Democratic Rep. Jerrold Nadler: Trump White House Should 'Certainly Not' Get Mueller Report Before Congress Does

With members of Congress and the general public both waiting to see when — and how much — Attorney General William Barr will share of the recently finalized special counsel report, one senior Democrat said Sunday that the Trump White House should not get any advance look at the documents.

On Fox News Sunday, host Christopher Wallace asked Rep. Jerrold Nadler, Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, if he had a problem with the suggestion that President Donald Trump should be able to review Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report to review it for matters of "executive privilege" before any of it is sent on to Congress.

"I certainly hope that does not happen and I certainly do have a problem with that," replied Nadler. "This is an investigation of the White House, of the president, of the people around him for alleged misconduct in various different ways and for subverting the Constitution in various different ways."

Nadler pointed to the so-called "Nixon tapes," secret recordings that President Richard Nixon made in the White House that were subpoenaed by then-Special Counsel Archibald Cox. The White House argued before the Supreme Court that these tapes were shielded by executive privilege, but the court ultimately ruled that this privilege can not be used to cover up wrongdoing.

Wallace also pressed Nadler on the fact that the Mueller report was submitted to Barr without the special counsel's office bringing any indictments against Trump, his family or closest White House staff. The host asked the congressman if the lack of indictments means there was no collusion between the Trump family or campaign with Russia during the 2016 election.

Nadler pointed out that while there are no further Mueller indictments, the special counsel did hand off aspects of its investigation to other federal prosecutors in New York and Viriginia.

Beyond those, the congressman contended that there are several examples of collusion "in plain sight."

"We know that the president's son and his campaign manager were present at a meeting with Russians to receive information which they were told in the invitation was part of the Russian government's attempt to help them in the election," said Nadler. "We know that the campaign manager gave targeting data — political targeting data — to an agent of the Russian government. We know a lot of things; maybe it's not indictable but we know there was collusion. The question is to what degree, and to what purpose."

But what about President Trump himself, asked Wallace. Doesn't the lack of indictments appear to clear him? Not necessarily so, said Nadler.

"The Justice Department believes that, as a matter of law, the president — no matter what the evidence — can not be indicted simply because he is the president," he replied. "If that is the case, then they can't hold him accountable, the only institution that can hold a president accountable is Congress, and Congress therefore needs the evidence and the information."

What's more, Nadler argued that if Barr attempts to use the belief that the president is axiomatically not indictable, "to then follow the principle that you can't comment on the evidence or publicize it is to convert that into a cover-up."

Barr is expected to provide Congress with a summary of the top-line findings of the Mueller report as early as today. Nadler told Wallace during the interview that he had been given no sense of how detailed that summary will ultimately be.

white house green fountain st. patrick's day michelle obama
Fountain on the South side of the White House is dyed green for St. Patrick's Day in Washington D.C.,on March 16, 2017. The tradition was started by former first lady Michelle Obama and continued in 2019. Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images