The Democrat-controlled House Judiciary Committee voted along party lines, 24 to 16, on Wednesday to recommend holding Attorney General Bill Barr in contempt of Congress for his refusal to comply with a subpoena for Special Counsel Robert Mueller's unredacted report and underlying investigative files.
The move came after President Donald Trump asserted executive privilege over the report moments before the House Judiciary met on Wednesday to discuss whether to hold Barr in contempt. In a statement, the White House said:
The American people see through Chairman Nadler’s desperate ploy to distract from the President’s historically successful agenda and our booming economy. Neither the White House nor Attorney General Barr will comply with Chairman Nadler’s unlawful and reckless demands.
The Attorney General has been transparent and accommodating throughout this process, including by releasing the no-collusion, no-conspiracy, no-obstruction Mueller Report to the public and offering to testify before the Committee.
These attempts to work with the Committee have been flatly rejected. They didn’t like the results of the report, and now they want a redo.
Faced with Chairman Nadler’s blatant abuse of power, and at the Attorney General’s request, the President has no other option than to make a protective assertion of executive privilege.
It is sad that Chairman Nadler is only interested in pandering to the press and pleasing his radical left constituency.
The American people deserve a Congress that is focused on solving real problems like the crisis at the border, high prescription drug prices, our country’s crumbling infrastructure, and so much more.
"The Department's decision reflects President Trump's blanket defiance of Congress's constitutionally mandated duties," Nadler said in a statement. "In the coming days, I expect that Congress will have no choice but to confront the behavior of this lawless Administration. The Committee will also take a hard look at the officials who are enabling this cover-up."
In 2012, Obama's Attorney General, Eric Holder, became the first sitting member of a president's cabinet in U.S. history to be held in contempt of Congress after he refused to turn over documents related to the Obama administration's "Operation Fast and Furious," which gave military-style weapons to Mexican drug cartels which were then used to kill U.S. federal agents.
In response to Holder being held in contempt, Nadler tweeted the following in 2012: "Just joined the #walkout of the House chamber to protest the shameful, politically-motivated GOP vote holding AG Holder in contempt."
Here are the responses from other notable House Democrats on Holder being held in contempt:
- Adam Schiff: “To say this is a terrible use of Congress’ power and time is an understatement.”
- Nancy Pelosi: “It’s such a ridiculous thing. This contempt [vote] don't get me started.”
- Steny Hoyer: “The action on the floor today is unprecedented in the history of America.”
- Elijah Cummings: “You’ve been holding the Attorney General to an impossible standard” and that he solely was “protecting documents he was prohibited by law from producing.”