BLINK: Nadler Backs Off Push To Hold Barr In Contempt Of Congress
Rep. Jerrold Nader talks a tough game, but as things have gotten tough, he got going.
Nadler, the New York Democrat who heads the House Judiciary Committee, had been pushing for a vote on holding Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress. On Monday, he backed off that call.
“I am pleased to announce that the Department of Justice has agreed to begin complying with our committee’s subpoena by opening Robert Mueller’s most important files to us, providing us with key evidence that the Special Counsel used to assess whether the President and others obstructed justice or were engaged in other misconduct,” Nadler said in a statement. “These documents will allow us to perform our constitutional duties and decide how to respond to the allegations laid out against the President by the Special Counsel.”
The files from Mueller’s investigation that will be turned over concern whether President Trump obstructed justice, Fox News reported.
Nadler said both Democrats and Republicans will be allowed to view the files. In exchange, Nadler called off a contempt vote.
“Given our conversations with the Department, I will hold the criminal contempt process in abeyance for now,” he said. “We have agreed to allow the Department time to demonstrate compliance with this agreement. If the Department proceeds in good faith and we are able to obtain everything we need, then there will be no need to take further steps.”
Nadler said, though, that if “important information is held back,” the committee would have “no choice but to enforce our subpoena in court and consider other remedies.”
Last month, Nadler’s committee voted to hold Barr in contempt. The Justice Department had refused to hand over an unredacted version of Mueller’s report into alleged collusion between Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russia or the underlying documents, which total thousands of pages. Fox reported that the committee is still prepared “to move forward on a separate contempt-related resolution to enforce subpoenas for Barr and former White House Counsel Don McGahn. The measure is scheduled to be prepared late Monday in the House Rules Committee, for possible floor action on Tuesday.”
The top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, said Nadler is doing the right thing.
“Today’s good faith provision from the administration further debunks claims that the White House is stonewalling Congress, which Chairman [Rep. Adam] Schiff’s successful negotiations with the Justice Department already showed,” Collins said, referring to a deal between the House Intelligence Committee and the Justice Department
Mueller testified last month that there was “not sufficient evidence to charge a conspiracy.”
“If we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said that,” Mueller said. “We did not determine whether the president did commit a crime,” he said, adding that “charging the president was not an option we could consider.”
That’s when Nadler moved forward with the notion of impeachment.
“Given that Special Counsel Robert Mueller was unable to pursue criminal charges against the President, it falls to Congress to respond to the crimes, lies and other wrongdoing of President Trump—and we will do so,” Nadler said in a statement. “No one, not even the President of the United States, is above the law.”