Trump's DOJ resorts to threatening Congress to avoid contempt charges
In an attempt to avoid being held in contempt, Trump’s Justice Department committed even more obstruction of justice.
The Department of Justice — which enforces federal law in the United States — is acting as though it has no idea how the laws in this country actually work.
In a desperate attempt to try to force Congress to back down from holding Attorney General Bill Barr in contempt, the Department of Justice said it will invoke “executive privilege” on the entirety of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report if Congress moves forward with contempt hearings.
The DOJ made the threat hours before the House Judiciary Committee was set to vote on whether to hold Barr in contempt for refusing to hand over to Congress the unredacted Mueller report and underlying evidence that went into it.
“In the face of the committee’s threatened contempt vote, the attorney general will be compelled to request that the president invoke executive privilege with respect to the materials subject to the subpoena,” Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd said in a letter to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler.
The key part of DOJ’s latest letter to Nadler says Barr “will be compelled to request that the President invoke executive privilege” if the House moves forward with contempt process. https://t.co/P3NmSF9ant pic.twitter.com/ZPNS4I0JKh
— Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) May 8, 2019
In layman’s terms, the legal definition of executive privilege is a privilege that “allows the president and other high officials of the executive branch to keep certain communications private if disclosing those communications would disrupt the functions or decision-making processes of the executive branch.”
But Trump already waived executive privilege on the Mueller report, as he didn’t invoke that privilege before Barr released the report to the public.
So, executive privilege in this case is no longer relevant, making the DOJ’s letter nothing more than a toothless threat to try and get Congress to back down from punishing Barr for obstructing their investigation.
Nadler made this point in a response to the DOJ.
“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 subject to our subpoena,” Nadler wrote. “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.”
The DOJ’s ridiculous letter didn’t work.
Barr is still set to face contempt charges when the House Judiciary Committee meets at 10 a.m. Eastern on Wednesday morning.
And given that Barr is still refusing to comply with Congress’ subpoena, and now leads a DOJ that is making threats to members of Congress, it seems he’s almost certain to be held in contempt.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
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