House Judiciary Dem says AG Barr needs to be held in contempt as Congress ramps up battle with White House

House Judiciary Dem says AG Barr needs to be held in contempt as Congress ramps up battle with White House
William Barr/Screengrab
William Barr/Screengrab

Since the Mueller report on the Trump 2015-2016 presidential campaign was semi-released, the White House has spent time alternating between lying openly about the contents of the report, while shielding the true breadth of the report from everyone, even the Legislative Branch of our Democracy. The Democratic-led House Judiciary Committee, and the Republican-led Senate Judiciary Committees have been trying to line up White House officials as well as Attorney General William Barr to testify on the contents of not only the Mueller report, but those individuals’ participation in anything relating to that report. It is not simply the prerogative of the Legislative Branch to do so, it is their sworn duty to uphold the powers of their office as a check to the potentially corrupted powers of the Executive Branch.

Democratic Representative Ted Lieu of California spoke with political blogger and Washington Post op-ed writer Greg Sargent about the problems being faced by representatives during this process. The main problem, of course, is that the Trump administration continues to obstruct justice as they attempt to hide how they illegally obstructed justice. The main trick being employed is to deny House and Senate committee requests to answer questions on the record. Most recently, Attorney General William Barr began hemming and hawing over whether or not he would testify. Barr’s demands, as reported, seem to consist of him being allowed to testify in a lying sort of way, including no on the record questioning concerning the heavily redacted version of the Mueller report his department released.

This would leave House representatives no choice but to subpoena people like Barr. However, this process could be drawn out for quite some time. Rep. Lieu explains that while not all Democrats are ready to begin the process of impeachment against Donald Trump, the current obstruction into any inquiry could change a lot of minds, as the powers afforded Congress during impeachment proceedings far outweigh the ones available to them now.

“I don’t think the caucus is there in terms of launching an impeachment inquiry into obstruction of justice,” Lieu told me. But he added: “If it turns out we can’t investigate, because the White House is not complying with anything that Congress requests, then I think the caucus would support an article of impeachment on obstructing Congress in order to maximize our court position.”

Rep. Lieu also told Sargent that he believes the House should “vote to hold Barr in contempt very quickly,” if Barr doesn’t give up the full Mueller report.


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