Judiciary Panel Readies Contempt Against AG as Justice Dept. Tries To Head it Off

Judiciary Panel Readies Contempt Against AG as Justice Dept. Tries To Head it Off


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Janet Ybarra
Former Washington Journalist
Contributor on The Bipartisan Press

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The House Judiciary Committee has readied preparations Wednesday to move forward and officially hold Attorney General William “Bill” Barr in contempt of Congress.

Specifically, Barr would be held in contempt for failing to comply with a committee subpoena demanding that Barr turn over to the panel an unredacted copy of the Mueller Report and all underlying evidence.

Meanwhile, the Justice Department is reportedly attempting to float a compromise that would preempt any attempt to find Barr in contempt over the matter.

Committee members will meet Wednesday morning to debate and vote on a resolution and a supporting report. The contempt report provides an explanation of the committee’s urgent need for Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report and underlying evidence, and the history of the committee’s efforts to negotiate with the attorney general, among other details, according to a statement from the committee.

The Justice Department released a redacted version of the Mueller Report last month. Barr also offered limited access to a less-redacted version to a few select lawmakers. But that suggestion was rejected by congressional Democrats.

If the committee and the Justice Department cannot reach a compromise by then, on Wednesday, the Judiciary Committee likely will approve the contempt resolution and send it to the full House for approval.

“Even in redacted form, the Special Counsel’s report offers disturbing evidence and analysis that President 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,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) said in a statement released prior to the latest Justice Department maneuvering. “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,” Nadler added.

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