Washington: US House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler on Monday scheduled a vote for Wednesday (May 8) to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress after the latter failed to adhere to a deadline to furnish Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s full and unredacted report on alleged Russian collusion in 2016 presidential election.
The contempt vote is scheduled to be held at 10 am (local time).
Making the announcement, Nadler said that he proposed to hold Barr in contempt after he sent a letter to the Justice Department, which refused to provide Mueller’s full report. The House Judiciary Committee had given a deadline of 9 am (local time) on Monday for Barr to comply, Al Jazeera reported.
On April 19, Nadler had issued a subpoena for Mueller’s full report on Russia probe, a day after Barr had released the redacted version of the report. However, the Justice Department had recently notified the committee that it would not adhere to the demand.
On May 3, Nadler had reiterated his request through a follow-up letter to Barr saying that the full report should be disclosed to the Congress and that the Justice Department begin producing Mueller’s underlying evidence.
He gave the department a deadline of May 7 (Monday) to respond, failing which he would begin contempt proceedings against Barr.
“The attorney general’s failure to comply with our subpoena after extensive accommodation efforts leave us no choice but to initiate contempt proceedings in order to enforce the subpoena and access the full, unredacted report,” Nadler said in a statement.
“Even in redacted form, the special counsel’s report offers disturbing evidence and analysis that President Trump engaged in obstruction of justice at the highest levels,” he added.
“Congress must see the full report and underlying evidence to determine how best to move forward with oversight, legislation and other constitutional responsibilities,” Nadler further said.
While Mueller found no Russian collusion in Trump’s campaign for the 2016 presidential elections during his 22-month long investigation, he fell short of completely exonerating the incumbent US President when it came to obstruction of justice, Barr had said while releasing the redacted report last month.
On May 1, Barr had testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee where he faced questions on the matter pertaining to Mueller’s discontent with the Attorney General’s handling of the investigation report.
Mueller had claimed that Barr failed to “fully capture the context, nature, and substance” of his findings of the investigation.
However, Barr skipped the following hearing on May 2 after the Democrats demanded that he face questions from the committee’s lawyers.
The Attorney General has chosen not to pursue a case against Trump, citing lack of sufficient evidence in Mueller’s report.
The move has been highly criticised by Democrats, who have demanded the release of Mueller’s full report, even though a redacted version of it exists in the public domain.