House Democrats delay vote to hold Bill Barr in contempt: Report

June 2, 2019

It was only a few short weeks ago that Democrats, outraged over the results of Robert Mueller’s investigation, focused their anti-Trump ire on Attorney General William Barr, who they accused of lying to congressional investigators and misleading the American public.

Then, when Barr wouldn’t provide the full, unredacted Mueller report to the House Judiciary Committee, Dems threatened to hold the attorney general in contempt of Congress. But in a big win for Bill Barr, it looks like an official vote on that proposal won’t be happening any time soon.

A House floor vote that was scheduled for this week on whether to hold in contempt Barr and Trump attorney Don McGahn, who similarly ignored a Judiciary Committee subpoena, has been delayed, according to two anonymous Democratic aides. It is unclear when such a vote will take place, if ever.

The vote had been planned for the first week of June, but it seems that with many members on Congress expected to travel to Europe this week for the 75th anniversary of the World War II D-Day invasion, the issue has been placed on the back burner for now.

Holding strong

The contempt citation for Barr stemmed from his refusal to turn over classified details related to the special counsel investigation and subsequent report.

Barr is prohibited by law from releasing sensitive information like grand jury testimony, but that doesn’t seem to bother Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (NY) and other Dems, who maintain that Barr lied — or was at least purposely misleading — in his 4-page summary of conclusions of the Mueller report, which was released in April.

Much to the disappointment of Democrats and their media allies, Barr made it clear in his summary that Mueller had found no evidence of “collusion,” conspiracy, or coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. Barr also reported that Mueller had failed to find sufficient evidence to support a charge of obstruction of justice against President Donald Trump.

Shrugging off subpoenas

But Democrats argue that evidence of obstruction is buried in the few redacted sections of the publicly available Mueller report. Their calls for the release of the full report were only heightened by surprise remarks from Mueller himself in a press conference Wednesday, when the now-former special counsel contended that charging Trump with a crime was never considered because of Justice Department policy.

Mueller also threw a bone to Dems in Congress, who were looking for an invitation to further pursue their own investigations, in his Wednesday presser, saying: “If we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so.”

As for McGahn, the former White House attorney was called on by congressional Democrats to testify about the Trump administration’s actions during Mueller’s two-year probe. But in light of McGahn’s former role as the president’s attorney — and with attorney-client privilege in mind — the White House extended executive privilege to allow McGahn to refuse to respond to the Judiciary Committee’s subpoena, a move that left Nadler and co. furious.

Impeachment and contempt

All of this comes as House Democrats are ramping up talk of impeachment proceedings against President Trump, something House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic House leaders have attempted to resist, but that rank-and-file members of the party are champing at the bit to take on.

Along those lines, a Democratic aide reported that House Democrats were working to “rein in” President Trump via a “robust hearing and legislative strategy to spark a national conversation about holding Trump accountable” — in other words, a bid to gin up public support for impeachment, which has been sorely lacking despite the concerted efforts to push the move by many Democrats and the media.

It remains to be seen what exactly House Dems plan to do with Trump, Barr, and McGahn — or when they’ll actually get around to doing it. For now, however, it looks like Barr and the White House have emerged victorious.

And with the law — and the truth — on their side, this is only the beginning of big wins for the GOP.

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Ben Marquis

Ben Marquis is a staff writer for Conservative Institute.