House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler has set Wednesday as the day for a vote on charging AG Barr with contempt.
Attorney General William Barr has refused to release the unredacted Mueller Report and its supporting documents. Barr cited the contents include confidential information on people investigated as well as grand jury information. Barr had until Monday at 9:00 a.m. to comply.
Last Thursday, Barr refused to attend the House hearing on the Mueller report, citing a change in the agreement for questioning. This resulted in a circus-like atmosphere by House Democrats, who laughed and ate fried chicken.
“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 Monday morning.
Nadler said the redacted version showed “disturbing evidence and analysis that President Trump engaged in obstruction of justice at the highest levels.” He said Barr’s failure to comply with congress’s requests for the full report “leaves us no choice but to initiate contempt proceedings.”
Republicans say the vote is all show
Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, said “Democrats have launched a proxy war smearing the attorney general” when their anger actually lies with the president. He said the upcoming vote is “illogical and disingenuous” as negotiations are underway with the Justice Department for access.
Collins’s reasoning is that even if the contempt vote passes, it won’t force the Justice Department to hand over the report. Nor would it mean criminal charges against Barr. It’s merely making a point. The full House would need to approve it, which would send a criminal referral to the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, a Justice Department official who is not likely to press charges against the attorney general.
Still, Democratic House leaders plan to use all the legal steps available in order to wreak havoc for the president and his cabinet at a time when the economy is booming and unemployment is at all time lows. The House Judiciary Committee could also file a civil lawsuit against the Justice Department — legal process which could take years to reach resolution. Some members of the committee have suggested they also could fine Barr if he continues to withhold the report and corroborating information.
Some members still calling for Trump impeachment
While some have called for impeachment proceedings against Trump, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she’s not interested in doing that. There are currently more pressing matters to take on.
In a letter to Barr on Friday, Nadler said the committee “will move to contempt proceedings and seek further legal recourse” if the Justice Department did not comply with the panel’s demand for the report.
Rep. Nadler has come under recent scrutiny regarding his ability to be impartial. Thus far he has refused to recuse himself from the hearings, even though his son works for a firm suing Trump.