House Democrats give Barr final warning before contempt proceedings

Sen. Lindsey Graham holds the Mueller report as U.S. Attorney General William Barr prepares to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee in Washington, May 1, 2019.

In 1992, the last time William Barr was U.S. Attorney General, New York Times writer William Safire referred to Barr as "Coverup-General Barr" because he had a role in burying evidence of then-President George H.W. Bush's involvement in "Iraqgate" and "Iran-Contra". Meanwhile, Trump's lawyer Emmet Flood accused Mueller and his special counsel's office (SCO) of politicising their report when they wrote that "we are unable to reach that judgment" that the president did not commit obstruction of justice.

Ignoring that, Barr has instead appeared to take part in Trump's attacks on the Mueller investigation and his own Justice Department.

Nadler has asked DOJ to make the more complete version of the Mueller report available to "all members".

The Mueller report still contains significant redactions, and House Democrats subpoenaed the full unredacted report a day after it was released.

Mueller did not conclude that President Donald Trump committed obstruction of justice, but did not exonerate him either. The effort to dismiss the Mueller report's findings could also put Nunes and Jordan at odds with other members of the GOP, who have accepted Mueller's work as a legitimate record of events.

"I think that that's probably the only step that Nadler has, is to be conciliatory", White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters outside the West Wing on Friday. Nor would it guarantee criminal charges against Barr: House approval of the contempt citation would send a criminal referral to the US attorney for the District of Columbia, a Justice Department official who is likely to defend the attorney general.

Despite the unfairness with which Democrats have treated President Trump over the last two-years, Flood explained how he has remained as transparent as possible.


Barr, who was appointed by Trump, testified on Wednesday for four hours to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Democrats have said they may issue a subpoena to try to force Barr to testify.

Barr hesitated before acknowledging that presidential campaigns that are offered dirt from hostile foreign governments should probably contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation, unlike Donald Trump, Jr.'s "I love it".

Following Barr's Wednesday testimony, Graham shut down his Democratic colleagues' demands to hear from Mueller.

When a redacted version of the report was published nearly a month later it outlined extensive contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation and also highlighted a series of actions Donald Trump took to try to impede the investigation. Mr. Nadler said the panel was "firming up the date" for Mr. Mueller's testimony and hoped it would be May 15.

Barr's Justice Department has refused to comply and Nadler is weighing a contempt citation against Barr over the matter.

Barr has made available to a select number of lawmakers a less redacted version of the Mueller report that was published on the DOJ website in April, a concession Nadler indicated in his letter would not appease the committee.

So he was a no-show at the House Judiciary Committee hearing on Thursday.


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