Politics

House Votes Almost Unanimously For Public Release Of Mueller Report

Then-Attorney General nominee William Barr testifies during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington in January. Despite the House's vote on Thursday, the decision of how much of Mueller's report becomes public still rests in Barr's hands.
Then-Attorney General nominee William Barr testifies during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington in January. Despite the House's vote on Thursday, the decision of how much of Mueller's report becomes public still rests in Barr's hands.
Andrew Harnik/AP

In an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote, the U.S. House of Representatives called Thursday for special counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russian interference in the 2016 election to be made public when it is completed.

The vote is not legally binding, but it represents the growing pressure from both sides of the aisle on the Justice Department to disclose as much of the report as possible.

Federal law requires Mueller to present Attorney General William Barr with a confidential report upon the completion of his work, but it's ultimately Barr's call on how much of that report is made public.

The House resolution passed Thursday calls "for the public release of any report Special Counsel Mueller provides to the Attorney General, except to the extent the public disclosure of any portion thereof is expressly prohibited by law."

It also calls for the full report to be released to Congress.

The Mueller investigation has resulted in criminal charges against more than 30 individuals and entities, including multiple aides and associates of President Trump. Trump has repeatedly described the investigation as a "witch hunt."

During his confirmation process, Barr told Congress that he would permit Mueller to complete his work, and that his goal would be to provide "as much transparency" as he could within the limits of the law. But he stopped short of giving a full-throated guarantee that the report would be made public.

"I rise in support of this resolution because I want the whole truth and nothing but the truth to come to light in this matter," said Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, on the House floor before the vote. "Full transparency is the only way to prevent future speculation."

The final vote tally was 420 members voting in favor, no members voting against, and four members (Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., Thomas Massie, R-Ky. and Paul Gosar, R- Ariz.) voting "present."

The vote comes amid more signs that Mueller's team is winding its investigation down. One of the team's most prominent attorneys, Andrew Weissman, will soon leave the Justice Department to teach and pursue public service projects, as first reported by NPR.

The House resolution will now be sent sent to the Senate, although it's unclear whether Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., will bring it to a vote.

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