Committee Votes to Hold Attorney General Barr in Contempt

Capitol Hill.

Capitol Hill.

On Wednesday the House Judiciary Committee voted to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress because he had failed to hand over an unredacted version of the special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler said that this is not something that he takes lightly and that President Trump wants to make himself “king.”

The Report

Last month the long-awaited Mueller report was released, and since then Congress has been requesting that William Barr release the entire, unredacted version. This has not yet happened even though Barr has been given multiple deadlines since the report was first released to do so. On Wednesday Congress voted to hold Barr in contempt of Congress, the final vote was 24-16. “This is not a step we take lightly,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., said before the vote. “This is a culmination of three months of requests, discussions, and negotiations with the Department of Justice.” [1]

“You cannot have a government in which the president can conceal all information about his own wrongdoing and about anything else,’’ Nadler told CNN Wednesday. “He wants to make himself a king and Congress cannot permit that.” [2]

An Escalating Cold War

Shortly before the vote was held the Justice Department delivered a letter to Nadler requesting that he delay the vote or Trump would have to execute his executive priveledges over the full Mueller report. The moves only escalate the tensions between the Democrats and Republicans before the coming election.

Nadler claimed that Barr is held in contempt of Congress due to refusing to adhere to a subpoena issued by Congress. “If allowed to go unchecked, this obstruction means the end of congressional oversight. No person—and certainly not the top law enforcement officer in the country—can be permitted to flout the will of Congress and to defy a valid subpoena,” Nadler said.

Republicans, however, believe that releasing the full report to the public would break the law and the Justice Department seems to agree. “It is deeply disappointing that elected representatives of the American people have chosen to engage in such inappropriate political theatrics,” DOJ spokesperson Kerri Kupic said. “Regrettably, Chairman Nadler’s actions have prematurely terminated the accommodation process and forced the President to assert executive privilege to preserve the status quo. No one, including Chairman Nadler and his Committee, will force the Department of Justice to break the law.” [3]


  1. ^House committee votes to hold Attorney General Barr in contempt.” 9 May. 2019, (go back  ↩)
  2. ^Nadler Says Trump Wants to Be ‘King’ and Congress Must Stop Him.” 9 May. 2019, (go back  ↩)
  3. ^Dems vote to hold AG in contempt as Trump asserts privilege over full Mueller report.” 9 May. 2019,–abc-news-topstories.html. (go back  ↩)

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