House Democrats made a move Monday to begin contempt proceedings against Attorney General William Barr but have refused to read the less-redacted version of the Mueller report.
Democrats scheduled a vote Monday to consider a contempt citation against Barr unless he provides Mueller’s full report to Congress with evidence that supports the conclusion.
In scheduling the vote, Jerrold Nadler said the attorney general had left them “no choice but to initiate contempt proceedings in order to enforce the subpoena and access the full, un-redacted report.”
“We were disappointed that the Committee took initial steps this morning toward moving forward with the contempt process,” Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd stated in a letter to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY).
The letter also made it clear that the Department of Justice remains concerned over the rush to issue a subpoena.
“The Department reiterates its concerns with the Committee’s rush to issue a subpoena immediately after the Attorney General took the extraordinary step of publicly disclosing, with as few redactions as possible, the confidential report of Special counsel Mueller III, and after he took the further step of making an even-less-redacted version available to a bipartisan group of congressional leaders.”
Boyd also stated that Justice would be willing to negotiate with the Democrats by allowing a certain group of lawmakers, which included House and Senate Judiciary committees, as well as the Gang of Eight lawmakers, to see the unredacted report. At the time of the offer, Democrats considered it to be an unfair offer and refused.
“In order to make the meeting productive, we believe that it would make sense for you to at least review the less-redacted version of the report in advance, and we will take steps to ensure that it remains available to you prior to the meeting,” Boyd wrote in the letter.
Nadler released a statement Monday which said Justice had agreed to meet with his office Tuesday.
“It remains vital that the Committee obtain access to the full, unredacted report and the underlying materials,” Nadler said in the statement. “At the moment, our plans to consider holding Attorney General Barr accountable for his failure to comply with our subpoena still stand. My hope is that we make concrete progress at tomorrow’s meeting towards resolving this dispute. The Committee remains committed to finding a reasonable accommodation.”
Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, the top Republican member of the committee, slammed his Democrat colleagues over their “demands” and treatment of Barr.
“After far exceeding what the regulations require and offering to field questions from Congress, the attorney general faces demands from Democrat leadership who refuse to read the information he’s offered,” Collins said in a statement. “I appreciate the respect Attorney General Barr is showing our committee by responding to a deluge of perverse demands.”