Attorney General Barr repeated in his testimony before House and Senate appropriators this week that he intends to redact grand jury material from the version of the Mueller report that he sends to Congress. He also made clear that he does not intend to seek court permission to release grand jury testimony to Congress or the public. That raises the interesting question of why the Department of Justice was demanding documents and hauling witnesses before the grand jury to testify regarding the president, if DOJ knew 1) that its policy prevented it from bringing criminal charges against the president and 2) that it would not share the grand jury testimony with Congress, which has the power to impeach. Was the special counsel off on a lark, abusing the power of the grand jury in a hollow exercise? Of course not. Barr’s position is untenable. Congress must receive the unredacted Mueller report, including grand jury material.
Given Mueller’s previous indictments and all that we already know about the Trump campaign’s and administration’s dealings with Russians, as well as Trump’s public attempts to undermine the investigation, Congress has an obligation to obtain all of the fruits of Mueller’s investigation. Even before release of Mueller’s report, it has a constitutional obligation to investigate. That obligation will become irresistible once it obtains the report.