House Judiciary Committee Votes 24-16 To Hold A.G. William Barr In Contempt Of Congress
The Judiciary Committee voted 24-16 on Wednesday to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress for failing to release the unredacted Mueller Report, ignoring the committee’s subpoenas.
Before the vote began, President Donald Trump invoked executive privilege to prevent the release of the unredacted report. It was an act Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) lamented during his opening statement, accusing Trump of “misapplying the doctrine of executive privilege” in what’s a “clear escalation in the Trump administration’s blanket defiance” in allowing Congress to fulfill its duties.
“The information we are requesting is entirely in our legal right to receive,” Nadler said. “Our fight is about defending the rights of Congress to hold the president — any president — accountable.”
Democrats maintain Barr and the Justice Department should release the full, unredacted Mueller report. Barr, however, has only offered to allow more lawmakers access to a less redacted iteration of the report and ignored the Committee’s subpoenas to release the whole report.
Shortly before the vote began, both parties took an opportunity to denounce how the other side handled Mueller’s probe. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) described the special counsel’s investigation as an “attempted coup,” borrowing a phrase Trump used. Fellow GOP members Doug Collins and Steve Chabot echoed the sentiment, claiming the origins of Mueller’s investigation is the worrisome scandal, not anything it found. Nadler addressed their subpoenas as “the beginning of a dialogue,” while Republicans claim said subpoenas ended the dialogue.
During the hearing, Rep. Jackson Lee (D-Texas) slammed Trump’s executive privilege, comparing it to taking “a wrecking ball to the Constitution.” Rep. Gay Scanlon, the Vice Chair of the Judiciary Committee, had harsh words for Trump too, saying, “If you think there is no collusion and no obstruction, you have not read the Mueller Report. I am not afraid, I am profoundly saddened. We have an administration acting not just in contempt of Congress and the rule of law but the American people.”