Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) called an emergency conference call of Democratic leadership Saturday afternoon to discuss how to proceed amid news that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials may not result in a presidential indictment.
“Today, we are having an emergency Caucus conference call at 3:00 p.m. E.T. to discuss the transmittal of the Mueller report to the Department of Justice (DOJ),” Pelosi wrote in a letter to colleagues issued Saturday morning. “While we do not know the substance of the report, we will have the relevant Committees of jurisdiction on the call today to update Members on where we go from here.”
Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) also issued an official statement on the matter, calling for “transparency” on the issue of Russian collusion, and demanding that the full Mueller report, once processed by the Department of Justice, be made public, and that any briefings on the subjct of Russian collusion be unclassified.
Pelosi also made clear in her letter ahead of the call that Democrats do not intend to let the issue of Russian collusion go, even if Mueller’s report — as suspected — shows no evidence of actual collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials to impact the outcome of the 2016 Presidential election.
Even if DOJ chooses not to prosecute additional individuals, the underlying findings must be provided to Congress and the American people. The Attorney General’s offer to provide the Committees with a summary of the report’s conclusions is insufficient. Congress requires the full report and the underlying documents so that the Committees can proceed with their independent work, including oversight and legislating to address any issues the Mueller report may raise.
On the call, prominent Democrats, including Pelosi, made two important points about the Democratic response to the report: one, that Pelosi and other prominent Democrats and committee leaders will not take any classified briefings in relation to the report, and two, that Congressional investigators, like Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), are peparing to alter their planned investigations into the president, his inner circle, and his business dealings, to include both Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his forthcoming report.
“Everyone pounded the transparency drum continuously,” a source on the call told Politico, noting that Democrats are demanding the full Mueller report be made public.
“Pelosi said it was her belief that the findings of the report should be unclassified,” Politico continued, adding that “[Pelosi will] rebuff any efforts by the Justice Department to reveal details of special counsel Robert Mueller’s findings in a highly classified setting — a tactic she warned could be employed to shield the report’s conclusions from the public.”
Subsequent reports confirmed that Pelosi will not be accepting any briefings on Mueller’s report.
Speaker Pelosi told colleagues today that she’d reject any classified briefing on the Mueller report. She wants it public so members can discuss it. Summary from AG Barr and/or DOJ briefing seen as insufficient. Release the report publicly. That was her msg, per Ds on 3 pm call.
— Robert Costa (@costareports) March 23, 2019
The full report is not expected to be immediately available. Attorney General William Barr is expected to release a summary of Mueller’s key conclusions sometime this weekend.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Schiff also reportedly began formulating his own plan to grill Mueller on his conclusions if they do not match up with what Democrats had long-anticipated. Speaking to CNN, Schiff told host Wolf Blitzer that he expects to extend his current investigations into the Trump White House to include Robert Mueller, and that he may subpoena the special counsel to answer questions about his processes.
“If necessary, we will call Bob Mueller or others before our committee,” Schiff said, adding that he believes the House Judiciary Committee may also want to question the attorney general.
“At the end of the day, the (Justice) department is under a statutory obligation to provide our committee with any information regarding significant intelligence activities, including counterintelligence. And it’s hard to imagine anything more significant than what Bob Mueller has been investigating,” Schiff continued. “This began as a counterintelligence investigation by the FBI. It began as the same in our committee, and we have a right to be informed and we will demand to be informed about it.”
It seems Schiff believes that Mueller and Barr may be compromised.
Barr is expected to release a list of Mueller’s conclusions late Sunday.