House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler’s patience has worn thin.
After Attorney General William Barr failed to deliver an unredacted copy of the Mueller report to the committee by yesterday’s deadline and also pointedly refused to show up for a scheduled hearing, Nadler has presented Barr with an ultimatum this morning.
In a letter to the Attorney General, Congressman Nadler (D-NY) has made what he calls his final “counter offer” to immediately procure the full report from the Special Counsel and all of the underlying documentation that went into compiling it.
The deadline this time: Monday morning at 9 AM Eastern Daylight Time.
The consequences if Attorney General Barr does not comply: moving forward with contempt of Congress proceedings against Barr.
“The committee is prepared to make every realistic effort to reach an accommodation with the department,” Nadler wrote in his letter to the Attorney General. “But if the department persists in its baseless refusal to comply with a validly issued subpoena, the committee will move to contempt proceedings and seek further legal recourse.”
While the angry and frustrated base of progressive Democrats are calling for immediate action in the face of Barr’s deliberate withholding of legally subpoenaed documents — with some even calling for the impeachment of the Attorney General for his defiance of Congress’ constitutionally-mandated oversight obligations — Representative Nadler is balancing the demand for instant retribution with an attempt to demonstrate to the wider public that he is negotiating in good faith before engaging in drastic measures.
The Judiciary Committee chairman’s last chance compromise offer to Barr consists of insisting that the Justice Department allow additional members of Congress to immediately view more of the Special Counsel’s report — minus any grand jury material — and that Barr request a ruling from the judge overseeing the grand jury that would allow Congress to see that material as well.
Representative Nadler also offered to allow the Justice Department to first deliver to Congress the evidentiary materials underlying the redacted version of the Mueller report while waiting for the grand jury judge’s ruling.
All of Congressman Nadler’s accommodations to the Attorney General’s objections to complying with his committee’s subpoena demonstrate that he has done everything he can to appear to be fair and reasonable in working with the Justice Department
With the Justice Department claiming that the Judiciary Committee’s request is “not legitimate oversight,” however, it is unlikely that even the threat of contempt of Congress proceedings will motivate the Attorney General to change his position.
Expect Monday to be full of fireworks.
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Original reporting by Andrew Desiderio and Kyle Cheney at Politico.