If newly confirmed Attorney General William Barr sanitizes, Democratic Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts said members of Congress from both parties should fight to make its findings public.
“If the attorney general takes the Mueller report and then sanitizes it and releases that as the answer to a comprehensive investigation, then I think the Democrats in the House and Senate, along with Republicans, have a responsibility to ensure that the American people know what happened in 2016,” Markey said on “Face the Nation” Sunday.
When he was confirmed earlier in the month, Barr assumed oversight of Mueller’s far-reaching investigation, which is also probing possible coordination between President Trump’s campaign associates and the Kremlin. Since his nomination was announced in early December, Democratic lawmakers have raised doubts about Barr’s ability to remain neutral while overseeing the probe.
Barr wrote a memo to deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein last year in which he argued the president should not be forced to submit to questioning by the special counsel. In the memo, Barr argued that “Mueller’s obstruction theory is fatally misconceived” and based “on a novel and insupportable reading of the law.”
During his confirmation hearing in January, he assured senators of his independence and said he would not be bullied by anyone into doing something he believes is wrong if he takes the helm of the Justice Department. Barr, however, did suggest he might not release Mueller’s final report to the public, saying the findings may not be made public if no one is prosecuted.
Markey said both lawmakers and the American public need to know the answers to important questions surrounding Russian interference in the U.S. electoral system and possible collusion between Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign and Moscow. And the special counsel’s report, he added, likely has valuable information to clarify these concerns.
“What was the relationship between the Trump campaign and the Russian government? Was there any subsequent relationship in the post-election period? We don’t know the answers to those questions,” Markey added. “The Mueller report potentially gives us those answers and it’s going to be critical that the American public knows what happened in 2016.”
The Massachusetts Democrat said Barr’s decision regarding the report’s release will determine how Democrats in Congress respond.
“Right now everything rides on that Mueller report and the attorney general, William Barr, not sanitizing it in a way that is not transparent to the public and the Congress,” he said.
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