The Justice Department on Tuesday reiterated its counteroffer to the House Intelligence Committee to view an unredacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report in a last-ditch effort to avert an “enforcement action” against the attorney general.
In a letter to the panel’s chairman Adam Schiff on Tuesday, Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd again offered members of the committee to review a “minimally redacted” version of Mueller’s report — tripling the number of lawmakers allowed to view the report from 12 to 34.
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So far, the six Democrats currently allowed to access the report have refused to view it in protest of the restrictions.
The less-redacted document does not include grand jury material or the requested foreign intelligence and counterintelligence information Mueller’s team gathered as it investigated Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.
Boyd’s latest letter follows a protracted back-and-forth between the House panel and DOJ over the full Mueller report. Schiff and his Republican counterpart, Rep. Devin Nunes of California, asked the Justice Department for the full, unredacted report and its underlying evidence in March. Schiff subpoenaed the Justice Department earlier this month with a deadline of May 15, claiming the department had failed to respond to the panel’s requests.
Schiff on Tuesday said he’s “not ready to comment yet” on DOJ counteroffer.
In his letter, Boyd warned Schiff that “in recognition of the committee’s interest in counterintelligence and foreign-intelligence matters,” DOJ is “willing to expedite access” to the prioritized information the panel wants — provided the committee “confirms today that it will not pursue any vote on an ‘enforcement action’” now or in the future.
The latest offer from DOJ does not appear substantially different from the original offer, which Schiff called “unacceptable” and said “places the department at risk of unlawfully withholding foreign intelligence and counterintelligence information from the committee.”
After the May 15 deadline came and went with no new documents provided to the committee, Schiff told reporters that he would be consulting with the House Intelligence Committee’s general counsel on some kind of “enforcement action” that the panel may vote on as soon as Wednesday.
Boyd seemed eager to avoid that, telling Schiff that should the panel avoid a contempt vote on Wednesday, DOJ will “host a meeting with the committee’s senior staff” on May 23 and 24 to update them on the status of its own review of the requested documents. Boyd called it “an extraordinary accommodation” on DOJ’s part.
Schiff has expressed frustration over what he’s described as an unexplained delay in receiving a briefing from the FBI on the counterintelligence portion of the special counsel probe. He’s also claimed that the intelligence community “is obligated to share” grand-jury information with the House Intelligence committee, citing an exception that allows DOJ “to provide information of a counterintelligence or foreign intelligence nature” to the panel.