interference in the 2016 election, once completed.

Federal law requires Mueller to present Attorney General William Barr with a confidential report upon the completion of his work, but it's ultimately Barr's call on how much of that report is made public.

The resolution, introduced last week by the heads of six House oversight committees that are investigating Trump, calls on Barr to make public everything in the Mueller report that is not expressly prohibited by law and to provide the entire document to Congress.

Four Republicans voted present: Michigan Rep. Justin Amash, Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar and Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie.

Despite the House's vote on Thursday, the decision of how much of Mueller's report becomes public still rests in Barr's hands. Jerry Nadler, D-New York, told lawmakers that the report should be made available to the public and Congress, emphasizing that "transparency is fundamental to the special counsel's process".

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Several Republicans have also agreed that Mueller should release not simply the full report, but any and all investigative materials that informed it.

Texas Rep. Will Hurd, a GOP member of the House intelligence committee, said before the vote that he believes the resolution should have been even broader to include the release of underlying evidence.

While Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell could refuse to bring the bill to a vote, and Trump could always veto it, what this bill will do is at least force multiple Republicans go on record when the majority of both Democrats and Republicans want a full disclosure of Mueller's findings, according to recent polls.

But Democrats have said they are unsatisfied with Barr's answers and want a stronger commitment to releasing the full report, along with interview transcripts and other underlying evidence. It makes clear classified or other information not appropriate for public release would not be expected to be published. "We have no reason to think Attorney General Barr would back away from those statements", Collins said.

The Mueller investigation so far has resulted in indictments against 34 individuals and three companies, seven guilty pleas and one conviction following a jury trial.

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