The Trump team is continuing to resist letting key information get out about scandals enveloping the president. This weekend, CNN reported that House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) had straightforwardly harsh words for Attorney General William Barr for threatening to not show up at a hearing scheduled for this coming week. Barr himself had made himself available for the questioning — although Democrats would have likely moved for it anyway — but the Trump appointee has resisted Nadler’s plans to include 30 minutes for legal counsel associated with each side to question Barr during the upcoming hearing.
After going so far as to suggest he wouldn’t show up, Nadler told CNN:
‘The witness is not going to tell the committee how to conduct it hearing, period.’
If Barr follows through with his behind-the-scenes threats to stand up House Democrats, Nadler told CNN:
‘Then we will have to subpoena him, and we will use whatever means we can to enforce the subpoena.’
Nadler has already issued subpoenas in the Russia scandal for testimony from former White House counsel Don McGahn and the full, unredacted final report from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
Besides the half an hour Nadler wants to let each side’s lawyers question Barr, he’s also laying out a plan for five minutes of questioning from each committee member and a private briefing centering on redacted portions of the Mueller report. Barr has also reportedly balked at the proposed closed session covering the unredacted report. Before letting it out to Congress and the public, Barr’s team removed information from the document including some protected by federal grand jury legislation and material whose release could harm ongoing investigations.
Quite simply, Democrats have by and large rejected Barr’s handling of Mueller’s findings. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called his initial four-page recap “condescending” and closer to the release of the redacted report said she does not trust him.
He has helped spark that distrust via means like glossing over the Mueller’s report conclusions about the Trump team expecting to benefit from Russian help and the president’s apparent obstruction of justice, declaring the president innocent within two days after Mueller refused to make a similar declaration after almost two years of investigation. Democrats have flatly rejected Barr’s proposal for a briefing including key House leaders centering on a version of the Mueller report less redacted than the public copy, with some black-outs maintained.
To get around Barr’s stonewalling, House Democrats have proposed having Mueller himself in for testimony, although there are a lot of details still to be determined on that front. The FBI director-turned special counsel has rarely made public statements since his appointment to lead the Russia probe, and a Congressional hearing would be a dramatic swing from that tendency to say the least.
House Democrats’ reactions to Barr and the Mueller report have contrasted strikingly, to say the least, with those of Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who will himself be having Barr in for testimony this coming week but has flatly rejected conclusions that the president is anywhere close to guilty.
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