House Democrats soften demand for Mueller report – Washington Times

House Democrats backed off their blanket demand for the unredacted special counsel’s report and all supporting evidence, instead signaling a willingness Friday to cooperate on asking the courts to referee.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said he still objects to Attorney General William P. Barr’s demands, but said there may be a middle ground.

He asked Mr. Barr to make available the “less-redacted” version of the special counsel’s report — right now open only to a dozen lawmakers — to all members of Congress and “appropriate” staff. And he suggested the Justice Department and Congress jointly ask the courts to unseal the remaining redacted information, which was gleaned from a grand jury and is deemed secret.

Mr. Nadler gave Mr. Barr a Monday morning deadline to respond.

The White House said Mr. Nadler had no choice but to soften his stance.

“That’s probably the only step Nadler has at this point is to be conciliatory,” said spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who said the congressman and his colleagues looked “ridiculous and silly” after holding a hearing with an empty chair for Mr. Barr on Thursday.

She said Mr. Nadler and five other Democrats have had a chance for two weeks to read the “less-redacted” report but all of them have refused, saying they are holding out for the full version.

“It is astonishing to me that not a single Democrat has yet to go read the less-redacted version of the report, yet they keep asking for more,” Ms. Sanders said.

The public version of the 448-page report has been redacted to delete information about ongoing Justice Department probes, information intruding on peripheral third parties’ privacy and information gleaned from grand jury proceedings.

The less-redacted version only deletes the grand jury information, which the Justice Department says by law must be kept under wraps.

Mr. Barr already missed a Wednesday deadline to turn over the full unredacted report to Congress, along with reams of supporting evidence compiled by Robert Mueller, who led the special counsel’s 22-month probe.

The Justice Department said Mr. Barr has already produced more than was required by law and regulation, and has said he’s willing to work on accommodations, but it rejected Mr. Nadler’s blanket demands.

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