Justice Department to provide Mueller evidence to Congress

WASHINGTON, June 10 (Reuters) - The U.S. Justice Department has agreed to provide evidence gathered during Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation to lawmakers who are considering whether to launch impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump, a top Democrat said on Monday.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler said he will hold off on a threat to bring criminal contempt charges against Attorney General William Barr, as long as the Justice Department continues to provide materials sought by his committee.

The agreement marks a rare moment of compromise between the Trump administration and congressional Democrats, who have been seeking materials from Mueller's two-year investigation, which examined Russia's interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and whether Trump tried to undermine the probe.

Nadler's committee has issued subpoenas for an unredacted version of Mueller's 448-page report, released in April, as well as underlying evidence gathered during the process.

The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives is expected to vote on Tuesday on a measure that would authorize a lawsuit to enforce those subpoenas.

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Attorney General William Barr testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the Mueller report
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Attorney General William Barr testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the Mueller report
Attorney General William Barr is photographed as he sits down to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Attorney General William Barr, right, is sworn in by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., left, as he faces lawmakers' questions for the first time since releasing special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia report, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 1, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Attorney General William Barr is sworn in to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 1, 2019, on the Mueller Report. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Attorney General William Barr is sworn in to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 1, 2019, on the Mueller Report. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Attorney General William Barr testifies during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 1, 2019, on the Mueller report. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Attorney General William Barr testifies during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 1, 2019, on the Mueller report. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Attorney General William Barr testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee about the Russia report by special counsel Robert Mueller on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 1, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Attorney General William Barr testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Attorney General William Barr testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Attorney General William Barr testifies during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 1, 2019, on the Mueller Report. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Attorney General William Barr testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Attorney General William Barr testifies during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 1, 2019, on the Mueller Report. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Attorney General William Barr testifies during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 1, 2019, on the Mueller Report. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
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Nadler said there will be no need to move ahead with the lawsuit if the Justice Department provides the material sought by his committee.

"It is critical that Congress is able to obtain the information we need to do our jobs," he said in a statement.

The agreement indicates that the Trump administration is not stonewalling Congress, the committee's top Republican, Representative Doug Collins, said.

"Is the chairman prepared to rescind his baseless recommendation to hold the attorney general in contempt, or do House Democrats still plan to green light lawsuits against the attorney general and former White House counsel tomorrow?" Collins said.

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