Democrats issue subpoena to see all of Mueller’s Russia probe evidence

The Mueller Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election is pictured in New York, New York, U.S., April 18, 2019. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

By Doina Chiacu and David Morgan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Congressional Democrats on Friday demanded to see all of U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s evidence from his inquiry into Russian interference in the 2016 election, as they consider how to use the probe’s findings against President Donald Trump.

U.S. Attorney General William Barr, flanked by Acting Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General Edward O'Callaghan and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, speaks at a news conference to discuss Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential race, in Washington, U.S., April 18, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

U.S. Attorney General William Barr, flanked by Acting Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General Edward O’Callaghan and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, speaks at a news conference to discuss Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential race, in Washington, U.S., April 18, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

House of Representatives Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, a Democrat, issued a subpoena to the Justice Department to hand over the full Russia report by Mueller, saying he cannot accept a redacted version released on Thursday that “leaves most of Congress in the dark.”

“My committee needs and is entitled to the full version of the report and the underlying evidence consistent with past practice. The redactions appear to be significant. We have so far seen none of the actual evidence that the Special Counsel developed to make this case,” Nadler said in a statement.

The report provided extensive details on Trump’s efforts to thwart Mueller’s Russia investigation, giving Democrats plenty of political ammunition against the Republican president but no consensus on how to use it.

The 448-page report painted a clear picture of how Trump had tried to hinder the probe but did not conclude that he had committed the crime of obstruction of justice, although it did not exonerate him.

The report blacked out details about secret grand jury information, U.S. intelligence gathering and active criminal cases as well as potentially damaging information about peripheral players who were not charged. Half a dozen former Trump aides were charged by Mueller’s office or convicted of crimes during the 22-month-long investigation.

The Democrats’ subpoena gives U.S. Attorney General William Barr until May 1 to produce the materials requested.

Democratic leaders played down talk of impeachment just 18 months before the 2020 presidential election, even as some prominent members of the party’s progressive wing, most notably U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, promised to push the idea.

Former FBI director Mueller also concluded there was not enough evidence to establish that Trump’s campaign engaged in a criminal conspiracy with Moscow to sway the 2016 election, a finding that has been was known since late March when Barr released a summary of what he described as Mueller’s principle conclusions.

(Reporting by David Morgan and Doina Chiacu; Additional reporting by Sarah N. Lynch and Andy Sullivan; Writing by Alistair Bell; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Grant McCool)

Long lines, raised voices, one Trump lawsuit on U.S. election day

Voters line up to cast their ballot on election day at a polling station in Harlem.

By Andy Sullivan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Voters reported long lines, malfunctioning equipment, and isolated cases of harassment at polling places in Tuesday’s U.S. presidential election as fears of bigger problems did not appear to be materializing.

Civil rights groups said they were receiving complaints about intimidating behavior at voting sites in Pennsylvania and Florida as supporters of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and backers of Democrat Hillary Clinton went to cast their ballots.

But a Democratic Party source said the Clinton campaign was not encountering systemic problems beyond the usual Election Day hiccups. Trump sued the registrar of voters in Clark County, Nevada, with a claim that a polling place in Las Vegas had improperly been allowed to remain open last week to accommodate people who were lined up to vote. Nevada is one of several states that allow early voting.

Trump has repeatedly said the election will be “rigged” but has not provided evidence for his claim. He called on his supporters to watch for signs of fraud in urban areas, raising fears they could harass minority voters. Numerous studies have found that voter fraud is exceedingly rare in the United States.

Tens of millions of voters are expected to cast ballots to conclude what has been an unusually bitter presidential campaign that has lasted nearly two years.

The federal government reduced its election monitoring program in the wake of a 2013 U.S. Supreme Court decision that weakened federal oversight of states with a history of racial discrimination. Revised voting laws and lengthy court battles in many states also have left voters uncertain about when and where they can cast their ballot and whether they will need to present photo identification.

Civil rights groups, who have enlisted 7,000 volunteers, said they had fielded 20,000 calls to a telephone hotline by early afternoon.

Nearly half of those complaints were about polling places not opening on time or voting machines not working properly, said Kristen Clarke, president of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. About 28 percent of calls were from people finding out that they were not registered to vote.

But some were calling to report harassment, she said.

“What we have noticed is an uptick in the number of voter intimidation and voter harassment incidents,” compared with the last presidential election in 2012, she said.

In Broward County, Florida, two election clerks at a  polling site were fired after they clashed over how to resolve complaints of voter intimidation, local media reported.

In Jacksonville, Florida, one man refused to leave a polling place when he was asked, she said.

More than half of the voter intimidation complaints were coming from Pennsylvania, where poll workers were reportedly asking voters which candidate they supported, and voters waiting in line were shouting at each other, said Karen Hobert Flynn, president of Common Cause, a grassroots group.

The Philadelphia district attorney’s office, which monitors voting in the state’s largest city, said on Twitter it was not receiving any complaints out of the ordinary.

Durham County in North Carolina agreed to extend the poll closing time to 8:30 p.m. after computer problems, the state chapter of the NAACP said.

(Reporting by Andy Sullivan; Additional reporting by Mark Hosenball, Julia Harte and David Ingram; editing by Grant McCool)

More first-time voters, late-deciders in U.S. presidential race

First-time voter Kaeli Askea poses for a selfie with her mother Erin Collins-Askea after voting at the James Weldon Johnson school in East Harlem, New York City.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Some 15 percent of Americans who cast a ballot on Tuesday said it was their first time voting in a presidential election, according to an early reading from the Reuters/Ipsos national Election Day poll, up from 9 percent of voters who said so in 2012.

The poll of nearly 35,000 people also showed that 13 percent of voters had waited until the final week of the presidential race to make up their mind between the candidates, who include Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump, up from 9 percent who said so in 2012.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation announced in late October that it was looking at more emails connected to its investigation of Clinton’s use of a personal email server while secretary of state. FBI Director James Comey later said that the new trove of emails did not affect his earlier decision to not bring a criminal case against Clinton.

(Editing by Jonathan Oatis)