House approves measure calling for Mueller report to be made public

Clay Curtis
March 15, 2019

A Justice Department official described as special counsel Robert Mueller's "pit bull" is leaving the Russian Federation investigation, signaling that the probe is nearing its end.

Special counsel Robert Mueller (L) arrives at the U.S. Capitol for closed meeting with members of the Senate Judiciary Committee June 21, 2017 in Washington, DC.

The resolution calls for whatever report Mueller gives the attorney general to be publicly released in full, with the exception of classified or grand jury information. But the resolution does not force Barr to do so.

It's unclear if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will introduce the measure in his chamber.

The vote came as expectations rise that Mueller is near to bringing to a close a almost two-year-old investigation that has focused on whether Trump's 2016 campaign colluded with the Russians.

"My goal will be to provide as much transparency as I can consistent with the law", he said in his opening statement, saying he believes "it is very important that the public and Congress be informed of the results of the special counsel's work".

At least one Republican is siding with Democrats. They do not require release of the report but also do not prevent Barr from giving the entire document to Congress.

The House passed the largely symbolic resolution Thursday morning as pressure mounts on the Justice Department to release Mueller's full report in a 420-0 vote.

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Trump has repeatedly described the investigation as a "witch hunt".

Texas Rep. Will Hurd, a Republican member on the House Intelligence Committee who represents a swing district along the southern border, called on his colleagues to support "full transparency". The four were Representatives Justin Amash, Matt Gaetz, Thomas Massie and Paul Gosar.

On Thursday afternoon, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of NY attempted to bring the Mueller report resolution to the Senate floor by asking for unanimous consent and calling for the Senate to pass the measure.

"[Barr] understands the questions and turmoil this has caused", Collins said.

Barr, a Trump nominee who took over the Justice Department last month, replaced Jeff Sessions, who the president ousted in November after long complaining that the former senator had recused himself in 2017 from overseeing the Russian Federation probe.

Graham, a Trump ally, blocked the action unless Democrats backed a move they oppose: the appointment of a special counsel to investigate Democratic former President Barack Obama's administration's handling of an investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server as secretary of state and FBI surveillance of a Trump campaign official.

Democrats - and several Republicans - want Barr to release more than just Mueller's full report.

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