House Panel Prepares Contempt Vote against Barr over Mueller Report

Congressional Democrats moved closer on Monday to citing Attorney General William Barr for contempt of Congress over his failure to give them an unredacted version of the Mueller report, escalating a showdown with the White House, Reuters informs.

The House Judiciary Committee released a report citing Barr, an appointee of President Donald Trump, for contempt of Congress after the expiration of a second deadline to produce the full report.

Barr also skipped a hearing before the committee last week, Reuters added. The panel will vote on whether to move ahead with a contempt citation on Wednesday, and if it does so, the full House will vote on the issue.

Barr has released a redacted version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report here on his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler subpoenaed the full document and underlying evidence, setting an initial deadline that Barr missed last week.

Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd said he was disappointed with the committee’s contempt move and invited committee staff to the Justice Department to discuss a possible compromise on Wednesday afternoon, after the committee’s expected vote.

Nadler also said in a statement that Justice Department officials had agreed to shift the meeting to Tuesday.

A contempt citation could lead to a civil court case against Barr, raising the possibility of fines and even imprisonment for failure to comply, Reuters writes.

Several Democrats on Nadler’s panel say lawmakers could also exercise their own little-used “inherent” authority to act outside the U.S. judicial system to apprehend, fine and even imprison officials who do not comply with congressional subpoenas.

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