WASHINGTON -- The House expects to receive the first files of underlying evidence from Robert Mueller's report soon, after a sudden shift by the Justice Department as Democrats weigh impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump.
It's unclear if the deal, announced just moments before the start of a Judiciary Committee hearing with Watergate star witness John Dean, will ultimately be enough for Democrats who have called for the full, unredacted report and underlying documentation from the special counsel's work. But it signaled the first real breakthrough in the standoff over the report and came at the start of a week of ramped-up action by the House in the Trump-Russia probe.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., the chairman of the committee, said the Justice Department will provide some of Mueller's "most important files" and all members of the committee will be able to view them. He said the files will include those used to assess whether Trump obstructed justice.
In response to the agreement, Nadler said the panel will not vote to hold Attorney General William Barr in criminal contempt -- for now.
But the House will still vote on a resolution today that would empower the committee to file a civil lawsuit for the materials, if Democrats decide to do so.
That was the expected outcome even before the deal, as Democrats have shifted their strategy toward lawsuits and away from criminal contempt.