House panel accuses Barr of contempt as Trump invokes executive privilege

Nearly half the report's pages contain some type of redaction including those around the Russian influence campaign, presidential pardons and other topics.

Judiciary Democrats also insisted that DOJ join the committee in requesting a court order for the panel to see the grand jury information, a demand Boyd said would force DOJ to ignore existing law.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler said late Monday that the hopes to make "concrete progress" toward resolving the dispute over gaining access to the report.

And committee Democrats quickly moved ahead with a contempt vote.

"This is unprecedented", said Nadler.

"Trump is goading us to impeach him", she said at an event in New York City hosted by the Cornell University Institute of Politics and Global Affairs. Some committee members have suggested they also could fine Barr as he withholds the information.

Pelosi endorsed the panel's effort to hold Barr in contempt of Congress and said if they report that citation out of the committee it will be brought to the House floor for a vote.

Democratic lawmakers took action after Mr Barr did not comply with a subpoena to release the Mueller report minus the redactions.

Those parts described many contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation. Mueller said there was not sufficient evidence to show a criminal conspiracy between Moscow and the campaign. All of this comes hard on the news earlier this week that the Treasury Department would not comply with a request for Trump's tax returns from House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, D-Massachusetts.

Mr. Barr said last week that he is investigating the origin of the FBI's counterintelligence investigation, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant process (which he has called "spying"), and the Steele dossier, which the Mueller report nearly entirely disproves.

Barr redacted four types of information from the Mueller report: grand jury material, classified information, material tied to ongoing investigations, and information that could harm "peripheral third parties".

The White House accused Mr Nadler of a "blatant abuse of power". "Democrats are going to hold him contempt", said Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), "I think it's all about trying to destroy Bill Barr because Democrats are nervous that he's going to get to the bottom of everything".

The last attorney general to be held in contempt of Congress was Eric Holder in 2012 during the Obama administration.

"The White House records remain legally protected from disclosure under longstanding constitutional principles, because they implicate significant executive branch confidentiality interests and executive privilege", Cipollone wrote.

After a failed military operation against Native Americans in 1791, President Washington refused to provide Congress documents and information linked to the action. Eisenhower even declared that executive privilege belonged to the entire executive branch. And when people like Nadler use that power as a political cudgel, they corrode the public's trust. Or so the argument goes: As noted before, only a federal court can sort it out, and legal precedents on these murky issues are few and far between. Nixon resigned shortly after in what became known as the Watergate Scandal.

The Supreme Court ruled 9-0 that a president's right to privacy in his communications must be balanced against the power of Congress to investigate and oversee the executive branch.

"As the law says, the administration "shall" give".

If they had, Democrats would have found they had access to more than 98 percent of the report, including 99.9 percent of the politically charged Volume II, according to Department of Justice.

There is undoubtedly some irony that Barr is the first administration official facing contempt proceedings when his department, unlike the White House counsel's office, actually came to the table to negotiate.

  • Leroy Wright


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT