Washington -- Attorney General William Barr vowed to testify before Congress to brief lawmakers on special counsel Robert Mueller's report "reasonably soon," according to House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, a New York Democrat.
Nadler said he held a phone call with Barr Wednesday afternoon to discuss the attorney general's summary of Mueller's nearly-two year investigation, which did not establish that the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government. Since the four-page summary was released Sunday, Democrats have urged Barr to release Mueller's entire report. They also want him to appear before a congressional panel to discuss how he determined that President Trump did not commit obstruction of justice.
Nadler said Barr pledged to testify before his committee, but added he was concerned the Justice Department will not provide Congress the full report by April 2 -- the deadline Democratic chairs of powerful House committees gave the attorney general to turn over the underlying evidence gathered by Mueller.
"The special counsel, Mueller, spent 22 months investigating this and these are some of the central questions before the United States Congress and the American people and it is unacceptable if we don't -- the Congress, certainly, and the American people -- don't see the full report and he wouldn't commit to that," Nadler told reporters. "We are not happy about that, to put it mildly."
The New York Democrat said Barr told him Mueller's report was "very substantial."
Although the attorney general is expected to release more information from the report in the coming weeks, House Democrats have vowed to call both Barr and Mueller to appear before Congress -- and to use their subpoena power if need be.
Follow our live coverage for updates throughout the day.
Comey says Trump "potentially" obstructed justice, adds he's confused about Barr's conclusion
Former FBI director James Comey said President Trump could've "potentially" committed obstruction of justice by ousting him from his post in May 2017.
In an interview with NBC News Wednesday, Comey was asked about Mr. Trump's comments to the same network days after his firing. In that 2017 interview, the president told NBC News he considered "this Russia thing" when he decided to fire Comey.
"I thought that's potentially obstruction of justice and I hope somebody is going to look at that," Comey said, adding later, "What (Mr. Trump) appears to be saying is 'I got rid of this guy to shut down an investigation that threatened me.'"
The former FBI director added that Barr's determination that the evidence gathered by Mueller was "insufficient" to prove Mr. Trump committed obstruction of justice "confuses" him. Comey said it surprised him the special counsel did not reach a conclusion in its obstruction of justice probe and instead delegated the decision to "political leadership" at the Justice Department.
"I also question how Barr came to the conclusion without knowing (Mr. Trump's) intent," Comey said. He added that he wondered by Mueller didn't try to compel Mr. Trump to answer questions during an interview through a subpoena.
Reporting by CBS News' Rob Legare.
CBS News poll: Majorities across party lines want full report released
More than 3 in 4 Americans, including majorities of both Republicans and Democrats, think the full Mueller report should be released to the public. But the partisan splits that have long marked the investigation remain even after it is done: Republicans say the report has cleared the president. Democrats are unconvinced and want their party in Congress to continue looking into the Russia matter, though most Americans overall feel they should drop it.
More (34 percent) feel the report has cleared the president of any illegal activity than explicitly feel it has not (23 percent) -- but 36 percent think it's still too soon to say whether it has or hasn't. A large majority of Republicans say the report has cleared the president, yet few Democrats think so. Many feel it is too soon to say. These partisan splits look much like divisions that have existed throughout the investigation.
Read more about the poll's findings here.
Despite end to Russia probe, prosecutor says Mueller's grand jury is still at work and "continuing robustly"
Special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation may have come to a close, but the grand jury he impaneled in 2017 is still up and running.
"I can say it is continuing robustly," U.S. Attorney Senior Counsel David Goodhand said Wednesday in a hearing at the District Court in the District of Columbia. He was responding to a question from Chief Judge Beryl Howell about whether or not the grand jury used by Mueller in the course of his investigation was still at work, after Mueller handed in his report late last week. It's unclear what this means in terms of the finality of Mueller's probe. The Justice Department has said that the investigation is closed, and no other indictments would be issued as a direct result of the special counsel's probe.
The question arose during a hearing about publishing evidence in the case of a mystery "corporation" owned by a unknown foreign country that was held in contempt of court for not complying with a grand jury subpoena from the special counsel. The Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press had sought access to all materials related to this case.
The chief judge on Wednesday ordered the "corporation" and the government to work together to redact transcripts in order to make them public. That process is expected to take about a month.
The question of whether or not Howell will reveal the identity of the "corporation" hasn't been determined. But lawyers for the "corporation" maintained that they did not want their identity exposed.
CBS News contributor and former Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Rebecca Roiphe is familiar with the legal issues at play here and explained that while some loose ends from the Mueller probe have been handed off to different U.S. attorneys' offices and departments within the Justice Department, Mueller, she said, was given a "discrete mandate, and that task is complete."
"In other words, the probe into the Russian assault on the 2016 election and potential involvement by the Trump campaign is indeed over," Roiphe said. "But whenever prosecutors engage in such a wide ranging investigation, their work will spawn related prosecutions and investigations."
Roiphe contends that while the related investigations "probably" will end, it will certainly take some time before they wind down.
-Reporting by Clare Hymes and Emily Tillett
Rudy Giuliani says allegations of collusion were "made up"
Rudy Giuliani, one of President Trump's personal lawyers, told CBS News Chief Washington Correspondent Major Garrett that someone had made up the allegations against Mr. Trump of colluding with Russia during the 2016 election.
"So someone made this up. Now we're talking about really serious crimes. Now we're talking about doing great damage to the republic, not just to the president," Giuliani said about the allegations.
"I don't know if I'd call it treason, but it's pretty darn close," Giuliani continued, although he added that legally, making up stories about the president is not treason.
Giuliani and Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow are appearing on this week's episode of "The Takeout" podcast, which will air in full on Friday.
Stacey Abrams says it's "inappropriate" to assume what's in Mueller's report
"It is inappropriate to assume we know what the Mueller report says until we can read it," the former Democratic candidate for governor Stacey Abrams told "CBS This Morning" on Wednesday. Abrams questioned the ability of Barr to come to a fair conclusion on Mueller's findings after he "chastised Mueller" during the earlier parts of the Russia investigation.
" I do not think we can assume that what he has reported in his summary is an accurate summary of the report. But the best way to know what was said in the report is to read the report. And my belief is until we've seen the report we don't know what it says."
Rudy Giuliani slams Mueller's non-answer on obstruction "pathetic"
Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani blasted the special counsel's apparent indecision on obstruction of justice claims against the president, calling it "totally inappropriate and totally unethical" and "pathetic" in an interview on Fox News Tuesday night.
Giuliani told Fox's "The Ingraham Angle" that Robert Mueller's findings, as it relates to the charge of obstruction, were "weak," criticizing the FBI official for not "making up his mind."
In his letter summarizing the report, Attorney General Barr said Mueller described the facts surrounding his investigation into allegations of obstruction of justice but made no determination as to whether Mr. Trump committed a crime, deferring the question to Barr. The report "does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him," Barr quotes Mueller as writing.
But Barr said he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein determined the available evidence was insufficient to establish Mr. Trump had obstructed justice.
Here are some other highlights from Giuliani's conversation:
- Giuliani suggested former FBI Director James is guilty of "gross negligence" for failing to properly investigate the claims of Russian collusion. "He is guilty of it, not just Hillary. This guy has to be investigated. He's got to be investigated," Giuliani said.
- Giuliani said that "half" the prosecutors on Mueller's team were "totally unethical prosecutors, the kind of prosecutors that I would have fired in two minutes when I was U.S. attorney." He said lead Mueller attorney Andrew Weissmann was "horrible" and "should never go near a court room in his entire life", later questioning his ethics for being an alleged Hillary Clinton supporter.
- On potential impeachment proceedings, Giuliani told Fox that the president's legal team is "absolutely" prepared for what comes next. "We have a very, very long multifaceted memo written already that we can cut-and-paste depending on what day," Giuliani explained.
Rashida Tlaib pushes forward with impeachment resolution
Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Michigan, the first-term lawmaker who has vowed, in colorful language, to "impeach" Mr. Trump, is circulating a proposed resolution that calls on the House Judiciary Committee to determine whether President Trump committed any impeachable offenses in the wake of the release of the Mueller report. She began circulating the text of her proposal Monday evening.
A spokesman confirmed to CBS News that she's doing so, but wouldn't comment on the number of cosponsors she expects to draw. Members have until today to add their name as a cosponsor to the resolution. Below is a copy of the letter Tlaib sent to her colleagues:
The actions of President Trump before he was officially sworn in as President of United States is currently being investigated by the Southern District of New York and much of it is part of the completed report by independent investigator, Robert Mueller.
However, the most dangerous threat to our democracy is President Trump's actions since taking the oath of office. The fact that President Trump has yet to comply with various clauses of our U.S. Constitution sets a dangerous precedent. Much of the allegations have yet to be fully investigated by this body who also took an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution. It is critical that we protect the American people and our country from any conflicts of interests that directly erodes our democracy.
The Resolution directs the House Committee on Judiciary to inquire whether President Trump committed impeachable offenses. Congress can provide an open and transparent process with the sole goal of ensuring we know the truth and make sure it does not continue, nor happen again.
I, firmly, believe that the House Committee on Judiciary should seek out whether President Trump has committed "High crimes and Misdemeanors" as designated by the U.S. Constitution and if the facts support those findings, that Congress begin impeachment proceedings. We think the House Committee on Judiciary should inquire about the following and decide:
Whether the actions of President Trump and his businesses violate the Foreign Emoluments Clause. Through President Trump's businesses in the United States and abroad, the president has received payments, regulatory approval, and other forms of direct and indirect financial benefits from foreign governments.
Whether President Trump committed crimes to defraud the United States by directing Michael Cohen to make illegal payments to interfere and affect the 2016 Presidential election, which has eroded faith in elections and perpetuated political corruption.
Whether the Special Counsel's evidence on obstruction of justice pertaining to the President's actions and intents violates federal law.
We all swore to protect our nation, and that begins with making sure that no one, including the President of the United States, is acting above the law. I urge your support in recommending that the House Committee on Judiciary begin hearings, take depositions, and issue subpoenas to answer this question that is fundamental to the rule of law and the preservation of our democracy."
-Reporting by Ed O'Keefe
Trump questions whether DOJ was tipping the scales
Mr. Trump, asked on Tuesday on Capitol Hill about Sen. Lindsey Graham's call for a second special counsel to investigate the origins of the Mueller probe, reiterated he wants to see "how this all started."
"Those in charge on Capitol Hill will be watching," the president said. "But let's see how this all started. Did we have top people at Justice trying to skip the scales to keep Trump from being elected."
On Monday, Graham told reporters, "I'd like to find somebody, like a Mr. Mueller, that can look into what happened with the FISA warrants, the counterintelligence investigation. Am I right to be concerned? It seems pretty bad on its face -- but there are some people that are never going to accept the Mueller report, but by any reasonable standard, Mueller thoroughly investigated the Trump campaign. You cannot say that about the other side of the story."
Pelosi: Impeachment is not on the table until it is on the table
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, asked if she has a message for members of her caucus who still might want impeachment to be on the table after Barr's summary, expressed caution.
"Well I think that we want -- right now the message should be clearly, 'Let us see this report.' I have great respect for special counsel Mueller, but let us see the report. We don't need an interpretation by an attorney general who is appointed for a particular job, to make sure the president is above the law. We need to see the report. So that's my message to our members."
When a reporter asked to clarify if impeachment is off the table, she said, "Impeachment's not on the table until it is on the table, so it's not a question of that. This is not about that, this is about us doing our work. Today we're introducing our health care bill, tomorrow we'll be doing climate. It's about building infrastructure in a green way. It's about clean government. We're on our agenda, we've been doing what we said we were gonna do in the campaign, and that's what we're doing. So in addition to that, we are honoring our oath to uphold the constitution of the United States, and we need to see the report so that we can do that. Thank you."
Top Democrats give Barr April 2 deadline to release full report
Citing the need to make their own "independent assessment," the chairs of the House Judiciary, Oversight, Intelligence, Foreign Affairs, Ways and Means and Financial Services committees asked the attorney general to release Mueller's full report and material from his investigation by early next week.
In their letter to Barr, released Monday evening, Reps. Jerry Nadler, Elijah Cummings, Adam Schiff, Eliot Engel, Richard Neal and Maxine Waters said the attorney general's summary of the Mueller probe was not "sufficient" for Congress and left "open many questions concerning the conduct of the President and his closest advisors, as well as that of the Russian government during the 2016 presidential election."
The House chairs, who have launched their own sweeping probes into the president's conduct, policies and business dealings since retaking the majority, gave Barr an April 2 deadline to comply with their demand.
Barr may be open to testifying publicly, however. He told Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Lindsey Graham on Monday he would be glad to appear before Congress, Graham said Monday.
Read the full letter here:
The Mueller Report: A Turning Point
Special counsel Robert Mueller has been investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election for nearly two years and Sunday, America finally learned at least some of his findings: In a letter to congressional leaders, Attorney General William Barr quotes the report as saying, "The investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities."
But there are still many unanswered questions. Mueller didn't make a determination as to whether Mr. Trump obstructed the investigation, but Barr said there was insufficient evidence to establish that the president committed obstruction of justice. Democratic lawmakers continue to investigate, and say the full report must be made public.
Why was the special counsel appointed? And why did American voters and elected officials alike come to question if the president of the United States colluded with a foreign government?
Watch the CBS News special "The Mueller Report: A Turning Point" to find out more.