Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday she plans to view a minimally redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report later this week, just days after key House panels secured agreements to give more lawmakers access to the evidence underpinning the special counsel’s conclusions.
Pelosi’s announcement comes after the speaker initially rejected an offer from Attorney General William Barr in April to view the less-redacted report, rebuffing Barr’s demands that only top congressional leaders have that access.
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“We will be having access to a less redacted version of the Mueller report,” Pelosi said at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast Wednesday morning. “I accepted that because I’m afraid — I really don’t trust the attorney general of the United States.”
But the California Democrat reiterated that she feels “no pressure” from her caucus to launch impeachment proceedings, despite another Democrat, New York Rep. Brian Higgins, coming out in favor of the idea Wednesday.
“If you’ve got to go down this path, you have to make sure that the public has an understanding of why,” Pelosi told reporters. “What I believe is that when we go forward, as we go forward, it has to run deep.”
Pelosi also rejected the idea of censuring President Donald Trump instead of pursuing impeachment.
“I think censure is just a way out. If you want to go, you gotta go,” she said. “If the goods are there, you must impeach. Censure is nice but it is not commensurate with the violations of the Constitution should we decide that’s the way to go.”
Last week, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) reached an agreement with the Justice Department that allows members of that panel to view some of Mueller’s “key” underlying evidence. The House Intelligence Committee also reached an agreement with the Justice Department in recent weeks to secure lawmakers’ access to some of the Mueller report’s underlying documents. Both committees are conducting investigations targeting Trump.
The Judiciary Committee had issued a subpoena for the unredacted report and all of the underlying materials, but Barr refused to turn over the materials, prompting a committee vote to hold him in contempt of Congress.
Nadler is holding off on taking the Justice Department to court while Barr allows lawmakers to view some of the underlying evidence at DOJ headquarters. The documents include FBI witness interview reports and the voluminous contemporaneous notes taken by Trump’s top aides.
And last month, the Intelligence Committee held off on holding Barr in contempt of Congress after the Justice Department agreed to provide some of the counterintelligence information contained within Mueller’s files.
Pelosi’s announcement about viewing the report comes as the House Judiciary Committee prepares to grill former White House communications director Hope Hicks about whether Trump tried to obstruct the Mueller probe, in a highly-anticipated closed-door hearing Wednesday morning.
Hicks, a longtime Trump confidante, is expected to refuse to answer lawmakers’ questions about her tenure in the White House. On Tuesday, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone said Hicks was “absolutely immune” from discussing her White House service, meaning that lawmakers likely won’t be able to learn more about the half-dozen episodes of alleged obstruction of justice that they plan to highlight.