The House Judiciary Committee voted 22-12 Wednesday morning to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress for refusing to give the committee the full, unredacted Mueller report, essentially holding him in contempt for following the law. The full House will reportedly vote on the measure some time Wednesday afternoon.
“Even in redacted form, the special counsel’s report offers disturbing evidence and analysis that Trump engaged in obstruction of justice at the highest levels. Congress must see the full report and underlying evidence to determine how to best move forward with oversight, legislation and other constitutional responsibilities,” Nadler said in a statement on Monday to explain the move.
“The attorney general’s failure to comply with our subpoena, after extensive accommodation efforts, leaves us no choice but to initiate contempt proceedings in order to enforce the subpoena and access the full, unredacted report. If the department presents us with a good-faith offer for access to the full report and the underlying evidence, I reserve the right to postpone these proceedings,” he added.
Barr, however, has already provided a 99 percent unredacted version of the report to 12 members of Congress–six Democrats and six Republicans– to read in a SCIF at Justice Department headquarters or a secure room on Capitol Hill. Every single Democrat passed on the opportunity.
The attorney general refuses to hand over the full report because there are legal restrictions that prevent him from releasing:
- grand jury material
- material related to on-going investigations
- information about people not charged in the investigations (privacy)
- national security material the intelligence agencies should not be made public
The White House announced Wednesday that President Trump would assert executive privilege over the Mueller report, which House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y) condemned as “a clear escalation” and a “last-minute outburst.”
“They’re asking for information they know they can’t have. The attorney general is actually upholding the law,” Sanders said, adding, “Chairman Nadler is asking the attorney general of the United States to break the law and commit a crime by releasing information that he knows he has no legal authority to have. It’s truly outrageous and absurd what the chairman is doing and he should be embarrassed that he’s behaving this way.”
Sanders also took a swipe at Nadler’s understanding of the law, saying that she understands it “better than he does.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif) made the same points yesterday on Fox News, Tuesday.
“If you look at what Nadler’s actions have been, you question even his ability to be a chairman,” said McCarthy.
He explained that at the beginning of each Congress, committees adopt rules to be followed for the next two years, but that Nadler tried to “change the rules” midsession with his scheme to let committee staff lawyers question the Attorney General. Barr skipped that hearing last week, spurring a circus-like atmosphere in which Nadler blasted President Trump and Rep. Steve Cohen, (D-Tenn) paraded a bucket of KFC around the hearing room and proceeded to devour the fried chicken in front of the cameras–to mock Barr for being a “chicken.”
I found a better chicken picture of Rep Cohen?
— VK (@vjeannek) May 3, 2019
McCarthy said that Nadler “is failing in the most basic motions of being a chairman,” and that he is effectively asking Barr to “break the law” by demanding he hand over unredacted documents that are under the executive branch’s purview.
During the House Judiciary Committee debate toward a impeachment resolution, this morning, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) accused Democrats of trying destroy the attorney general before he has a chance to investigate SpyGate.
“Bill Barr is following the law and what’s his reward? Democrats are going to hold him in contempt,” Jordan explained.
“I don’t think today’s actually about getting information. I don’t think it’s about getting the unredacted Mueller report. I don’t think it’s actually about having staff question the attorney general.
It’s about trying to destroy Bill Barr because Democrats are nervous he’s going to get to the bottom of everything. He’s going to find out how and why this investigation started in the first place. Never forget what Bill Barr said a few weeks ago.
Jordan explained that the attorney general had said four very interesting things during his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, last week.
1) There was a failure of leadership at the upper echelons of the FBI.
2) Spying did occur.
3) There was a basis for his concern about the spying.
4) There may have been unauthorized surveillance and political surveillance.
He reminded his colleagues that on January 3, 2017, Senator Schumer infamously said on the Rachel Maddow Show regarding then-President-elect Trump: “If you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you.”
Jordan said that two of the ways in which the FBI tried to frame Trump involved the use of the Clinton-funded, unverified Steele Dossier to get a warrant to spy on Trump adviser Carter Page and human “informants” to spy on Trump Campaign advisers.
“It’s called spying. They did it,” Jordan declared. “What I know is Bill Barr said he’s gonna get to the bottom of it.”