Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Jerry Nadler (D-NY) have led every crusade against President Donald Trump and his administration since his inauguration. They were behind the investigation into whether the 2016 Trump campaign colluded with Russia to steal the election and were also the ones who led the impeachment inquiry.
With those two scandals done and buried, Schiff and Nadler – who chair the House Intelligence and Judiciary committees, respectively – have turned their attention toward Attorney General William Barr. Earlier this month, Trump fired Michael Atkinson, the Intelligence Community Inspector General who sent the Democrat-controlled congress a “whistleblower” complaint about a phone call between the president and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky that was used by Schiff and Nadler to begin impeachment proceedings.
On April 9, Barr told Fox News’ Laura Ingraham that Trump’s removal of Atkinson was correct.
“From the vantage point of the Department of Justice, he [Atkinson] had interpreted his statute, which is a fairly narrow statute, that gave him jurisdiction over wrongdoing by intelligence people and tried to turn it in to a commission to explore anything in the government and immediately reported to Congress without letting the Executive Branch look at it and determine whether there was any problem,” Barr said.
Now, Schiff and Nadler are using that statement to demand Barr be investigated for violating DOJ’s code of professional conduct; specifically, the section about officials conducting themselves with “candor,” Politico reported.
Schiff and Nadler are now asking the DOJ inspector general, Michael Horowitz, to investigate Barr.
“The role of Attorney General Barr and other senior DOJ officials, in coordination with the White House, in attempting to prevent the whistleblower complaint from reaching Congress — as required by law — warrants your attention,” the two congressmen wrote in a letter to Horowitz.
Buried in the Politico report is a comment from an anonymous senior DOJ official that said Barr was corrected in his assessment of how Atkinson conducted himself in relation to the whistleblower complaint.
“Atkinson, the official said, should have deferred to the Justice Department’s legal opinion that Congress was not entitled to the substance of the complaint and was incorrect to inform lawmakers of its existence and that he disagreed with DOJ’s opinion to bar lawmakers from receiving it,” Politico reported.
It is unclear whether Horowitz will accept Schiff and Nadler’s request. As Politico noted, he also received an identical demand from Sens. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) and Mark Warner (D-VA) last week. Horowitz previously has defended Atkinson’s “integrity, professionalism, and commitment to the rule of law and independent oversight,” and his actions handling the whistleblower complaint. Yet in his investigations, Horowitz has cleared Trump and his administration of wrongdoing, most notably undoing Schiff and Nadler’s entire “collusion” narrative.
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