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by Daveda Gruber:
On Monday Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., the House Judiciary Committee Chairman, has announced that he had reached a deal with the Justice Department over access to evidence related to former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia report.
The chairman had said he would hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt. That vote had been scheduled for today but it appears that a pause has been taken.
Nadler, in a statement, announced an agreement with the Justice Department agreeing to turn over some crucial evidence.
Nadler said, “I am pleased to announce that the Department of Justice has agreed to begin complying with our committee’s subpoena by opening Robert Mueller’s most important files to us, providing us with key evidence that the Special Counsel used to assess whether the President and others obstructed justice or were engaged in other misconduct. These documents will allow us to perform our constitutional duties and decide how to respond to the allegations laid out against the President by the Special Counsel.”
Both Democrats and Republicans will have access and probably start sharing documents late Monday.
Nadler said, “Given our conversations with the Department, I will hold the criminal contempt process in abeyance for now. We have agreed to allow the Department time to demonstrate compliance with this agreement. If the Department proceeds in good faith and we are able to obtain everything we need, then there will be no need to take further steps.”
The full House is still expected to vote Tuesday on a resolution that would authorize Nadler to go to court to enforce the subpoena issued to Barr for special counsel’s full report and underlying evidence.
Nadler’s Monday statement more or less says that he will not go to court immediately to enforce the subpoena.
Nadler cautioned that if “important information is held back,” then the committee would have “no choice but to enforce our subpoena in court and consider other remedies.”
Last week the DOJ said it would revive negotiations with Nadler’s panel over the subpoenaed materials if he removed “any threat of an imminent vote by the House of Representatives to hold the Attorney General in contempt.”
Nadler is playing hard ball and it appears that he rejected the appeal and urged the Justice Department to return to the negotiating table “without conditions.”
The Judiciary Committee voted to hold Barr in contempt last month. This came after the Justice Department did not comply with a subpoena seeking access to an unredacted version of Mueller’s Russia report, which would include underlying documents and evidence.
President Trump used executive privilege over the files in order to protect them from release.
House Democrats are still preparing to move forward on a separate contempt-related resolution to enforce subpoenas. Barr and former White House Counsel Don McGahn’s names would be on the subpoenas.
The measure is still scheduled to be prepared late Monday in the House Rules Committee and then possible floor action could be taken on Tuesday, if the plan doesn’t change.
Democrats are divided among themselves about what action to take while Republicans appear to be on the same train of thought.
House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Doug Collins, R-Ga., praised the Justice Department for making the accommodations. Collins’ did not give Nadler the same credit.
In a statement Collins said, “The Justice Department has yet again offered accommodations to House Democrats, and I am glad Chairman Nadler — for the first time in months — has finally met them at the negotiating table.”
He continued, “Is the chairman prepared to rescind his baseless recommendation to hold the attorney general in contempt, or do House Democrats still plan to green light lawsuits against the attorney general and former White House counsel tomorrow?”
The House Intelligence Committee and the Justice Department had an agreement last month. At the time, the Justice Department agreed to share some documents with Adam Schiff’s (D-CA) committee.
Collins went on to say, “Today’s good faith provision from the administration further debunks claims that the White House is stonewalling Congress, which Chairman Schiff’s successful negotiations with the Justice Department already showed.”
The antics that seem to be swirling around impeachment talks and subpoenas, are taking a lot of time and cost money. If look at Congress, it would appear that members on two sides of the aisle are seeing and hearing the same scenarios but are coming to opposite conclusions.
We all got to see and hear Barr and Mueller speak. Apparently, Democrats and Republicans really do have brains that function differently. I for one do not see any collusion or obstruction screaming out to be heard and dealt with. On the other hand, Democrats seem to think that there is something in the second half of the Mueller report that they can clutch onto.