House Judiciary Committee Votes to Hold Attorney General William Barr in Contempt

House Judiciary Committee Votes to Hold Attorney General William Barr in Contempt

The House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday held Attorney General William Barr in contempt for failing to abide by a subpoena to turn over an unredacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller's report to Congress.

"If the committee decides to proceed in spite of this request, however, the Attorney General will advise the President to make a protective assertion of executive privilege", the letter said, adding that "accommodations" were proposed by the DOJ and were rejected by Democrats.

The current attorney general, who was appointed by the president, missed another deadline last week to release an uncensored version of the report.

Trump is stonewalling numerous investigations by the Democrats, who control the House, of his administration, family and business interests, with court action likely to follow. "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".

Nadler blasted the department for abruptly breaking off "good faith negotiations" to invoke such privilege, and said its legal arguments lacked "credibility, merit, or legal or factual basis".

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declared on Tuesday that the investigations of President Donald Trump and his 2016 campaign were "case closed" for him and blasted Democrats in Congress for what he sees as their "unhinged partisanship". The Office of Legal Counsel memo says we cannot indict a president, but William P. Barr can exonerate him without examining the underlying evidence and then hide the unredacted report from Congress.

Democrats are adamant that Barr should turn over the entire unredacted Mueller report and any underlying materials, which the Justice Department has refused. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and the president - and the husband of White House adviser Kellyanne Conway said their efforts left the nation unprepared for future attacks on election integrity.

Democrats argue that the subpoenaed records lost the shield of executive privilege when the president allowed McGahn to share the documents with his lawyer and to discuss them with Mueller.

The House Judiciary Committee then voted to hold Barr in contempt of Congress.


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi backed the chairman's decision.

Following the end of Mueller's investigation, Attorney General William Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein decided there was not sufficient evidence to prosecute an obstruction case.

But when former Attorney General Eric Holder faced a House vote that ultimately led to him being held in contempt for the Fast and Furious scandal in 2012, Nadler was singing a different tune. McConnell said Democrats are "grieving" the result.

Besides documents, the House Judiciary committee's subpoena also asks McGahn to testify later this month. "What a cynical, mean-spirited, counterproductive and irresponsible step", said Doug Collins, the committee's top Republican.

The last time Congress used its contempt powers to arrest an administration official was the 1930s, although it has held ten officials in contempt since 1975.

Mr Mueller said he could not establish a criminal conspiracy between the Mr Trump campaign and Russian Federation, but he did not reach a conclusion on whether Mr Trump obstructed justice. Executive privilege is the president's power to keep information from the courts, Congress and the public to protect the confidentiality of the Oval Office decision-making process.

Barr has said he had no objection to letting Mueller testify before Congress about his investigation.

Barr last month released a redacted copy of the Mueller report, with the prosecutor concluding neither Trump nor his campaign colluded with Russian Federation, but reached no conclusion whether Trump, as president, obstructed justice during the 22-month investigation.

Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer later released a statement criticizing the Senate's top Republican over his statement.

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