Nadler Schedules Vote To Hold Barr In Contempt Of Congress

The Mueller report as released by the Department of Justice showed the special counsel looked into whether Trump committed obstruction and laid out specific, unsuccessful instances by Trump to obstruct the special counsel itself. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler subpoenaed the full document and underlying evidence, setting an initial deadline that Barr missed last week.

In a resolution filed Monday morning, Nadler recommends that Barr be found guilty of contempt of Congress.

The vote to hold Barr in contempt marks the first time that House Democrats are moving to punish a Trump administration official for defying a congressional subpoena and represents a dramatic escalation in tensions between Democrats and the White House.

A contempt citation could lead to a civil court case against Barr, raising the possibility of fines and even imprisonment for failure to comply.

Mueller and Barr later spoke on the phone, Justice Department officials told CNN, with the special counsel asserting that while Barr's letter to Congress summarizing the report was not wrong, it did not characterize the issue of potential obstruction of justice as effectively as the report.

Collins said the upcoming vote is "illogical and disingenuous" as negotiations are underway with the Justice Department for access.

Such a move against an attorney general is not unprecedented, however. "Before the American people", tweeted Rep. Adam Schiff, the California Democrat who chairs the House Intelligence Committee.

In the letter, the former prosecutors say special counsel Robert Mueller's report "describes several acts that satisfy all of the elements for an obstruction charge".

Regardless, Trump's tweet represented a hardening of his own position and seemed certain to infuriate Democrats already angered by administration moves to impede a series of congressional inquiries.

"As former federal prosecutors, we recognize that prosecuting obstruction of justice cases is critical because unchecked obstruction - which allows intentional interference with criminal investigations to go unpunished - puts our whole system of justice at risk", the letter states.

Sixty percent say Trump is not honest or truthful about Mueller's investigation, and by a 42-to-29-percent margin, voters already understand that the report doesn't clear Trump. He did, however, testify last week for five hours to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel policy concludes that a sitting president can not be indicted. Jerry Nadler (NY) has also said that the committee is trying to schedule Mueller to testify on May 15. They say this included the "dangling of pardons" in "plain sight", referring to Trump tweets and public statements.

He then added: "Are they looking for a redo because they hated seeing the strong NO COLLUSION conclusion?" It's an opportunity to explain what is in the report and review the 10 episodes of conduct that could support a charge of obstruction of justice. "Nevertheless, the tables are turning!"

"I really could not recapitulate his analysis", Barr said at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last week.

  • Joey Payne