The House Judiciary Committee will vote Wednesday on whether to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt. Chairman Jerrold Nadler scheduled the vote Monday morning, just after the Justice Department missed a House-imposed deadline to turn over an unredacted version of the Mueller report and its underlying evidence.
The dispute between Nadler and Barr hinges on the attorney general’s refusal to allow the House to see grand jury material in the Mueller report. Barr maintains that he can’t legally turn over grand jury testimony, but Nadler has argued that there’s precedent for giving Congress such testimony.
In a statement, Nadler said Barr has left him with “no choice.”
“The Attorney General’s failure to comply with our subpoena, after extensive accommodation efforts, leaves us no choice but to initiate contempt proceedings in order to enforce the subpoena and access the full, unredacted report,” Nadler said.
He left the door open to postponing Wednesday’s vote if the DOJ “presents us with a good faith offer for access to the full report and the underlying evidence.” But that seems unlikely, given Barr’s willingness to thumb his nose at the committee, including his refusal to show up to testify last week about the Mueller report.
If Nadler goes through with the vote and Democrats choose to hold Barr in contempt, it will be a largely symbolic move serving mostly to escalate the tensions between the Trump administration and congressional Democrats.