Thursday, May 09, 2019

Jonathan Turley: Democrats showing contempt by holding William Barr in contempt

The House Judiciary Committee is voting to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress and to secure a vote of the entire House of Representatives in order to send the matter to federal court. The problem is that the contempt action against Barr is long on action and short on contempt. Indeed, with a superficial charge, the House could seriously undermine its credibility in the ongoing conflicts with the White House. Congress is right on a number of complaints against the White House, including possible cases of contempt, but this is not one of them.

As someone who has represented the House of Representatives, my concern is that this one violates a legal version of the Hippocratic oath to “first do no harm.” This could do great harm, not to Barr, but to the House. It is the weakest possible case to bring against the administration, and likely to be an example of a bad case making bad law for the House.

House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) laid out the case for contempt. He raised three often repeated complaints against Barr in that he failed to release an unredacted report by special counsel Robert Mueller, allegedly lied twice to Congress, and refused to appear before the committee. Yet, notably, the only claim the committee seeks to put before a federal court is the redaction of the report. That seems rather curious since, if Barr lied or refused a subpoena as House leaders claim, it normally would be an easy case of contempt. The reason for this move is that House Democrats know both claims would not withstand even a cursory judicial review.

Read the rest here.

1 comment:

The Anti-Gnostic said...

Basically, the House Democrats want to re-litigate a criminal case, a legislative overreach which should appall any supporter of constitutional republican government. And if that's what they want to do, then they can quit their jobs and get hired as Executive branch prosecutors.

Any member of Congress can read the Mueller report (who personally despises Trump, by the way). But they can't make it public and they can't parse through grand jury material. Barr himself agreed to further testimony, he just said I'm not going to appear and be questioned by some professional jackal you hire from Big Law.

It's looking more and more like there was collusion all right: a collusion between the Obama administration and the Hillary Clinton campaign to try and hijack an election. And now the House Democrats are trying to ensure that voting can never change the government.