House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold (Jerry) Nadler (D-NY) scheduled Attorney General William Barr to turn over the entire unredacted Mueller report and underlying evidence on Monday, May 6. Not only did Barr refused to do so, he had his brand new assistant attorney general respond to Nadler and the committee. The letter came on the same day as the Democrats were planning strong action.
The House Democrats had scheduled a vote to consider a contempt citation against Barr unless he complied with their request. As a result of Barr blowing through the timeline, the House initiated contempt proceedings against Barr. This was the first step toward a contempt resolution.
Either Barr did not anticipate such a move or he was not willing to respond to it personally. The incoming deputy attorney general said that the Judiciary committee was moving too quickly. Of course, it took Barr a full month to just redact the Mueller report.
Nadler said that Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd from the Department of Justice (DOJ) wrote the response letter to him. Boyd wrote:
‘WE WERE DISAPPOINTED THAT THE COMMITTEE TOOK INITIAL STEPS THIS MORNING TOWARD MOVING FORWARD WITH THE CONTEMPT PROCESS.’
The letter from Boyd continued:
‘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.’
Apparently, the Department of Justice referenced that it had been willing to negotiate with them, according to Boyd. Yet earlier, Attorney General William Barr had set the conditions. He was willing to allow the House and Senate Judiciary committees and the Gang of Eight members of Congress all see the less-unredacted but not totally unredacted portions of Mueller’s 400-plus page report. However, Nadler felt that the offer was too restricted.
Boyd also said in his letter that the DOJ was willing to come to Nadler’s office this week, on the very day of the markup hearing for the contempt citation. The assistant AG urged Nadler to reconsider Barr’s earlier option of the less-redacted, version of the Mueller report. In Boyd’s letter, he continued:
‘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.’
Nadler held the panel hearing where Mueller was scheduled to testify. However, the AG was a no-show. The Representative released his own statement, saying according to The POLITICO magazine:
‘(THE AG LEFT US) NO CHOICE BUT TO INITIATE CONTEMPT PROCEEDINGS IN ORDER TO ENFORCE THE SUBPOENA AND ACCESS THE FULL, UN-REDACTED REPORT.’
Barr did testify before a Senate Judicial Committee panel, chaired by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) last week.
Representative Doug Collins (R-GA), the House’s minority’s lead Republican on the Judiciary Committee also released a statement that read:
‘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. I APPRECIATE THE RESPECT ATTORNEY GENERAL BARR IS SHOWING OUR COMMITTEE BY RESPONDING TO A DELUGE OF PERVERSE DEMANDS.’