WASHINGTON (AFP) - A prominent Democratic lawmaker said Sunday (Feb 24) that if the new US attorney general refuses to make public the upcoming special counsel report on Russia and the Trump election campaign, it will be subpoenaed and Robert Mueller will be called in to testify.
Attorney General William Barr, who took office earlier this month, refused in his Senate confirmation hearings to explicitly promise to publicly release Mueller's findings once he receives them.
Mueller is reportedly no more than weeks away from completing his exhaustive investigation into possible collusion between Russia and Donald Trump's presidential campaign.
On Friday (Feb 22), the Democratic chairs of six House committees wrote Barr to urge him "in the strongest possible terms" to release the report "without delay and to the maximum extent permitted by law".
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff - who was among that group - said that if Barr fails to make the report public, "we will obviously subpoena the report, we will bring Bob Mueller in to testify before Congress, we will take it to court if necessary".
"If he (Barr) were to try to withhold, to try to bury any part of this report, that will be his legacy and it will be a tarnished legacy. So I think there'll be immense pressure" for a full release," Schiff told ABC's This Week.
Democrats have been critical of Barr - who was previously attorney general under President George H.W. Bush - noting that he sent an unsolicited memo to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in June describing the Mueller inquiry as "fatally misconceived".
But in written testimony last month, Barr said that when the Mueller report is completed, "my goal will be to provide as much transparency as I can, consistent with the law".