Threatening subpoenas and possible action to find Trump Administration officials in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over evidence to lawmakers, a key House Democrat announced on Monday that the Justice Department had agreed to turn over 'underlying' evidence from the Special Counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections.
"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," said Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.
"These documents will allow us to perform our constitutional duties," Nadler added, as he said in a statement that Democrats would hold off on a threat to go to court in an effort to force the Justice Department to turn over the underlying evidence gathered in the Mueller investigation.
The agreement also led Democrats to hold off on pursuing contempt charges against Attorney General William Barr, though there will still be a vote on Tuesday in the House to authorize Nadler's committee to go to court to enforce any subpoenas related to the Mueller probe.
Unlike the Whitewater investigation, which produced multiple volumes of underlying evidence to the public, the details of what the Mueller investigation found have remained out of view.
It was not immediately clear from the Nadler announcement as to what type of documents and materials would be handed over to lawmakers, or whether any of it would become public.
Democrats said the agreement showed that Congress does indeed have the power - and the right - to access materials gathered by Mueller during the course of his investigation into Russian interference, and any links to the Trump campaign.
"No one is above the law," said Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (D-PA), a member of the House Judiciary Committee.
Back on May 24, Nadler had formally requested FBI interview summaries - known as 302 reports - as well as contemporaneous notes taken by a number of people, and other memos and materials.
It was not announced what DOJ had agreed to hand over - but this would be the list to start with.
The announcement came about two hours before the start of a House hearing which drew intense criticism from Republicans, titled, “Lessons from the Mueller Report: Presidential Obstruction and Other Crimes.”
At the hearing, Nadler said the materials being offered included, 'interview notes, first hand accounts of misconduct, and other critical evidence' from the Mueller investigation.
Thank you for reading the Journal-News and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to your daily ePaper and premium newsletters.
Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Journal-News. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.