The House will vote next week to hold Attorney General William Barr and former White House counsel Don McGahn in contempt of Congress for defying congressional subpoenas, according to multiple Democratic sources.
The resolution would clear the way for the House Judiciary Committee to take Barr and McGahn to court to enforce their subpoenas and are a crucial step for Democrats seeking to accelerate their obstruction of justice investigation against President Donald Trump.
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“This Administration’s systematic refusal to provide Congress with answers and cooperate with Congressional subpoenas is the biggest cover-up in American history, and Congress has a responsibility to provide oversight on behalf of the American people,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said in a statement.
Barr has failed to comply with a subpoena for special counsel Robert Mueller’s fully unredacted report and underlying evidence; McGahn balked at a subpoena to testify before the House Judiciary Committee.
The vote, which will take place on June 11, will also include broad authority for congressional committees to take legal action against the Trump administration in future subpoena fights, the Democratic sources say.
The vote, supported by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Hoyer and other top members of House leadership, will authorize the House to hold the two men in civil contempt. Democrats will forgo an effort to hold them in criminal contempt, which Democratic sources described as an empty gesture because Barr in particular would never face charges from his own Justice Department.
The Judiciary Committee voted to hold Barr in contempt of Congress in early May, after he blew through a committee deadline demanding a fully unredacted version of Mueller’s report as well as his voluminous underlying evidence.
The Justice Department balked at the request, calling it unworkable, and argued that it would have been illegal to share Mueller’s grand jury evidence. Democrats have urged him to seek a judge’s order to waive grand jury secrecy rules.
Though some Democrats pushed to quickly bring the contempt measure to a vote of the full House, Pelosi initially delayed action and signaled her interest in combining multiple potential contempt votes against other cabinet officials into a single vote at a later date.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler said Friday that he was pressing for a floor vote on contempt for Barr as quickly as possible so that the committee could take Barr to court and attempt to enforce its subpoena.
The move comes as a growing number of House Democrats are calling for Trump’s impeachment, and they may not be satisfied with a slap at his attorney general.
Meanwhile, Democrats on the House Oversight Committee are threatening to hold Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena seeking information about efforts to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.
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