The House on Thursday overwhelmingly passed a resolution calling on the Justice Department to make special counsel Robert Mueller’s findings and full report public and available to Congress.
The 420-0 vote came after a fiery debate on the House floor, during which some Democratic lawmakers were admonished for their criticisms of President Donald Trump.
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Republicans said the resolution was unnecessary and a waste of time, but ultimately joined Democrats to approve it. Four Republicans — Reps. Justin Amash of Michigan, Matt Gaetz of Florida, Paul Gosar of Arizona, and Thomas Massie of Kentucky — voted “present.”
Democrats used the resolution to put pressure on Attorney General William Barr, who during his Senate confirmation hearings did not commit to making Mueller’s highly anticipated findings public.
“A vote for this resolution will send a clear signal to both the American people and to the Department of Justice that Congress believes transparency is a fundamental principle necessary to ensure that government remains accountable to the public,” said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), the lead sponsor of the effort.
Some Democratic lawmakers went after the president in ways that violated House rules, causing the presiding officer to warn them. At one point, Georgia Rep. Doug Collins, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, called out Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) for similar criticisms of Barr, which did not violate House rules.
Collins backed the resolution but said it “basically re-states the regulations that are currently in place” at the Justice Department. Collins said he believes Barr will be “truthful to his word” to make as much of the report public as possible.
Democrats have argued that the only acceptable redactions are grand jury material, classified information, and national security sources and methods. Republicans have largely deferred to Barr’s judgment, but they have publicly backed the idea that Mueller’s report should be released given the overwhelming public interest in it.
Nadler has threatened to issue a subpoena for the Mueller report if Barr does not release it to Congress and the public. He and other Democrats have said the Justice Department’s policy that a sitting president cannot be indicted would amount to a “cover-up” of Trump’s alleged wrongdoing if Congress is unable to view the underlying evidence contained in Mueller’s report.
Mueller is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election and other matters, including obstruction of justice and collusion between Trump associates and Russian operatives.
It is unclear whether Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will vote on a measure related to the Mueller report, though he has in the past resisted attempts to protect Mueller’s job in the face of threats from Trump.