The US House Committee on the Judiciary voted Wednesday to find Attorney General William Barr in contempt for refusing to comply with a subpoena to produce the full Mueller Report. The vote comes after Barr refused to testify in front of the House Judiciary Committee last week.
In response to the proposed vote of contempt, the Department of Justice (DOJ) sent a letter to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler. In the letter, Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd said the DOJ would ask President Donald Trump to invoke executive privilege unless the House Judiciary Committee would hold the subpoena in abeyance and delay the contempt vote.
The DOJ claims that releasing the full report would jeopardize ongoing investigations and violate rules pertaining to grand-jury materials.
As we have explained, however, doing so would force the Department to risk violating court orders and rules in multiple ongoing prosecutions, as well as risk the disclosure of information that could compromise ongoing investigations. In addition, you have demanded that the Department join in a request that a court grant the Committee access to grand-jury material protected by Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 6(e), even though we have explained that such a request would force the Department to ignore existing law.
Nadler responded with a statement claiming executive privilege could not apply to the evidence and full report that the Judiciary Committee sought.
Tonight, in the middle of good faith negotiations with the Attorney General, the Department abruptly announced that it would instead ask President Trump to invoke executive privilege on all of the materials to our subpoena. This is, of course, not how executive privilege works. The White House waived these privileges long ago, and the Department seemed open to sharing these materials with us earlier today. The Department’s legal arguments are without credibility, merit, or legal or factual basis.
In a statement released this morning, Trump announced that he would invoke executive privilege.
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.
The hearing and invocation of executive privilege continue the debate on whether the Mueller Report documented obstruction of justice by Trump.