Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein expressed confidence Monday that Attorney General William Barr will “make the right decision” regarding a report that the special counsel’s office is expected to provide the Justice Department on the Russia probe.
“I think Attorney General Barr is going to make the right decision. We can trust him to do that. He has a lot of experience with this,” Rosenstein said at an event hosted by the Center for Strategic International Studies.
Barr, who was confirmed to office on Feb. 14, has been under pressure to provide Congress with a full copy of a report that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is expected to complete within the next few weeks on the Russia investigation. Democratic lawmakers have threatened to subpoena the report if Barr decides to withhold the document. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said Sunday that he will subpoena the report and sue the Justice Department if Barr withholds the document.
“What’s the attorney going to? You’ll have to ask him that question,” said Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller special counsel on May 17, 2017.
Rosenstein defended the Justice Department’s policies regarding special prosecutors, which were put in place in 1999 following the Starr investigation of President Bill Clinton.
The current statute requires the special counsel to provide a report to DOJ, which is in turn required to provide a summary of the investigation’s findings to Congress. The attorney general is allowed to provide the full report to Congress and the public, but is not required to do so.
But Rosenstein did clarify that a report would be sent to Congress if Barr blocks any major recommendations made by Mueller.
“If the special counsel proposes to take an action and is overruled by the attorney general…we’re required to report that to the Congress. That’s the structural independence provided in the statute,” said Rosenstein.
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