Nadler says panel is still planning vote to hold Barr in contempt

Nadler says panel is still planning vote to hold Barr in contempt
© Greg Nash

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerWords matter, except to Democrats, when it involves impeaching Trump Nadler: Impeachment inquiry a 'made-up term' but it's essentially 'what we are doing' DOJ files brief arguing against House impeachment probe MORE (D-N.Y.) said Tuesday that his panel is still planning to vote to hold Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrSupreme Court comes to Trump's aid on immigration Words matter, except to Democrats, when it involves impeaching Trump Justice OIG completes probe on FBI surveillance of ex-Trump campaign aide MORE in contempt of Congress, suggesting that a meeting held earlier between committee staff and the Justice Department did not bear fruit.

Nadler would not comment on the details of the negotiations with the Justice Department regarding the committee’s demands for special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerFox's Cavuto roasts Trump over criticism of network Mueller report fades from political conversation Trump calls for probe of Obama book deal MORE’s full report, but told reporters Tuesday evening the contempt vote was “still scheduled.”

“The only thing I’m going to say is, at the moment, it’s still scheduled,” Nadler told reporters when leaving Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiWords matter, except to Democrats, when it involves impeaching Trump Nadler: Impeachment inquiry a 'made-up term' but it's essentially 'what we are doing' Young insurgents aren't rushing to Kennedy's side in Markey fight MORE’s (D-Calif.) office Tuesday evening.

It’s still possible that the committee and the Justice Department could reach an agreement before the contempt vote, which is scheduled for 10 a.m. Wednesday morning.

A Justice Department spokesperson did not respond to a request for information about the meeting with committee staff Tuesday. 

On Monday, Nadler announced the committee would vote Wednesday on a resolution recommending Barr be held in contempt after he did not meet the committee’s demands for the full, unredacted Mueller report and underlying evidence.

The Justice Department in a letter to Nadler Monday said it remained open to engaging with the committee to reach an “accommodation that meets the legitimate interests of each of our coequal branches of government” but expressed disappointment that Nadler had moved forward with the contempt process. 

Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd also defended Barr as going to great lengths to accommodate members of Congress and urged Nadler to view the less-redacted version of the report the attorney general has made available to select lawmakers. Republicans have also sternly objected to Nadler scheduling the contempt vote. 

Nadler issued a subpoena for Mueller’s full report in April, one day after Barr released a public version that is redacted to conceal grand jury material, details that could compromise ongoing probes, classified material and details on “peripheral” third parties.

Barr has offered select members of Congress, including Nadler, the opportunity to review a less-redacted version of the report in a secure room on the condition they don’t discuss its contents. He has thus far refused Democrats’ request to join them in petitioning a court for the release of grand jury material from the report.

Democrats have described Barr’s accommodations as unacceptable and demanded the full report be made available to Congress. Nadler also wants access to the evidence Mueller collected, saying his committee is entitled to the materials as part of its oversight and investigative responsibilities.

Boyd wrote Nadler last week notifying him the department would not comply with the subpoena, describing it as “overbroad” and “extraordinarily burdensome” and posing a threat to ongoing law enforcement investigations.

Cristina Marcos contributed.