The House Judiciary Committee has officially begun contempt proceedings against Attorney General William Barr for failing to provide the committee with the unredacted version of the Mueller report.
On Monday morning, Judiciary Committee chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-New York) announced that members of the committee would initiate the process to hold AG Barr in contempt for his failure to meet the previously announced deadline of May 1 in a subpoena to provide the full report to Congress.
“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,” Nadler stated in a press release. “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.
Committee members will vote today on the approval of a contempt report outlining Barr’s failure to produce the Mueller report, a background of the findings in the unredacted version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s final report, and a resolution to hold Barr in contempt. Should the committee — which is controlled by Democrats — pass the resolution, it would then move to the House floor for a full vote by the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives. At that point, Barr would be subjected to legal proceedings.
Last week, Barr refused to appear before the House Judiciary Committee for a scheduled testimony, following his open testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. His reasoning for declining to appear was due to Democrats on the committee choosing to ask questions through a staff attorney, rather than ask the questions themselves. Republicans did the same in 2018, when Christine Blasey Ford — who accused then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were in high school — appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Carl Gibson is a politics contributor for Grit Post. His work has previously been published in The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Houston Chronicle, Al-Jazeera America, and NPR, among others. Follow him on Twitter @crgibs or send him an email at carl at gritpost dot com.