House Panel Approves Contempt for Barr After Trump Claims Privilege Over Full Mueller Report
By The Associated Press
“We are now in a constitutional crisis,” Representative Jerrold Nadler, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said after a vote to recommend the House hold Attorney General William P. Barr in contempt of Congress.CreditCreditErin Schaff/The New York Times
- May 8, 2019
WASHINGTON — The House Judiciary Committee voted Wednesday to recommend that the House hold Attorney General William P. Barr in contempt of Congress for failing to turn over Robert S. Mueller III’s unredacted report, hours after President Trump asserted executive privilege to shield the full report and underlying evidence from Congress.
The committee’s 24-to-16 contempt vote, taken after hours of debate over the future of American democracy, was the first official House action to punish a government official in the standoff over the Mueller report. The Justice Department denounced the move as unnecessary and intended to stoke a fight.
After the vote, the Judiciary Committee chairman, Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, swatted away questions about possible impeachment, but added, “We are now in a constitutional crisis.”
The contempt vote raised the stakes in the battle over evidence and witnesses as Democrats investigate Mr. Trump over behavior detailed by Mr. Mueller, the special counsel, in his report into Russian election interference and possible obstruction of justice. By the day’s end, it seemed all but inevitable that the competing claims would have to be settled in the nation’s courts rather than on Capitol Hill.
“Our fight is not just about the Mueller report — although we must have access to the Mueller report,” Mr. Nadler said during a debate. “Our fight is about defending the rights of Congress, as an independent branch, to hold the president, any president, accountable.”
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