March 29, 2019 / 8:38 PM / 3 months ago

U.S. House Republican says it would be illegal to release full Mueller report

FILE PHOTO: Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA), the ranking Republican member of the House Judiciary Committee, delivers an opening statement before acting U.S. Attorney General Matthew Whitaker is sworn in to testify before a House Judiciary Committee hearing on oversight of the Justice Department on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., February 8, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The top Republican on the U.S. House Judiciary Committee said on Friday that Attorney General William Barr would “break the law” if he released Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia report without redactions, as Democrats are demanding.

The lawmaker, Representative Doug Collins, also criticized the panel’s Democratic chairman Jerrold Nadler for not accepting Barr’s offer to testify in early May, but said he looked forward reviewing the Mueller report’s classified material with Nadler.

Barr plans to make public a redacted copy of Mueller’s nearly 400-page investigative report into Russian interference in the 2016 election by mid-April, “if not sooner,” he said in a letter to lawmakers on Friday.

“Attorney General Barr is following his word in publicly releasing the special counsel’s report to the maximum extent permitted by law and department policy,” Collins said in a statement on Twitter.

“(Nadler) stands alone in setting arbitrary deadlines for that release and in calling the attorney general to break the law by releasing the report without redactions,” he added.

Collins was referring to a statement issued earlier by Nadler in which the panel chairman reiterated a Democratic demand that Barr provide Congress with an unredacted version of the report and underlying evidence by April 2.

Nadler had also said he would take Barr’s offer to testify on May 1 and May 2 to Senate and House committees under advisement but wants Barr to testify immediately.

“I also welcome the attorney general’s testimony before the committee on May 2,” Collins said.

Reporting by David Morgan; editing by Grant McCool

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