Democrats Move to Hold Barr, McGahn in Contempt of Congress

By Updated at 2019-06-06 20:32:52 +0000


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. House of Representatives committee, seeking to advance probes of President Donald Trump, unveiled a measure on Thursday that would authorize court action to enforce congressional subpoenas of Attorney General William Barr and former White House Counsel Don McGahn over the Mueller report.

The Rules Committee resolution was expected to go to a vote on the House floor on Tuesday, according to Democratic aides. If approved, the measure would put another aspect of the growing confrontation between Trump and House Democrats before the courts.

The resolution also sets the terms for possible court action by other House committees investigating the president.

The measure follows through on House Democrats’ plans to go to court in their quest for an unredacted copy of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on his investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, possible obstruction of that probe by Trump and top officials’ testimony.

Barr released a redacted version of the 448-page report on April 18. He later disregarded a House Judiciary Committee subpoena demanding release of the full report, along with the underlying evidence that Mueller relied on.

House Judiciary voted on May 8 to recommend that the full House cite Barr for contempt of Congress.

The White House had asserted the seldom-used principle of executive privilege to try to keep the full Mueller report under wraps, even though Trump earlier allowed aides to speak with Mueller during his investigation.

House Judiciary also subpoenaed McGahn, seeking his testimony, which he refused to provide in line with a pattern of stonewalling by Trump of Democrats’ inquiries.

“We will not allow this president and his administration to turn a blind eye to the rule of law,” said Rules Committee Chairman James McGovern in a statement.

“The Trump administration is waging an unprecedented campaign of stonewalling and obstruction ... This resolution will allow Congress to hold the president accountable.”

Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Cynthia Osterman