Nadler gives Barr new deadline to comply with list of requests

Critics accuse Barr of protecting Trump

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler responded to Attorney General Willliam Barr’s refusal to comply with a subpoena for materials with a new deadline — 9 a.m. Monday, May 6 — for a response and a renewed request for action on several items related to the Mueller report. Here’s the rundown of what Nadler told Barr he wanted in a letter Friday:

  • Access for more lawmakers to view the less redacted report. So far, only a dozen members have access to this version. Nadler wants all members and appropriate staff to be able to view the version that only redacts grand jury information, known colloquially as “6(e) information,” after the specific rule of criminal procedure. He argues it’s unreasonable to show the report to so few members without allowing them to share what they’ve learned with colleagues.
  • Help from the Justice Department in seeking “court order permitting disclosure” of grand jury materials. Nadler says that in the past, courts have agreed to provide 6(e) documents in the past. The Justice Department has previously denied this request.
  • Access to underlying evidence. The committee wants access to a “specific, defined set” of material cited in the Mueller report that Nadler identifies as including “reports from witness interviews…and contemporaneous notes taken by witnesses of relevant events.” The special counsel’s report, in the part addressing whether President Trump had committed obstruction, relied heavily on interviews with former White House counsel Don McGahn, who told the office that Mr. Trump had ordered him to fire Mueller, and he refused, which the New York Times later reported. McGahn also said that the president subsequently wanted him to make a statement that the report about the incident was untrue. He refused.

Nadler threatened Barr with a contempt vote if he doesn’t comply. “[I]f 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 said in his letter.

In order to hold Barr in contempt, the committee would have to take a vote, which must be announced at least 48 business hours in advance. So, the earliest such a vote could take place is Wednesday.

The top Republican on the committee, Rep. Doug Collins, of Georgia, does not share the chairman’s desire for more  materials and for cooperation from Barr.

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“Democrats continue to deliver inaccurate statements and abusive politics, while demanding the attorney general either break the law or face contempt charges,” Collins said in a statement Friday. “Their chief complaint against the attorney general is his upholding the rule of law when they wish him to disregard it.”

Barr refused to attend a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Thursday, balking at the committee’s request that he answer questions by the committee’s staff attorneys, in addition to lawmakers. He spent more than five hours on Wednesday defending his summary of the report’s findings before the Senate Judiciary Committee as Democrats pressed him on a letter he had received from Mueller complaining that Barr had not “fully capture[d]” the substance of the special counsel’s report in the summary of conclusions Barr had initially released.

Rebecca Kaplan contributed to this report. 

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