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May 2, 2019 10:04 AM   Subscribe

Can someone please explain why Congress can't just ask Mueller's office to turn in the original report right now?

I recognize that Mueller is a by-the-rules-and-procedures guy. But why can't Congress just request the report of Mueller instead of asking Barr to un-redact it?

While people are of course free as ever to speculate here about motives and strategies, in this question I'm searching for a possible actual legal, policy or procedural explanation.
posted by nantucket to Law & Government (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: They're in different chains of command. The office of the Special Counsel works for the Department of Justice, and the DoJ sets policies for what is done with DoJ work-product. Basically, Congress isn't directly Mueller's boss, and defying his boss for people who technically don't have the authority to compel him to do so (not without proper procedures, like a subpoena) is a dereliction of duty. If he knowingly leaks DoJ workproduct which he hasn't been authorized to release, he may well be guilty of a criminal offense.

I mean, Congress (or any individual Congresspeople) could ask. There's nothing stopping them. But they know that Mueller himself isn't authorized to release it, so if they ask him he'll just say, "get DoJ to clear it and I'll hand it right over," which puts them right back where they started.
posted by jackbishop at 11:12 AM on May 2, 2019 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Ah, makes sense. Thanks, just what I wanted to know!
posted by nantucket at 11:21 AM on May 2, 2019

The Constitution isn't, shall we say, comprehensive, on the matter of the executive prerogative - what the President can do without Congressional authorization and what Congress can order the President to do. Executive-brand accountability to Congress is overwhelmingly enforced by the power of the purse-strings: the President permits Secretary X or Admiral Y to testify and produce documents because Congress can zero out their budgets if he doesn't.
posted by MattD at 1:13 PM on May 2, 2019 [3 favorites]

they basically have. deadline is past. here in lies the problem
posted by patnok at 5:48 PM on May 2, 2019

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