House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler warned Attorney General William Barr in a letter Friday that Democrats will initiate contempt proceedings unless the Justice Department releases the full version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report.
“The Committee is prepared to make every realistic effort to reach an accommodation with the Department,” Nadler wrote in the letter. “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.”
Nadler issued a subpoena for the unredacted Mueller report April 19 with an initial deadline of Wednesday, according to NBC News. The letter includes a new date: Monday, May 6, at 9 a.m.
“The Department has repeatedly asserted that Congress’ requests do not serve ‘legitimate’ purposes,” the letter states. “This is not the Department’s judgment to make. Congress’s constitutional, oversight and legislative interest in investigating misconduct by the President and his associates cannot be disputed.”
The letter comes a day after Barr declined to testify before the House on Thursday after the House Judiciary Committee voted Wednesday to allow staff lawyers to question the attorney general. Barr previously said if Democrats insisted on having staffers question him, he would cancel his testimony, and that he should only face questions from the committee’s members since staffers do not normally question witnesses at hearings.
Barr faced questions Wednesday from a number of Democrats at the House Judiciary Committee who accused him of misrepresenting the Mueller report, downplaying evidence and siding with President Donald Trump. However, the attorney general has so far complied with multiple requests from Democratic leadership, including releasing the redacted version of the Mueller report and the full text of the letter Mueller sent him.
Barr defended himself at the Wednesday hearings and again asserted the Mueller report does not reveal any credible evidence that Trump colluded with Russian operatives during the election.
“To listen to some of the rhetoric, you’d have figured that the Mueller report had found the opposite,” Barr told the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“How did we get to the point here where the evidence is now that the president was falsely accused of colluding with the Russians, and accused of being treasonous, and accused of being a Russian agent?” asked Barr, adding, “the evidence now is that was without a basis.”
“Two years of his administration have been dominated by the allegations that have now been proven false.”
Barr also suggested Wednesday that spying on the Trump campaign took place.
“I think spying did occur. Yes, I think spying did occur. But the question is whether it was predicated, adequately predicated,” Barr said. “I’m not suggesting it wasn’t adequately predicated, but I need to explore that.”