House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer are demanding that the full report completed by special counsel Robert Mueller be released to the public.
“Now that Special Counsel Mueller has submitted his report to the Attorney General, it is imperative for Mr. Barr to make the full report public and provide its underlying documentation and findings to Congress,” the Democratic congressional leaders said in a joint statement late Friday afternoon after news broke that Mueller’s report had been submitted to the Justice Department.
They added that Attorney General Bill Barr, who notified Congress of the report’s completion Friday, “must not give President Trump, his lawyers or his staff any ‘sneak preview’ of Special Counsel Mueller’s findings or evidence, and the White House must not be allowed to interfere in decisions about what parts of those findings or evidence are made public.
“The watchword is transparency,” Pelosi and Schumer concluded.
Barr, in his letter to Congress, said he was “reviewing the report and anticipate that I may be in a position to advise you of the Special Counsel’s principal conclusions as soon as this weekend.”
The full report was not expressly written for public consumption, as Vox’s Alex Ward noted:
One thing to note here is that the report is meant for the attorney general’s eyes only at this point — not Congress and not the public. The only specific information we have on its contents is that it should explain Mueller’s “prosecution and declination decisions,” but the level of detail it will include is not clear.
But Democrats are still going to demand that the entire report be released publicly.
Make. The. Whole. Thing. Public.— Rep. Jim McGovern (@RepMcGovern) March 22, 2019
"There is no excuse for concealing any part of this report along with its findings and evidence – it would be tantamount to a cover-up," said Dem Sen Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, a member of the Judiciary Committee.— Laura Litvan (@LauraLitvan) March 22, 2019
Republicans in Congress, meanwhile, are urging Barr to make as much information public as possible — though they are not making quite the same unequivocal demand that Democrats are.
McConnell on Mueller report: "The Attorney General has said he intends to provide as much information as possible. As I have said previously, I sincerely hope he will do so as soon as he can, and with as much openness and transparency as possible.” pic.twitter.com/EThLbFeRam— Craig Caplan (@CraigCaplan) March 22, 2019
After 2 years, the special counsel has concluded his investigation, & I look forward to reviewing AG Barr’s report carefully, when it becomes available. I expect DOJ to release the special counsel’s report to this committee & public w/o delay & to maximum extent permitted by law. pic.twitter.com/PG6WT0G9ZA— Rep. Doug Collins (@RepDougCollins) March 22, 2019
As Vox’s Andrew Prokop observed, “there are potentially good reasons for concealing parts of Mueller’s report — the likely use of classified information, the need for grand jury witness secrecy, and Justice Department policy not to opine about uncharged individuals.”
Still, as the Pelosi and Schumer statement shows, Democrats clearly fear a cover-up.
For now, we wait to see how much Barr reports to Congress, possibly as soon as this weekend — and what, exactly, Mueller found.