Sunday, October 24, 2021

Trump bars Congress from accessing full Mueller report

Washington, May 8 (EFE).- The president of the United States on Wednesday invoked his executive power to block a congressional committee from accessing special counsel Robert Mueller’s unredacted Russia report.

Donald Trump’s decision to block the request by the chairman of the House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee, Jerrold Nadler (D-CA), for the full report and underlying evidence could trigger a court battle pitting his administration against Democrats in Congress.

“Faced with Chairman Nadler’s blatant abuse of power, and at the attorney general’s request, the president has no other option than to make a protective assertion of executive privilege,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.

Nadler on April 19 subpoenaed US Attorney General William Barr for Mueller’s full, unredacted report on his investigation into alleged links between Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and the Kremlin, including secret grand jury material and other confidential information.

A day earlier, Barr had provided Congress with a redacted version of the more than 440-page Mueller report.

He subsequently said earlier this month in testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee that he had made as much of the report available to the public as legally permissible.

The White House’s announcement on Wednesday came as the House Judiciary Committee was preparing to vote on whether to hold Barr in contempt for refusing to hand over a fully unredacted version of the report.

Nadler’s committee is expected to vote in favor of the contempt resolution. If so, it would then be up to the full Democratic-led House of Representatives to pass the measure and authorize legal proceedings against Barr.

On Wednesday, Nadler slammed Trump’s assertion of executive privilege over the Mueller report, saying it represents a clear escalation of his administration’s “blanket defiance” of Congress’ constitutionally mandated duties.

The White House press secretary, for her part, accused Nadler of making “unlawful and reckless demands.”

“They didn’t like the results of the (Mueller) report, and now they want a redo,” Sanders said.

The partially redacted version of Mueller’s report showed that the special counsel found no evidence that the Trump campaign conspired with Russia’s alleged efforts to meddle in the 2016 US presidential election, in which Trump scored a surprising victory over the Democratic nominee, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The claim of Russian meddling in the US election arose following the July 2016 publication by WikiLeaks of e-mails from the Democratic National Committee and from the chairman of Clinton’s presidential campaign, John Podesta.

The content of those e-mails cast Clinton and the DNC in a negative light and may have contributed to her defeate.
Although no evidence of collusion was found, the matter of whether Trump may have obstructed justice has not been put to rest.

In an initial memo to Congress on Mueller’s report, Barr said in March that Mueller and his team had not made a determination on whether the president obstructed justice.

But Barr said in that memo that he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had concluded that Trump’s actions during the Russia probe did not constitute obstruction.

Trump veta el acceso del Congreso al informe íntegro sobre la trama rusa

Washington, 8 may (EFE).- El presidente de EE.UU., Donald Trump, invocó hoy su poder ejecutivo para impedir el acceso de un comité del Congreso controlado por la oposición demócrata al informe íntegro del fiscal especial Robert Mueller sobre la trama rusa, lo que podría desatar una batalla en los tribunales.

“Ante el flagrante abuso de poder del congresista (demócrata Jerrold) Nadler, y por petición del fiscal general, el presidente no tiene otra opción que invocar su privilegio ejecutivo”, anunció la portavoz de la Casa Blanca, Sarah Sanders, en un comunicado.

Nadler, que preside el Comité Judicial de la Cámara Baja de EE.UU., había solicitado al Departamento de Justicia todo el informe de Mueller -incluidos los tramos confidenciales- y algunos documentos relacionados, dado que la versión del reporte publicada hace unas semanas contenía numerosas tachaduras.

El anuncio de la Casa Blanca llegó mientras el comité presidido por Nadler se preparaba para votar sobre la posibilidad de declarar en desacato al fiscal general de EE.UU., William Barr, por negarse a entregarles la versión sin censurar del informe.

Se espera que el voto salga adelante en el comité, lo que dejaría en manos del pleno de la Cámara Baja -controlada también por los demócratas- la decisión de solicitar o no que se abra un proceso judicial contra Barr a nivel federal.

La decisión de Trump de invocar la figura del “privilegio ejecutivo”, una doctrina que permite al presidente evitar la difusión de documentos o materiales que utiliza la Rama Ejecutiva, podría generar una batalla en los tribunales sobre su constitucionalidad.

En 1974, el Tribunal Supremo estudió un caso similar durante el escándalo Watergate que entonces afectaba al presidente Richard Nixon, y limitó notablemente la capacidad de los mandatarios estadounidenses de invocar el “privilegio ejecutivo”.

Nadler lamentó este miércoles la decisión de Trump, al asegurar que “representa una clara escalada en el desafío generalizado” de su Gobierno a “los deberes del Congreso tal y como están definidos en la Constitución”.

La portavoz de la Casa Blanca, por su parte, acusó a Nadler de hacer “peticiones ilegales y temerarias”, y a la oposición demócrata de llevar al extremo su batalla política contra Trump.

“No les gustaron los resultados del informe (de Mueller), y ahora quieren rehacerlo”, subrayó Sanders.

La versión censurada del informe de Mueller indica que el fiscal especial no halló pruebas de que el entorno de Trump colaborara con Rusia en su presunta injerencia en las elecciones de 2016, pero también arroja dudas sobre una presunta obstrucción a la Justicia por parte del mandatario.