The Latest: House expects to see Mueller evidence soon
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on Congress and hearings on special counsel Robert Mueller’s report (all times local):
The House is expecting to receive the first files of underlying evidence from Robert Mueller’s report soon.
The sudden shift by the Justice Department comes as Democrats weigh impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump.
Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler says the Justice Department will provide some of Mueller’s “most important files” and all members of the committee will be able to view them. He says the files will include those used to assess whether Trump obstructed justice.
The deal was announced just moments before the start of a committee hearing with Watergate star witness John Dean. He was White House counsel under Richard Nixon and helped bring down his presidency. He says Mueller has provided Congress with a “road map” for investigating Trump.
The White House counsel from President Richard Nixon’s administration says he sees parallels between the Watergate investigation and special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.
John Dean was testifying Monday at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Mueller’s report.
Dean says some of the similarities include the way the presidents used their pardon power in an attempt to influence witness testimony, and their efforts to seize control of investigations and direct efforts of prosecutors.
President Donald Trump on Monday tweeted that Dean is a “disgraced” former White House counsel.
A Justice Department team reviewing the origins of the Russia investigation has asked intelligence agencies to preserve all relevant records and to make sure witnesses are available.
That’s according to a Justice Department letter to Congress on Monday.
The letter, from Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd, says a review team led by United States Attorney John Durham will be working primarily out of Washington. The Justice Department has made existing office space available for the review.
The letter says that though Attorney General William Barr has the authority to declassify certain information, the Justice Department also believes it’s important to protect sensitive sources and methods and will prevent the “unwarranted disclosure” of information that could place someone at harm.
House lawmakers have officially started their hearing to examine whether President Donald Trump obstructed justice, the first of several hearings scheduled by Democrats on special counsel Robert Mueller’s report.
The House Judiciary Committee will hear from witnesses including John Dean, a star witness from Watergate who helped bring down Richard Nixon’s presidency, and former U.S. attorneys.
House Judiciary Committee Jerrold Nadler said the panel will continue to “unpack the work” of Mueller in future hearings.
Mueller said in his report that he couldn’t exonerate Trump on obstruction, though he said there was not enough evidence to establish a conspiracy between Trump’s campaign and Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.
Nadler said Trump’s campaign “took full advantage of the attack” from Russia.
The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee says the Justice Department has agreed to turn over some of the underlying evidence from special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, including files used to assess whether President Donald Trump obstructed justice.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler says the department will begin complying with the committee’s subpoena Monday and provide some of Mueller’s “most important files.” He said all the members of the committee will be able to view them.
The Justice Department did not have an immediate comment.
In response to the agreement, Nadler said the panel will not hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt, for now. But the House is still expected to vote on a resolution Tuesday that would empower the committee to file a lawsuit for the materials.
Former White House counsel and Watergate star witness John Dean says he’ll be providing a House panel “some context” and comparison between investigations during President Richard Nixon’s administration and that of President Donald Trump.
Dean cooperated with prosecutors and helped bring down Nixon’s presidency. He told CNN he’ll tell the House Judiciary Committee on Monday “how strikingly like Watergate what we’re seeing now, as reported in the Mueller report, is.”
Dean says he’ll focus on the question of obstruction of justice in his testimony.
Special counsel Robert Mueller investigated Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election and contacts with Trump’s campaign. Mueller did not reach a determination on whether Trump tried to obstruct the probe by taking actions such as firing FBI Director James Comey. Mueller said charging the president with a crime was “not an option” because of federal rules.
Dean tells CNN that Comey’s firing “was certainly not dissimilar from some of the actions Nixon took.”
In 1973, Nixon ordered Attorney General Elliot Richardson to fire independent special prosecutor Archibald Cox, but Richardson refused and resigned.
Trump calls Mueller’s probe a “witch hunt.”
Top Democratic leaders may be in no rush to launch an impeachment inquiry but the party is launching a series of hearings this week on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report.
The slate of hearings on the Russia probe means lawmakers are picking up the pace on an investigation that some in the party hope leads to impeachment of President Donald Trump.
Democrats are trying to draw attention to allegations that Trump sought to obstruct a federal investigation, and they want to highlight his campaign’s contacts with Russia during the 2016 election.
They’ll lay the groundwork for an appearance from Mueller himself, despite his stated desire to avoid the spotlight.
The hearings will focus on the two main topics of Mueller’s report, obstruction of justice and Russian election interference.