The House Judiciary Committee voted Wednesday to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress for refusing to hand over special counsel Robert Mueller’s unredacted report and its underlying evidence.
The House Judiciary Committee voted Wednesday to hold Barr in contempt, with 24 lawmakers voting in favor of and 16 against the motion. Democrats strongly voted for the motion and Republicans vehemently objected.
The motion to hold Barr in contempt will move to the House floor later this month, where House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) signaled this week she will follow the committee’s lead on the contempt motion.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) said in his opening statement during the hearing, “Today, we consider a report recommending that the House of Representatives hold AG William Barr in contempt of Congress for defying a valid subpoena issued by this committee. This is not a step we take lightly.”
“Trump and his enablers may brazenly try to cover up misdeeds uncovered by the special counsel, but in this committee, we will represent the American people and ensure the truth is known. … If allowed to go unchecked, this obstruction means the end of congressional oversight,” Nadler said.
Nadler said that the Donald Trump administration was acting in “blanket defiance” of Congress’s duties, which he claimed was “entirely within legal rights” to receive.
Attorney General Barr has claimed that the DOJ has traditionally redacted information relating to grand jury information, information that would compromise intelligence gathering and sources, information that could interfere with ongoing investigations, and information that could impact the privacy and reputations of people not directly relating to the case in question.
House Judiciary Committee ranking member Doug Collins (R-GA) said during the hearing that Democrats want to “neutralize” Barr because they fear what he might discover regarding FISA abuses at the Justice Department and FBI.
Rep. Collins said:
Democrats are afraid of what the attorney general will find when he completes his ongoing review of FISA abuse at the Justice Department, including how the Russia investigation began. Multiple news reports have suggested those conclusions could be explosive, could end careers, and could even lead to criminal prosecution. Rather than face that, Democrats have resolved to neutralize Bill Barr by attacking him, the office, and his career.
“The Democrats have no plans, no purpose, no legislative agenda beyond attacking this administration,” the Georgia Republican added.
“The Obama Administration ran an intel operation against the Trump campaign. Peter Strzok opened it up, the dossier kept it going, and now the Democrats need to get over it,” Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) said, echoing Collins’ sentiment.
Chairman Nadler’s move to condemn Barr also reportedly has the support of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). When asked if she would support the contempt resolution, Pelosi said, “I will take my lead from the committee.”
When asked if she could support “inherent contempt” for Barr, where Congress enforces subpoena on its own, Pelosi says “I will take my lead from the committee.”
— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) May 8, 2019