Pelosi: Trump Ignoring Congressional Subpoenas Is Obstruction of Justice

Pelosi: Trump Ignoring Congressional Subpoenas Is Obstruction of Justice

The House Judiciary Committee held a hearing Thursday featuring an empty chair for Attorney General William Barr after he informed the panel he wouldn't show up for the session on special counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation report.

Attorney General Barr refused to show at the hearing in protest of Democrats' plan for committee lawyers to question him.

The Justice Department said Nadler, a Democrat from NY, was trying to place "unprecedented and unnecessary" conditions on the attorney general.

Democrats "embarrassed themselves" with their questioning of Attorney General William Barr during Senate Judiciary Committee proceedings, but he was willing to meet with the House committee but it "changed the rules in the middle of the game", Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Thursday.

"When Barr pressed Mueller on whether he thought Barr's memo to Congress was inaccurate, Mueller said he did not but felt that the media coverage of it was misinterpreting the investigation, officials said", the Post reports.

Democrats genuinely believe that Barr's behavior and interpretation of the Mueller Report is a grave threat to the democratic principles that the United States is founded upon and a flouting of the checks and balances designed by the framer of the Constitution.

The Senate hearing on Wednesday was contentious, punctuated by tense exchanges between Barr and some senators.

Still, Graham's mischaracterization of both the report's findings and the legal process used to arrive at them is a telling indication that GOP leadership remains loyal to Trump's cult of personality.

Nadler said after the hearing concluded without an appearance by Barr that he would make "one more good faith attempt" to negotiate with the attorney general on releasing the full Mueller report.

In his letter to Barr, Flood quotes from the Mueller report in writing that the evidence "prevent [ed] [it] from conclusively determining that no criminal conduct occurred".

Democrats said they want to question Barr how he reached his no-obstruction decision.

A vote of the full House on contempt would send a criminal referral to the US attorney for the District of Columbia - a Justice Department official who is likely to defend the administration's interests.

On the eve of Barr's testimony it was disclosed that Robert Mueller had written Barr a letter expressing frustration with how Barr had summarized the Mueller Report before releasing it to Congress. Mueller followed up his initial letter with a second one, and phone call to Barr. "Allowing your committee to use Justice Department investigative files to re-investigate the same matters that the department has investigated and to second- guess decisions that have been made by the department would not only set a unsafe precedent, but would also have immediate negative consequences", Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd said in a letter to Nadler.

"He lied to Congress, and if anybody else did that, it would be a crime", Pelosi said.

If that negotiation fails, Nadler said he would move to hold Barr in contempt. Some House Democrats suggested that Barr be held in contempt for refusing to show up.

The Justice Department on Wednesday called the conditions "unnecessary" and staff questions inappropriate. The standoff further heightened tensions sparked by Trump's refusal to comply with House investigations, with some senior Democrats hinting that a continued blockade could nudge them closer to impeachment.

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