Mueller report latest: Barr to be held in contempt over handling of findings Express News
The House Judiciary Committee is now in recess for one hour to allow members to go vote and to grab a quick lunch. Lawmakers, they’re just like us.
When the committee returns, there will likely be more debate before members of the panel finally vote on whether the attorney general should be held in Contempts of Congress.
The committee chairman said during today’s meeting that Trump’s assertion of executive privilege over the un-redacted version of the Mueller report and the underlying evidence is a “clear escalation” in the standoff between the Trump administration and Congress.
What comes next: Committee Democrats are expected to approve the contempt resolution and send it to the floor for a full House vote. Speaker Pelosi indicated this morning that she would bring the resolution up for a vote and it appears to have enough support among Democrats to pass.
Mark your calendars: Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin will appear before the House Financial Services committee on May 22.
This comes as Congress tries to obtain Trump’s tax returns.
As a reminder, the last time Waters and Mnuchin squared off, it got heated.
There’s a lot going on in the world. Trade talks with China are on the rocks. Question about Iran now include war. Trump’s attorney general is on the verge of being held in contempt of court.
But in the midst of it all, the president of the United States has found time to fret over the absence of Fourth of July fireworks at Mount Rushmore.
Yesterday, he cheered the news that the firework display would be restored this year. One has to wonder if Trump envisions his face chiseled in the mountain?
As the House Judiciary committee continues to debate whether Attorney General should be held in contempt of Congress, a PSA to members who might soon have the opportunity to question the special counsel:
Joe Biden will formally launch his presidential campaign on Saturday, May 18 with a kickoff rally in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – the birthplace of American democracy and the birthstate of the former Vice President.
“In Philadelphia, Biden will lay out his vision for unifying America with respected leadership on the world stage—and dignified leadership at home,” his campaign said. “Biden believes in an America that is based on equal opportunity for all. Where everyone in the middle class, and those who aspire to be part of it, – regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion or disability – is in on the deal. And, everyone is treated with dignity.”
Since launching his campaign last month, Biden has visited Pennsylvania, Iowa, South Carolina, Nevada, and New Hampshire.
Elsewhere, senator Elizabeth Warren, whose presidential campaign has been defined by the catchphrase, “I’ve got a plan for that, has rolled out, yes, a new plan to address the opioid crisis.
On Wednesday, Warren joined Democratic congressman Elijah Cummings to introduce the CARE Act, a comprehensive proposal that would treat the opioid crisis “like the public health emergency that it is.”
The bill would dedicate $100 billion in federal funding over the next 10 years, which Warren said is “what’s needed to make sure every single person gets the treatment they need”.
On Friday, Warren will visit Kermit, West Virginia, a small town located along the Kentucky-West Virginia border that has been hard-hit by the opioid epidemic.
Vox has a more detailed look on the plan here.
In historic 2020 news, Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign has ratified a union contract, a first for a major-party presidential campaign.
In March, a majority of the campaign’s bargaining unit employees designated the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 400 to represent them as their exclusive bargaining representative.
“We are proud of our workers and proud to uphold Bernie’s commitment to collective bargaining rights and a strong labor movement,” said Faiz Shakir, campaign manager. “Together, we have achieved some of the strongest standards for campaign workers in history and set the bar higher for the next generation of campaigners.”
Sanders has long been a staunch advocate of union workers’ rights.
“What this union pulled off will change the way presidential campaigns are run in this country,” said Bianca Márquez, a member of the campaign’s digital team. “Representing a talented and diverse group of campaign staffers at the bargaining table and in a contract was no easy task, but we came together in support of one common goal: achieving the best contract possible and setting a new standard for the industry. As a member of the bargaining committee for the Bernie 2020 staff union, I could not be more proud of what we collectively accomplished.”
The move comes a day after the campaign unveiled sweeping new guidelines to combat sexual misconduct and discrimination.
On a similar note, at about this time every day during past administrations, reporters might tune in for a televised press briefing from the White House.
Not this White House. It has been a shocking 58 days without a formal White House briefing, according to a tally by CNN.
This is a record. Prior to that the longest stretch had been 42 days.
Trump is currently holding a cabinet meeting that is close to the press.
Just before the meeting the White House scrapped a scheduled photo-op that would have allowed reporters to question Trump on his assertion of executive privilege.
We’re going to pull away from the House hearing for just a minute and turn to the White House, where press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders gaggled with reporters after a Fox News Channel interview.
“I think it’s so absurd, this idea, that Congress doesn’t get to see the Mueller report,” she responded to a question about the the House Judiciary Committee’s forthcoming contempt vote, according to today’s pool reporter, the New York Post’s Nikki Schwab. “In fact, there’s a less redacted version of the Mueller report sitting there waiting on them to come and look at.”
She continued: “Chairman Nadler – take a minute to let this sink in – Chairman Nadler is asking the attorney general of the United States to break the law and commit a crime by releasing information that he knows he has no legal authority to have. It’s truly outrageous and absurd what the chairman is doing and he should be embarrassed by his behavior.”
A reporter asked, if there was any indication that the president would not like to see Mueller testify now that executive privilege has been asserted and is there any indication that Mueller might be asked to stay on and not leave in the next few days because of the assertion of executive privilege?
“I’m not aware of any requests like that,” Sanders said. “The president’s made his feeling on that very clear and the way that we see that is that this is over and just because the Democrats didn’t like the results doesn’t mean they get to re-do this process.
“We’ve spent two years, millions of taxpayer dollars, submitted millions of pages in documents, been fully cooperative, hundreds of hours of testimony and Bob Mueller came back and said there was no collusion. If Bob Mueller couldn’t find it, I am 100% sure that Jerry Nadler is not going to find anything that Bob Mueller couldn’t – he can’t even handle asking the attorney general questions. Do we really think he can handle something like this?”
Asked if the US is headed to war with Iran, Sanders said: “I certainly hope not but the president is going to remain firm on our position and I don’t think anybody is looking for any type of war with anybody.”
The members of the committee are each making statements ahead of the vote. There’s a sharp partisan divide: Democrats believe they are acting in good faith to uphold Congress’s oversight role while Republican’s believe the majority is overreaching in an attempt to “smear” the attorney general.
Here’s a quick sampling of their statements:
Nadler: ‘This is not a step we take lightly’
Ahead of a vote on a contempt of Congress resolution, Nadler cast the effort as an attempt to uphold the legislative branch’s oversight authority.
“The President has stated that his Administration will oppose all subpoenas, and, in fact, virtually all document requests are going unsatisfied. Witnesses are refusing to show up to hearings,” he said in an opening statement. “This is unprecedented. If allowed to go unchecked, this obstruction means the end of congressional oversight.”
The ranking member, Doug Collins, a Republican of Georgia, called the move “cynical, mean-spirited…and counter-productive”. He said Democrats going after Barr in frustration that the Mueller report did not establish collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Sanders: Trump asserts executive privilege over the Mueller report
“Faced with Chairman Nadler’s blatant abuse of power, and at the Attorney General’s request, the President has no other option than to make a protective assertion of executive privilege,” Sarah Sanders said in a statement ahead of the House committee’s vote to hold Barr in contempt of Congress.
The statement adds: “It is sad that Chairman Nadler is only interested in pandering to the press and pleasing his radical left constituency. The American people deserve a Congress that is focused on solving real problems like the crisis at the border, high prescription drug prices, our country’s crumbling infrastructure, and so much more.”
House committee chairman Jerry Nadler scoffed at the effort to shield hidden portions of the report. He said the White House is misapplying executive privilege because Trump has already waived that right to allow for the public release of a version of the report.
We’re standing by for the House Judiciary Committee to vote to hold the attorney general in contempt of Congress.
The committee chairman Jerry Nadler, speaking to CNN earlier this morning, called the impasse between the Justice Department and Congress “a constitutional crisis”.
The committee is made up of 24 Democrats and 17 Republicans, making the resolution’s passage all but certain.
Here is a link to the 27-page resolution. [PDF]
Trump earlier this morning responded to a New York Times story that he lost more than $1bn in the decade between 1985 and 1994.
He said the report was a “hit job” and based on “very old information”.
Trump says China’s vice-premier, Liu He, is coming to the US to “make a deal”. He also said he believed China backed away from the negotiating table because it would prefer to negotiate with a Democrat after the 2020 election.
Speaking at The Washington Post earlier, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Trump was “deciding to ride the dragon” in his negotiations with China. “The dragon will decide when you get off.”
Good morning and welcome to our live coverage of politics in Washington and around the country.
Today Donald Trump will hold a cabinet meeting before jetting off to Panama City, Florida, where he will hold a Make America Great Again rally.
On Capitol Hill, a House committee is expected to vote to hold the attorney general, William Barr, in contempt of Congress after he failed to comply with a subpoena request for the full unredacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the US presidential election. Barr also failed to appear before the House judiciary committee last week, raising the stakes and inching the branches closer to a constitutional collision.