House issues ultimatum to Barr to release full Mueller report
Jerrold Nadler | AP

Attorney General William Barr was sent a final demand by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., insisting he send  the entire unredacted version of the special counsel’s report to Congress. If the Justice Department doesn’t comply, the panel will then begin contempt proceedings, Nadler warned.

Nadler wrote a letter explaining the Judiciary Committee’s demand, stating, “The Committee is prepared to make every realistic effort to reach an accommodation with the Department (of Justice). But if the Department persists in its baseless refusal to comply with a validly issued subpoena, the Committee will move to contempt proceedings and seek further legal recourse.”

Although Nadler’s initial deadline for the Department of Justice to cooperate with the subpoena was Wednesday, May 1, he gave the department a new deadline of 9 a.m. ET this Monday to respond. Nadler had issued the subpoena for special counsel Robert Mueller’s unredacted report and the underlying evidence cited in the report on April 19.

Nadler’s letter came a day after Barr declined to appear at a scheduled hearing before the judiciary panel to talk about the Mueller investigation. In the letter, Nadler requested that the DOJ reconsider its refusal to allow all members of Congress and relevant staff to review redacted portions of the report in a secure location, excluding grand jury documents. The DOJ is only letting 12 top lawmakers see it, which Democrats oppose. They want to discuss the full report with all their colleagues.

Nadler also asked the DOJ to work directly with Congress to try and obtain a court order for the grand jury material in Mueller’s report, noting that there’s a precedent for the courts to allow the release of grand jury testimony. Barr, in his congressional testimony, said that he had no interest in seeking the release of grand jury materials.

“It cannot go unremarked,” said Nadler, “that in refusing to comply with congressional oversight requests, the Department has repeatedly asserted that Congress’s requests do not serve ‘legitimate’ purposes. This is not the Department’s judgment to make. Congress’s constitutional oversight and legislative interest in investigating misconduct by the President and his associates cannot be disputed.”

Barr said the reason he refused to testify at the House hearing this week was that he did not want to be questioned by staff lawyers. Nadler held the hearing regardless, and cautioned that, “If he does not provide this committee with the information it demands and the respect it deserves, Mr. Barr’s moment of accountability will come soon enough.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Thursday that in denying knowledge of concerns raised by Mueller’s team over his four-page summary of Mueller’s 448-page report, Barr had “lied to Congress” last month and thus committed a crime. “Nobody is above the law,” she concluded. “Not the President of the United States, not the attorney general.”


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Special to People’s World

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