House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her Democratic allies have a nasty surprise waiting for President Donald Trump.
With special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe just days away from being delivered to the Attorney General, Pelosi and her political allies are planning to make the most of the report. They’re inviting the media cameras to come along.
And they’re willing to go after the Justice Department to get their made-for-TV dramatic moments.
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House Democrats say they’re going to call Mueller to Capitol Hill, subpoena documents from him, and sue the Trump administration if the full report on Mueller’s Russia investigation is not made public by Attorney General William Barr.
Rep. Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said his committee will keep close watch on Barr to see if there’s any political gain to be made — and they’ll “take it to court if necessary.”
In other words, Democrats have made it clear that they are ready for a public fight with the Justice Department if they are not satisfied with Mueller’s findings.
Mueller is showing signs of wrapping up his nearly 2-year-old investigation into Russia’s efforts to sway the 2016 election. The report isn’t expected to be delivered to the Justice Department this coming week.
Barr has said he wants to release as much information as he can. But during his confirmation hearing last month, Barr made clear that he will decide what the public sees, and that any report will be in his words, not Mueller’s.
The House Intelligence Committee concluded in 2017 that there was no collusion. The Senate came to the same conclusion earlier this year. Mueller’s report is expected to say the same thing.
But that’s not enough for the Democrats. With Democrats taking control of the House in January and Schiff now the committee chairman, Pelosi-led Democrats have launched their own investigation.
That means re-examining issues already covered — at taxpayer expense. Schiff has said the committee also will pursue new matters, whatever they decide.
It’s seen by Democrats as a way to tie up the Trump administration in a wave of lawsuits, as well as revenge for the way former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was treated regarding her illegal email server.
Schiff said he told department officials after they released information related to the Hillary investigation that “this was a new precedent they were setting and they were going to have to live by this precedent whether it was a Congress controlled by the Democrats or Republicans.”
Democrats say they may use Mueller’s findings as the basis of impeachment proceedings. In a letter Friday, Democrats warned against withholding information on Trump on the basis of department opinions that the president can’t be indicted.
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Many Republicans have also argued that the full report should be released, though most have stopped short of saying it should be subpoenaed.
“We need to get the facts out there, get this behind us in a way that people thought that anybody that should have been talked to was talked to any question that should have been asked, was asked,” said Sen. Roy Blunt, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
But asked if he thought there could be a subpoena, Blunt, R-Mo., said, “I don’t know that you can.”
The Senate committee also has been investigating whether Trump’s campaign conspired with Russia. Blunt suggested a conclusion in that probe might wait until after Mueller’s report.
“We’d like to have frankly a little more access to the Mueller investigation before we come to a final conclusion,” Blunt said.
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“His report will help us write our final report,” Blunt continued. “We’ve given Mueller full access to all of our interviews all of our investigation. We haven’t had that reciprocated and so we’ll soon find out what else is out there that we might not know about.”
The Associated Press contributed to this article