More Democrats join in calls to throw Attorney General Barr in jail

May 14, 2019

The Democrats are ramping up their show trial of Attorney General William Barr from slander to threats of imprisonment.

More Democrats and liberal pundits are saying that the attorney general should be arrested and forced to testify to Congress after Barr refused to comply with a subpoena for the unredacted Mueller report, according to Fox reporter Brooke Singman. The idea has been gleefully picked up in the liberal media. Still, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), has tamped down on calls for Barr’s imprisonment.

This furor comes as Barr moves to get to the bottom of the Trump-Russia investigation. Apparently afraid of what Barr might discover, the Democrats are going all out to discredit him before the investigation gets underway.

Lock him up

Democrats have been accusing Barr of “covering up Trump’s crimes” by supposedly framing the Mueller report in the president’s favor for weeks now. The “cover-up” narrative grew even more vicious after Barr sat for a partisan mobbing from Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 1. Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee, chaired by Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), voted to hold Barr in contempt Wednesday over his refusal to release the unredacted Mueller report, as well as his no-show at a House Judiciary hearing the week before. The contempt charge against Barr has not yet been taken up by the full House, but calls for Barr’s imprisonment have since grown louder.

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) was among the first to suggest imprisoning Barr for “inherent contempt,” in which a witness is detained without being charged for a crime or handed a civil judgment, after he skipped a House Judiciary Committee hearing over a disagreement. Cohen’s threat to have the Sergeant at Arms arrest Barr — an action that Congress has not taken since the 1930s — has been picked up by several Democrats, including Reps. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Pramila Jayapal, (D-WA), Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), and Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA).

“We know how to arrest people around here,” Raskin told Politico. “And if we need to arrest someone, the [House] sergeant-at-arms will know how to do it. I’m not afraid of that.” Doggett called Barr “lawless” and said that he’s reluctant to “throw him in jail but I’m ready to do so.” The idea has also been picked up by liberal pundits such as ex-Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich and amplified by the mainstream media.

A fake crisis

But so far, Pelosi has pushed back against jailing Barr. In a break with rank-and-file members of her caucus, Pelosi joked last week that a folkloric jail in the basement of the Capitol – which is not actually a prison – would be “overcrowded,” something she doesn’t want. Still, Pelosi vaguely threatened Barr, saying he had “lied to Congress” and broken the law.

Democrats accused the attorney general of lying to Congress in April when Barr said that he was unaware that Robert Mueller had complained about his initial summary of Mueller’s report. Mueller did complain to Barr, but not about his summary; he objected to the media’s interpretation of Barr’s four-page letter.

The accusation that Barr lied to Congress is just one piece of the grand conspiracy narrative involving Barr and the president. As the Russian collusion narrative fades, Democrats have instead taken to flexing Congress’s subpoena power to argue that Barr and Trump are bringing about a “constitutional crisis” by not co-operating with their demands for Mueller’s unredacted report and other documents — despite the fact that the Mueller report has already been publicized. Democrats are also locked in numerous battles with Trump over his tax returns and other personal records. Trump invoked executive privilege last week to block Mueller’s unredacted report.

In the name of “oversight,” Democrats threatened to fine and imprison Barr and other Trump officials, namely White House counsel Don McGahn, who refuse to comply with Democrat subpoenas and investigations targeting Trump. House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) has threatened to slap defiant officials with a $25,000 fine for every day they refuse to comply.

Working from this narrative of “crisis,” the Democrats eyeing Barr’s arrest are framing it as an act within their congressional power, and duty, to pursue. Rep. Jayapal lauded Congress’ “inherent authority” to arrest Barr, which she said was “at our disposal.”

Show trial

Ironically, while they accuse President Trump and Barr of bringing about a “constitutional crisis,” it is the Democrats who are behaving despotically. $25,000 fines per day for refusing to comply with bad-faith, partisan subpoenas? Threats of imprisonment because they don’t like the result of an investigation? Sounds like despotism alright.

What is the warrant for arresting Barr? The attorney general has already released Mueller’s report to the public, and Democrats rejected his offer to view a less-redacted version of the report. Moreover, the redacted material includes grand jury evidence that he cannot legally publicize. The Democrats’ bad-faith “oversight” is an abuse of power.

The real purpose of the Democrats’ show trial of Barr is obvious enough. Slandering Barr is the Democrats’ way of discrediting the Russia probe’s no-collusion finding, while framing any potential effort to get to the bottom of the Russia hoax as politically motivated.

Stay steady

In the face of all this bluster, Barr hasn’t been intimidated into giving up. The attorney general stated that “spying did occur” on the Trump campaign, and he is taking steps to review the origins of the Russia investigation. On Monday, he reportedly appointed Connecticut U.S. Attorney John Durham to do just that.

Meanwhile, Trump pushed back on the Democrats Sunday, blasting them for behaving like “crazed lunatics” and abdicating their duty to work for the people. “Ever since the Mueller Report showed No Collusion & No Obstruction, the Dems have been working overtime to damage me and the Republican Party by issuing over 80 demands for documents and testimonies, and with NO REASON. That’s all they want to do – don’t care about anything else!”


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Matthew Boose

Matthew Boose is a staff writer for Conservative Institute. He has a Bachelor's degree from Stony Brook University and has contributed to The Daily Caller and The Stony Brook Press.