House Votes for Russia Investigation Final Report Be Public

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Despite the House's vote on Thursday, the decision of how much of Mueller's report becomes public still rests in Barr's hands.

Republicans joined with Democrats as the House on Thursday overwhelmingly passed a resolution to make public special counsel Robert Mueller's report on the Russian Federation investigation after he releases it to Attorney General William Barr.

The push for the report to be publicly released is an effort by Democrats to draw clear battle lines over what they plan to fight for when Mueller's investigation ends. House Democrats have previously indicated they would be willing to use their congressional subpoena power if Barr withholds substantial information from the report.

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While Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell could refuse to bring the bill to a vote, and Trump could always veto it, what this bill will do is at least force multiple Republicans go on record when the majority of both Democrats and Republicans want a full disclosure of Mueller's findings, according to recent polls. Nevertheless, the Democrats who introduced the resolution hope it will serve to pressure Barr.

The President has repeatedly railed against the investigation, denouncing it as a witch hunt and insisting there was no collusion between associates of his presidential campaign and Russian Federation. Four members of Congress voted present - Republicans Justin Amash of Michigan, Matt Gaetz of Florida, Paul Gosar of Arizona and Thomas Massie of Kentucky. That report must explain why the special counsel chose to either pursue or decline prosecutions. A CNN poll released last month found that support for a public release stands at 80% among Republicans and those who approve of the way the President is handling his job, and at 92% among Democrats and those who disapprove of the way Trump is handling his job. In making an argument for transparency, Republican leaders have pointed to Barr's comments and the existing regulations, without explicitly pressing for the underlying evidence.

If a full report isn't released, House Democrats have made clear they will do whatever they can to get hold of it. Nadler has said he would subpoena the final report and invite - or even subpoena - Mueller to talk about it.

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There have been numerous reports that Mueller's investigation is winding down.

Justice Department regulations governing special counsels give Barr latitude in deciding how much of the report to make public. He was rebuffed when the Senate judiciary committee chairman, Lindsey Graham, objected.

"This resolution is critical because of the many questions and criticisms of the investigation raised by the president and his administration", said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler. He must then notify Congress, but has not indicated to what extent he intends to share the information with lawmakers or the public.

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