Even as Donald Trump’s handpicked Attorney General William Barr and Trump’s close political allies talk openly today about supposedly releasing the Robert Mueller report, there is no reason to take this at face value. Barr just issued a “summary” that laughably mischaracterized the report, so he certainly can’t be trusted to release the report. But now House Democrats are quickly moving forward with their plan to force the Mueller report to be released.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is pushing today to get the Senate to pass a resolution – which was already unanimously passed by the House – calling for the Mueller report to be released. This resolution is not legally binding. But it will force Trump to either sign or veto this resolution, which will put the public’s focus on the fact that the public is being denied access to the Mueller report. But that’s only half the battle.
House Democrats are surely going to use their majority power to subpoena the Mueller report, which will result in a court battle. In such case, a resolution overwhelmingly passed by both parties, in both houses of Congress, will go a long way toward making the House Democrats’ argument for them in court.
In the meantime we fully expect House Democrats to subpoena Robert Mueller himself to publicly testify. There is every reason to expect he’ll cooperate with any such subpoena, and the only battle would be how much of his report the DOJ tries to claim is “classified.” Short of that, Mueller can testify about as much of his findings he sees fit.
Update, 6:25pm: Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham have now blocked the Senate vote, despite no apparent support from other Republican Senators. As we explained, this was a non-binding resolution to begin with. When House Democrats subpoena the Mueller report, they can still make the strong legal argument that every publicly elected official in the House has voted for the report to become public.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report