Earlier today, the House Judiciary Committee announced that it had finally gotten what it was demanding from Attorney General William Barr: the underlying (and previously redacted) materials from the Mueller report. Barr promised to begin turning over these documents by the end of the day. This means Barr won’t be formally held in criminal contempt tomorrow, as had been planned. But it turns out House Democrats are still gunning for Barr tomorrow anyway.
This afternoon Chairman Jerry Nadler revealed that the House will still move forward tomorrow with hearings tomorrow to authorize civil contempt court action against William Barr and Don McGahn, as reported by NPR. Why does this distinction matter? It means Barr isn’t off the hook just because he belatedly turned over what he previously and illegally refused to turn over.
Tomorrow’s House vote will be a public spectacle which will help educate the public on the obstruction crimes that Trump and his regime are currently committing. It’ll also allow the House to go into court and obtain rulings that the likes of Barr and McGahn are legally required to cooperate going forward.
These court rulings will mean that if William Barr refuses to turn over any additional documents in the future, or if Don McGahn refuses to show up and testify, the courts can have them arrested for contempt of court – which is a much more powerful tool than contempt of Congress. It also shouldn’t be overlooked that Barr caved today. He fancies himself the most fearless obstructor on Trump’s team – yet even he caved for fear of what House Democrats are in the process of doing to him.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report