Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee are prepared to do whatever it takes to obtain a full copy of special counsel Robert Mueller's report on the Trump-Russia investigation.
Committee chair Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., told the press on Monday that he had scheduled a markup on Wednesday to authorize a subpoena for the Mueller report and its underlying evidence, according to CNN. Although the markup would allow Nadler to subpoena the report, he has not said whether he plans to release it to the public or wait until after Attorney General Bill Barr has had an opportunity to release a redacted version to the public. Barr is expected to release the report later this month, although he clearly will not make original deadline for providing the full report and evidence to Congress, which was April 2.
Nadler has also expressed an interest in subpoenaing five former White House staffers and the House Judiciary Committee is expected to vote on whether he should do so. Those staffers include former chief strategist Steve Bannon, former chief of staff Reince Priebus, former White House counsel Don McGahn, former communications director Hope Hicks and former deputy White House counsel Annie Donaldson Talley.
In an op-ed article published Monday in the New York Times, Nadler explained why he will insist on receiving a full copy of the report:
We — the members of the Judiciary Committee, the House of Representatives and the entire American public — are still waiting to see that report. We will not wait much longer. We have an obligation to read the full report, and the Department of Justice has an obligation to provide it, in its entirely, without delay. If the department is unwilling to produce the full report voluntarily, then we will do everything in our power to secure it for ourselves.
Although Republicans and other Trump supporters were quickly to proclaim victory after Mueller reported finding no evidence of criminal conspiracy between Trump's 2016 campaign and the Russians, others have noted that without the full report it is impossible to know the extent of the special counsel's conclusions. As Salon's Heather Digby Parton noted, the Republican strategy seems to be to insist that the Mueller report exonerated the president — even though we don't know whether that is actually true — in an effort to put Democrats on the defensive. This is similar to the strategy that Republicans used during the controversial 2000 presidential election, when they declared victory in the razor-thin Florida balloting even as official results had not been announced.
"Republicans count on the national media to quickly repeat their conclusion," Princeton historian Julian Zelizer observed about the 2000 election strategy. "That allowed Republicans to insist Bush had won, even after legal challenges to restrictive Florida voting laws and paid GOP protesters pressured officials in Miami-Dade County to halt their recount. When serious concerns emerge about the results, Republicans stand by the initial declaration of victory. Meanwhile, [they] charge that Democrats are being "sore losers" by asking legitimate questions about what is going on. The GOP then tries to force an ending to the controversy by running out the clock."