On March 22, Special Counsel Robert Mueller concluded his 22-month-long investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 USA presidential election by submitting a almost 400-page confidential report of his findings to Attorney General William Barr.
Barr said the White House did not review his letter, but he declined to answer questions about whether the White House has been briefed on the report.
The Democrats are demanding that they see the full report and all its underlying evidence, though Trump and his Republican allies are pushing back. "I suspect that they probably wanted more put out", he said.
Attorney General William Barr will face Congress on Tuesday amid questions about the Mueller report.
Last week, Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee prepared subpoenas that they plan to issue to the Justice Department if Mr. Barr does not agree to release the Mueller report in full. "Until someone shows me a provision" permitting the release of grand jury material, Barr said, "Congress doesn't get" that material. But not every page is likely to be seen by the public, which could deepen a controversy already swirling around Barr's refusal to release the full report.
According to news reports two weeks ago, Barr first objected to the administration backing off its support for the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, but he was essentially overruled by White House officials, leading him to carry out their new policy decision.
The chairman of the Ways and Means subcommittee, Democratic Rep. Jose Serrano of NY, told Barr there were "serious concerns about the process by which you formulated your letter; and uncertainty about when we can expect to see the full report". Barr said he suspected that members of Mueller's team wanted more from him, but he explained that he wasn't trying to summarize the full report with his four-page letter, which stated Mueller's investigation did not establish a criminal conspiracy between Trump's team and Russian Federation, and that Mueller reached no conclusion on the question of obstruction of justice.
Barr did not commit to providing the full report to Congress, despite requests by Democratic lawmakers.
Nita Lowey, chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, said Barr's letter summarizing the Mueller report appears to "cherry-pick from the report to draw the most favourable conclusion possible for the president". The reports said that some of the evidence against Mr. Trump was more damning than Mr. Barr's letter indicated.
Barr's March 24 four-page summary raised as many questions as it resolved.
Others have said Barr made the right decision on the obstruction question, noting that it is hard to prove that Trump committed criminal obstruction if Mueller did not find that he destroyed evidence or directly interfered with the investigation - even though he assailed the inquiry as a "witch hunt" and called the investigators partisan zealots.
Expressing frustration with the lack of information given to Congress, Lowey pointed to news reports suggesting the final report from Mueller's team is between 300 and 400 pages long.