"Today we consider a report recommending that the House of Representatives hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress for defying a valid subpoena issued by this committee. This is not a step we take lightly. It is the culmination of nearly three months of requests, discussions and negotiations with the Department of Justice for the complete unredacted report by Special Counsel Mueller into Russian interference in the 2016 election, along with the underlying evidence."
"Besides misapplying the doctrine of executive privilege, since the White House waived these privileges long ago, and the Department seemed open to sharing these materials with us just yesterday, this decision represents a clear escalation in the Trump administration's blanket defiance of Congress' constitutionally mandated duties. I hope that the department will think better of this last minute outburst and return to negotiations. As a coequal branch of government, we must have access to the materials that we need to fulfill our constitutional responsibilities in a manner consistent with past precedent."
"The president has stated that his administration will oppose all subpoenas and in fact virtually all document requests are going unsatisfied. Witnesses are refusing to show up at hearings. This is unprecedented. If allowed to go unchecked, this obstruction means the end of congressional oversight. As a coequal branch of government, we should not and cannot allow this to continue or we will not be a coequal branch of government."
++WHITE FLASH BETWEEN SOUNDBITES++
6. SOUNDBITE (English) Rep. Doug Collins, House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member (R- Georgia):
"What a cynical, mean spirited, counterproductive, irresponsible step it is. Meanwhile, our economy is surging, unemployment among several minority groups is at a historic low, a recent Washington Post poll shows cratering support for impeachment. But Democrats have no plans, no purpose and no viable legislative agenda beyond attacking this administration."
7. Side shot of hearing
8. SOUNDBITE (English) Rep. Doug Collins, House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member (R- Georgia):
"Mr. Chairman, it did not have to be this way. We could have postpone today's vote and accepted the attorney general's offer, instead by not honoring the Constitution's charge to seek accommodations when possible, the prestige of this committee has been diminished. As a result, that should concern us all."
The White House is invoking executive privilege, reserving the right to block lawmakers from accessing the full report from special counsel Robert Mueller on the Russia probe and escalating President Donald Trump's battle with Congress.
The administration's decision was announced just as the House Judiciary Committee was gaveling in to consider holding Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress over failure to release the report.
Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler of New York declared the action by Trump's Justice Department was a clear new sign of the president's "blanket defiance" of Congress' constitutional rights.
"This is unprecedented," Nadler said. "If allowed to go unchecked, this obstruction means the end of congressional oversight. As a coequal branch of government, we should not and cannot allow this to continue or we will not be a coequal branch of government."
In a letter Wednesday to Trump, Barr explained that the special counsel's files contain millions of pages of classified and unclassified information.
He said the committee's "abrupt report to a contempt vote" has not allowed sufficient time for the president to make a decision on whether to assert executive privilege and urged Trump to do so now.
Democrats on the committee said the Trump administration was trampling on Congress's duty to conduct oversight.
But the top Republican on the panel, Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, called the majority's decision to push ahead with a contempt resolution "cynical, mean-spirited, counterproductive and irresponsible."
Barr released a redacted version of Mueller's report to the public last month, but Democrats said they want to see the full document, along with underlying evidence, and subpoenaed the full report . The department has rejected that demand, while allowing a handful of lawmakers to view a version of Mueller's report with fewer redactions.
If the committee holds Barr in contempt, it would be the first step in what could be a protracted, multipronged court battle between Congress and the Trump administration.
Legislature , Government and politics , Judiciary , Special Counsel investigation into Russia's interference in 2016 U.S. Elections , Men's college basketball , College basketball , Basketball , Sports , College basketball , College sports , Men's college basketball , Men's basketball , Men's sports , Men's basketball
Robert Mueller , Jerrold Nadler , Donald Trump , William Barr , Doug Collins
United States House of Representatives, United States Congress, United States government