House Democrats put forward bill to force publication of Mueller report

House Democrats are pushing ahead with a legislative effort to ensure special counsel Robert Mueller’s final report regarding possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow will be publicly released.

Reps. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) and David Cicilline (D-R.I.) filed the Special Counsel Transparency Act on Tuesday. It is a companion to an identical bill introduced in the Senate by Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.).

The bill would require the Department of Justice (DOJ) to release any unclassified portions of Mueller’s final conclusions. The DOJ would also have to provide a written explanation to Congress should it determine any piece of unclassified information is not appropriate for the public.

“Ensuring Trump cannot build a wall around the Special Counsel’s work is essential to preserving our democracy,” Doggett said in a statement.

“For the rule of law to stand, the Administration cannot be allowed to sit on the report. This legislation safeguards over a year of taxpayer-funded law enforcement work and assures the right of Americans to see justice served. I hope the House can give strong approval to this reasonable legislation that already enjoys bipartisan support in the Senate.”

The legislation would also require Mueller’s team to provide the House and Senate Judiciary committees with explanations regarding the decision to pursue or decline prosecution and any discussions it had with the DOJ about the scope of the probe. It also mandates that a report to Congress include an annex of classified materials.

Attorney General William Barr will decide whether the Mueller report is made public. He did not commit to making the full report public during his confirmation hearings. However, he has vowed that the White House would not be able to “correct” anything in the report and that he would try to release as much as he can.

“Sadly, Attorney General Bill Barr made it clear during his confirmation hearing that he plans to abide only by Department of Justice polices that are convenient for he and President Trump,” said Cicilline, a member of the House Judiciary Committee. “He should not be the person who decides what Congress and the public get to see.”

Democratic calls for the DOJ to publish Mueller’s report have reached a fever pitch in recent days amid speculation that Mueller could conclude his probe in the coming weeks.

Six Democratic House committee chairmen sent a letter to Barr last week demanding the probe’s final conclusions be released “without delay and to the maximum extent permitted by law.” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), a signatory of the letter and the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, also threatened Sunday to subpoena the report if its findings are not publicized.