Attorney General William Barr has already cemented his legacy as an obsequious toady of Donald Trump. He was handpicked to soften the blow of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report, which he eagerly did by misrepresenting its contents, refusing to pursue obstruction of justice charges against the president, and releasing the report with heavy redactions. History will not look kindly on the man.
Now, Democrats are trying to figure out the best way to proceed in the face of what can only be described as blatant corruption. The House Judiciary Committee wants Barr to testify this week, but that’s in dispute as Barr has complained about the proposed format. If he follows through on his threat and fails to appear for the hearing it would mark a legal escalation from an administration that increasingly has little respect for the rule of law.
Representative Ted Lieu (D-CA), a frequent and vocal critic of the Trump administration, spoke to The Washington Post and explained what steps Democrats can take next if Barr refuses to testify, stating that Congress must “vote to hold Barr in contempt very quickly” if he fails to release the full Mueller report.
Lieu also raised the specter of impeachment, saying that it’s not on the immediate table, but that Democrats might be forced to pursue it if the White House continues to obstruct Democratic inquiries.
“I don’t think the caucus is there in terms of launching an impeachment inquiry into obstruction of justice. If it turns out we can’t investigate, because the White House is not complying with anything that Congress requests, then I think the caucus would support an article of impeachment on obstructing Congress in order to maximize our court position,” said Lieu.
Hopefully, Democrats rally around Lieu and take appropriate action against Barr and then Trump. Both have made a mockery of their offices, and it is unconscionable that the Attorney General, the man entrusted with upholding our nation’s laws, is trying to circumvent and undermine them. If he refuses to appear before Congress this week, he sheds any lest semblance of pretending to care about our democratic institutions.