Rep. Jerrold Nadler says he will subpoena the unredacted Mueller report

The release of the Mueller report could test the limits of congressional oversight.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) attends a rally in the Capitol on March 13, 2019. CREDIT: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call
Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) attends a rally in the Capitol on March 13, 2019. CREDIT: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), chair of the House Judiciary Committee, said Thursday he would subpoena the Justice Department to get an unredacted version of the Mueller report and its underlying evidence.

Nadler also asked special counsel Robert Mueller to testify before the committee in a letter sent to the Justice Department on Thursday morning. Barr has already said he will testify before the committee.

The pledge to issue a subpoena came mere hours after Attorney General William Barr gave Congress a redacted version of the Mueller report, which Barr also made public.

“Because Congress requires this material in order to perform our constitutionally-mandated responsibilities, I will issue a subpoena for the full report and the underlying materials,” Nadler said Thursday afternoon in a post on the website Medium.


Barr promised during a press conference Thursday morning to let “a bipartisan group of leaders from several congressional committees” see a less-redacted version of the report.

Nadler said the Justice Department had not contacted him about those arrangements. As of mid-afternoon Thursday, the Justice Department had not contacted the Senate Intelligence Committee about the arrangement, either, a Democratic Senate aide told ThinkProgress.

Color-coded redactions obscure about 6% of the report Barr released Thursday. A group of Justice Department officials, including Mueller and members of his team, worked to redact four categories of information before the report’s release: grand jury information, classified information, information related to ongoing investigations, and information that could hurt the reputations of people Barr has called “peripheral characters.”

The House Judiciary Committee authorized Nadler to subpoena the report last month in a party-line vote. All Republicans on the committee opposed the subpoena. Some pointed to a March 24 letter from Barr that exonerated President Donald Trump of allegations he colluded with Russia’s 2016 election interference or obstructed justice.

“It seems to me that we’re here because the Mueller report wasn’t what the Democrats thought it was going to be,” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) said at the time. “In fact, it was just the opposite. What the attorney general tells us is that the principle findings of Mr. Mueller’s report were no new indictments, no sealed indictments, no collusion, no obstruction.”


Many Democrats, meanwhile, fear Barr may use redactions to hide information that casts Trump, his 2016 campaign, or his family members in unflattering light. Trump nominated Barr after forcing out his first attorney general, Jeff Sessions, because he recused himself from overseeing the Russia probe. Barr also wrote a memo to the Justice Department before his nomination criticizing aspects of the Mueller investigation.

“I don’t trust Barr, I trust Mueller,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said earlier this month. She reminded Barr that “he is not the attorney general of Donald Trump. He is the attorney general of the United States.”

Even the less-redacted version Barr has offered to show congressional leaders would obscure grand jury material, which is generally secret under a federal law called Rule 6(e). Nadler has pressed Barr to ask the court to release that material to Congress, following the examples set by the Watergate and Whitewater independent counsels.

Barr has said he would not do so, and that Congress could ask the court directly.

Nadler’s subpoena Thursday could trigger a court fight between the Justice Department and Congress over thorny legal issues like grand jury secrecy rules and separation of powers.

This story was updated to include Nadler’s request for Mueller’s testimony.