On a day when hearings on “presidential obstruction and other crimes” were set to begin, House Judiciary Chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) announced that the Department of Justice (DOJ) had agreed to begin turning over “key evidence” from Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.
“I am pleased to announce that the Department of Justice has agreed to begin complying with our committee’s subpoena by opening Robert Mueller’s most important files to us, providing us with key evidence that the Special Counsel used to assess whether [President Donald Trump] and others obstructed justice or were engaged in other misconduct,” Nadler said Monday. “All members of the Judiciary Committee—Democrats and Republicans alike—will be able to view them. These documents will allow us to perform our constitutional duties and decide how to respond to the allegations laid out against the President by the Special Counsel.”
While the full scope of the documents the Department of Justice plans to turn over is not yet known, the Committee believes that obtaining the documents could be a turning point in the Committee’s investigation into whether President Trump committed obstruction of justice, according to The New York Times.
Nadler’s Committee had been negotiating with Attorney General William Barr and the Department of Justice for weeks to gain access to the remaining redacted portions of Mueller’s report, as well as the underlying evidence used by the Special Counsel’s Office. The announcement comes just one day before the House was scheduled to vote to authorize civil action against Barr for his refusal to produce the documents.
Nadler also stated that his Committee will delay scheduled contempt hearings stemming from the matter, provided the DOJ acts in good faith with their agreement.
“Given our conversations with the Department, I will hold the criminal contempt process in abeyance for now. We have agreed to allow the Department time to demonstrate compliance with this agreement. If the Department proceeds in good faith and we are able to obtain everything that we need, then there will be no need to take further steps,” Nadler continued. “If important information is held back, then we will have no choice but to enforce our subpoenaing court and consider other remedies.”
The DOJ previously called contempt proceedings “premature and unnecessary,” adding that it was willing to engage in further negotiations if contempt was taken off the table.
Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, said in a statement that he was glad Nadler “has finally met [DOJ] at the negotiating table,” saying that the agreement “further debunks” any claims that the White House was stonewalling Congress on the issue.
“In light of today’s agreement from the Justice Department, it’s logical to ask: 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.
[image via PBS screengrab]
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