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Attorney General William Barr will not attend a House hearing on the Mueller Report today.
The hearing comes one day after an all day Senate questioning of Barr on his handling of the Mueller Report. He cited disagreements over the way questioning would be conducted in the House hearing as his reason for not attending.
Some have expressed support for Barr’s decision. Richard Charles, former assistant secretary of state for the GW Bush administration, said in an opinion piece for Fox News, “House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y, did something Wednesday that Americans have not seen since Sen. Joseph McCarthy, R-Wis., threw democracy aside, running roughshod over rules, fellow members of Congress and due process in the 1950s.”
Charles further explained, “Nadler ignored House rules, dismissed Republican motions and refused 40 attempts to permit committee debate, regular order and amendments so he could get the Democratic majority on the committee to impose the unreasonable requirement that Attorney General Barr be questioned by a Democratic and a Republican attorney … Thursday morning.”
Refuses to participate in process used as political weapon
Nadler expressed his anger at Barr’s refusal to attend the hearing.
“He’s trying to blackmail the committee into not following the most effective means of eliciting the information we need,” Nadler said. “He is terrified of having to face a skilled attorney.”
AG Barr denied any fear of testifying. Instead, he reiterated his willingness to testify before committee members, just as he did before the Senate on Wednesday.
Citing his frustration with Congressional Democrats’ refusal to accept Mueller’s findings of no collusion. “We have to stop using the criminal justice process as a political weapon,” Barr said during a heated exchange with Sen. Richard Blumethal (D-Ny)
Continues to refuse release of full report
Wednesday, Barr once again refused to hand over the full report and documentation. The Justice Department has already made a less-redacted version of the Mueller Report available for a few key Congress members, including Nadler and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), but Democrats have so far declined to read it, saying they will wait for the release of the entire report.
In a letter to the committee Wednesday, Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd repeated the reasons the DoJ will not provide the full Mueller report or all the underlying evidence. Boyd stated the files contain, “millions of pages of classified and unclassified documents, bearing upon more than two dozen criminal cases and investigations, many of which are ongoing.” Boyd also said they would not disclose secret grand jury material, another battle that could end up in court if Nadler decides to fight it.
Democratic Caucus chairman Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., said Wednesday afternoon that Democrats plan to subpoena Barr “if he decides not to show up.”
“He can run but he can’t hide,” Jeffries quipped.
Chariman Nadler torpedoed the hearing
“It’s a shame Members of the House Judiciary Committee won’t get the opportunity to hear from Attorney General Barr this Thursday, because Chairman Nadler chose to torpedo our hearing,” House Judiciary Committee ranking member Doug Collins, R-Ga., said in a statement. “The attorney general gave clear, informative testimony in the Senate Wednesday, as he offered to do more than a month ago in the House tomorrow.
“Well, to all my friends on the other side: We gave Mueller two years to do his job,” Graham said. “He had 19 lawyers. He had $25 million, he interviewed 500 people, he issued 2,000 subpoenas. He had plenty of opportunity without interference. The president gave him a million and a half documents. Everybody around the president and on the president’s campaign testified voluntarily, and here’s what we know: There was no conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russians at all. Mueller could not decide — chose not to press forward on obstruction. I always thought the obstruction argument was absurd. It is over, and the reason they are mad at Barr and me is because they didn’t get the outcome they want. My friends on the other side want an outcome, and they don’t care how they get it.”
Calls for Barr’s resignation
Several top Democrats have called for Barr’s resignation in the wake of his Senate testimony on Wednesday, including Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris, both presidential candidates for the 2020 election.
Yesterday’s prolonged hearing covered everything from Barr’s decision not to pursue an obstruction case against President Trump to perceived delays in getting a redacted version of Mueller’s report to the public to Mueller’s apparent concerns about how Barr initially relayed his findings to Congress.
“Those intent on bringing down President Trump should remember: Ends do not justify means in a democracy,” Charles said in his op-ed. “Joe McCarthy learned – the hard way. Here we go again. When will the Democratic abuse of power stop?”