By ERIC TUCKER                           and MARY CLARE JALONICK           Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Attorney General William Barr told Congress Tuesday he expects to release his redacted version of the special counsel’s Trump-Russia investigation report “within a week,” while Democrats criticized his handling of the long-awaited document and demanded he turn it over in full.

Barr bluntly defended his dealing with the report and said portions must remain hidden to comply with the law. He said he could be open to eventually releasing some of the redacted material after consulting with congressional leaders, but maintained he had no plans to seek a judge’s approval to disclose grand jury material. Democrats, he said, were “free to go to court” on their own to ask for it.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler said he could issue subpoenas “very quickly” if Robert Mueller’s report is released with redactions after Democrats failed “to reach an accommodation with the attorney general under which we would see the report and the underlying evidence.” He said of Barr: “He has been unresponsive to our requests.”

The attorney general appeared before a House appropriations subcommittee to discuss his department’s budget request — normally a sleepy affair — but Democrats, in particular, were more interested in asking questions about the report. While opening the hearing, subcommittee Chairman Jose Serrano of New York called it “the elephant in the room.”

Barr wouldn’t discuss the substance of the special counsel’s investigation into possible connections between Russia and Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, but he did explain some of what to expect when the report is released: He said the redactions will be color-coded and accompanied by notes explaining any decisions to withhold information.

“This process is going along very well and my original timetable of being able to release this by mid-April stands,” Barr said.

Congress, the White House and the American public have been anxiously waiting for Barr to release the report since special counsel Mueller concluded his investigation and sent it to the attorney general more than two weeks ago. Justice Department officials are scouring the nearly 400-page document to remove grand jury information and details relating to pending investigations, among other materials.

Democrats say they will not accept any redactions.

At Tuesday’s hearing, Democrats said they were concerned that a four-page summary letter of the report’s main conclusions Barr released last month portrayed the findings in an overly favorable way for President Trump. The letter said that Mueller did not find a criminal conspiracy between Russia and Trump associates in the 2016 campaign, and that Barr did not believe the evidence in the report was sufficient to prove the president had obstructed justice.

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