Now that Donald Trump has placed most or all of his remaining chips down on the bet that he and William Barr can keep the Mueller report from becoming public, Trump should be worried. It’s a hand he can’t win – at least not for long. In the meantime, with mounting polling data showing that most Americans think Trump committed crimes, and that most Americans want to see the report, the question is this: why don’t the House Democrats do something?
The short answer is that they simply don’t have a magic wand for making the Mueller report immediately appear before our eyes. They can subpoena the report, but Barr and his DOJ would fight that subpoena in court, and then we’d be left with some judge trying to decide how much of this report should become public. That process could take a long time. So this leaves House Democrats with two other options.
The first option is to subpoena Robert Mueller himself, so he can go before the cameras and testify about his investigation. But Barr and his DOJ would also fight this in court. Even if Mueller wants to come in and share every word of his report in front of the television cameras, it would still be up to a judge to decide how much Mueller is allowed to reveal. The second option is to subpoena Barr to testify, and use the hearing to try to trip up Barr into admitting the real reason he’s trying to suppress the report, as the entire nation looks on.
House Democrats have firmly established this Tuesday as Barr’s deadline for handing over the full Mueller report. Barr has already made clear that it’s not going to happen. So on Tuesday we’ll find out which strategy the Democrats are going to invoke in the name of forcing Barr’s hand. Based on the fierce words from the likes of Nancy Pelosi this week, expect the Democrats to move as aggressively as possible. Just keep in mind that while they have the upper hand, this is not a simple process.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report