A leading Democratic congressman renewed his demand on Friday that Attorney General Bill Barr hand Congress an unredacted version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's final report – even portions dealing with secret grand jury testimony.
He continued his insistence that Congress should see raw evidence from the Russia probe, citing 800,000 pages of 'sensitive investigative materials' related to the Hillary Clinton email investigation that the Trump administration shared with a Republican-led House during 2017 and 2018.
And he threatened Barr with a contempt of Congress citation if he refuses.
In his latest written salvo lobbed at the administration, House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerry Nadler told Barr he wants the Justice Department to 'seek a court order permitting disclosure of materials covered by Rule 6(e).'
That clause in the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure covers grand jury secrecy, a concept considered untouchable because it prevents the escape of people who might be indicted, discourages perjury and protects the reputations of people who are investigated but not charged with crimes.
Nadler argued Friday against Barr's determination that the rule 'contains no exception' that would allow him to show Nadler what he has subpoenaed.
'Courts have provided Rule 6(e) materials to Congress under the rule's "judicial proceeding" exception in the past,' he wrote.
That's a reference to one of very few exceptions to grand jury secrecy: disclosing information 'preliminary to or in connection with a judicial proceeding.'
The most famous example of invoking it came in the Watergate investigation, when federal courts allowed the special prosecutor's office to see grand jury information because Congress had authorized the Judiciary Committee to open a formal impeachment probe.
A federal court last month agreed with that standard, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has so far refused to entertain the idea of moving to impeach President Donald Trump.
The D.C. federal appeals court decision on April 5, however, also upheld the broader idea that not even Congress can intrude on grand jury proceedings without a constitutionally more important reason.
The case, McKeever v. Barr, was an unrelated victory for the attorney general that will likely help him defend Trump.
The appeals court ruled that a historian couldn't get access to grand jury records from 1957, even though none of the people involved with it were still alive.
Nadler also wrote on Friday that he wants Barr to allow a broader group of lawmakers to look at a version of the Mueller report that is less redacted than the one he released to the public.
The Justice Department prepared a copy last month that unmasked all of the redactions except the grand jury material. But to date only a handful of leaders from both parties have been authorized to see it – and they are under strict orders not to discuss with lower-ranking members the things what they read.
Although half of those authorized readers are Democrats, only two Republicans have checked into the secure room in the U.S. Capitol where it is held.
One Republican Sen. Lindsey