One of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's top prosecutors will soon leave his post, a spokesman said on Thursday, confirming a move likely to add fuel to speculation that the investigation into Russia's role in the 2016 US election is nearing an end.
The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a non-binding resolution on Thursday calling for Mueller's report to be released to Congress and the public. The symbolic action created to pressure the attorney general, William Barr, to release as much information as possible when the inquiry ends.
The resolution cites "an overwhelming public interest" in releasing the report "to ensure public confidence in both the process and the result of the investigation". House Democrats have previously indicated they would be willing to use their congressional subpoena power if Barr withholds substantial information from the report.
The Senate is not obligated to vote on this or any similar resolution, and under Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, is all but certain to not. Nevertheless, the Democrats who introduced the resolution hope it will serve to pressure Barr.
At least one Republican is siding with Democrats.
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The President has repeatedly railed against the investigation, denouncing it as a witch hunt and insisting there was no collusion between associates of his presidential campaign and Russian Federation.
When the investigation concludes, Mueller is required by regulation to submit a confidential report to Attorney General William Barr. Those regulations require only that the report explain the decisions to pursue or to decline prosecutions, which could be as simple as a bullet point list or as fulsome as a report running hundreds of pages. Four members of Congress voted present - Republicans Justin Amash of Michigan, Matt Gaetz of Florida, Paul Gosar of Arizona and Thomas Massie of Kentucky. A CNN poll released last month found that support for a public release stands at 80% among Republicans and those who approve of the way the President is handling his job, and at 92% among Democrats and those who disapprove of the way Trump is handling his job.
Several Republicans have also agreed that Mueller should release not simply the full report, but any and all investigative materials that informed it. Richard Blumenthal of CT that would require Mueller to submit a detailed report to lawmakers and the public at the end of the investigation.
The move is an attempt to "send a clear signal both to the American people and the Department of Justice" that lawmakers expect to see the full account of Mueller's work, according to the House Judiciary Committee's chairman, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y.
In February, six House Democratic committee chairs, led by Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler of NY, made a similar request in a letter to Barr.