The House Judiciary Committee has scheduled for Wednesday a committee vote on a report recommending that Attorney General Bill Barr be held in contempt for failing to turn over an unredacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report. If the recommendation passes, the next step — if Democrats seek to move forward with holding Barr in contempt — would be a vote on a contempt resolution on the House floor.
“Although the Committee has attempted to engage in accommodations with Attorney General Barr for several months, it can no longer afford to delay, and must resort to contempt proceedings,” the Judiciary Committee report released on Monday reads.
Democrats have issued a subpoena for the full report and the underlying evidence. Barr has not complied with the subpoena and has said that federal law prohibits him from removing some of the redactions in the public version, such as the redactions for grand jury materials. He has offered certain members of Congress an opportunity to view a version that has other redactions removed.
House Judiciary Committee Jerry Nadler (D-NY) said in a statement with the announcement of the vote that, “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.”
The top Republican on the committee, Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) called the Democrats’ move “illogical and disingenuous,” and accused Democrats of launching “a proxy war smearing the attorney general when their anger actually lies with the president and the special counsel, who found neither conspiracy nor obstruction.”
The Mueller investigation did not find evidence establishing a Trump criminal conspiracy with Russia, but the special counsel did not come to a conclusion one way or another whether President Trump committed criminal obstruction.
The House Judiciary report, acknowledging the legal and policy issues Barr has claimed in defending the redactions, said the committee “has sought to negotiate an accommodation acceptable to both the Attorney General and the Committee.”
The redacted Mueller report “does not provide sufficient details for the Committee to perform its own constitutional duty and engage in a thorough independent investigation based on the Mueller Report’s findings,” according the House Judiciary resolution.
“It is imperative that the Committee have access to all of the facts contained in the full Mueller Report, to the evidentiary and investigatory materials cited in the Mueller Report, and to other materials produced and collected by the Special Counsel’s office,” the resolution said. “Access to these materials is essential to the Committee’s ability to effectively investigate possible misconduct, and consider appropriate legislative, oversight, or other constitutionally warranted responses.”
The resolution, later on, name-checks “impeachment” as one of those constitutionally warranted responses, “as well as the consideration of other steps such as censure or issuing criminal, civil or administrative referrals.”
“No determination has been made as to such further actions, and the Committee needs to review the unredacted report, the underlying evidence, and associated documents so that it can ascertain the facts and consider our next steps,” the resolution said.
Read the full resolution the Judiciary Committee will vote on here:
- Contributions allow us to hire more journalists
- Contributions allow us to provide free memberships to those who cannot afford them
- Contributions support independent, non-corporate journalism