The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a non-binding resolution on Thursday calling for Special Counsel Robert Mueller's upcoming report on his probe into Russia's role in the 2016 election to be released to Congress and the public.
The top Republican on the House judiciary panel, Georgia congressman Doug Collins, voted for the resolution but said it was unnecessary. But it's still not clear how much of the report, which will be submitted to Attorney General William Barr, will ever see the light of day. It makes clear classified or other information not appropriate for public release would not be expected to be published.
House Democrats already have vowed to subpoena the report and go to court if necessary to win its full release.
The Senate is not obligated to vote on this or any similar resolution, and under Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, is all but certain to not. Bringing a vote on the resolution also served as a way for Democrats to put Republicans on record on the issue.
But the effort did not move forward after Republican Sen.
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Weissmann has been a pivotal member of Mueller's team, which has brought charges against 34 people and three companies during a 22-month-old investigation into whether Trump's 2016 campaign conspired with Russian Federation and whether the Republican president unlawfully sought to obstruct the probe.
Excluding themselves from the bipartisan House consensus were four members, who instead chose to vote present: libertarians Rep. Justin Amash (Ky.) and Rep. Thomas Massie (Mich.), and President Donald Trump Republican loyalists Rep. Matt Gaetz (Fla.) and Paul Gosar (Ariz.). Concerns over Weismann's credibility as an independent investigator plagued the Mueller deputy since joining the Russia Probe.
But Democrats have said they are unsatisfied with Barr's answers and want a stronger commitment to releasing the full report, along with interview transcripts and other underlying evidence.
"My goal will be to provide as much transparency as I can consistent with the law", he said in his opening statement, saying he believes "it is very important that the public and Congress be informed of the results of the special counsel's work". He was rebuffed when the Senate judiciary committee chairman, Lindsey Graham, objected.
He added that it was critical to pass the resolution because of the "many questions and criticisms of the investigation" raised by the Trump administration. The letter asked for a public release of the Mueller report and that the attorney general provide to Congress any information in the report that can not be publicly released by law.