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Attorney General William Barr is facing a second House subpoena, this one from intelligence committee chair Adam Schiff, as Democrats double down on their quest for the unredacted Mueller report and the evidence behind it.
Barr’s Justice Department “has repeatedly failed to respond, refused to schedule any testimony, and provided no documents responsive to our legitimate and duly authorized oversight activities,” Schiff said in a statement on Wednesday.
Schiff’s subpoena follows on the heels of the House Judiciary Committee’s decision to hold Barr in contempt for refusing to provide an unredacted copy of the special counsel’s report in response to committee chair Jerrold Nadler’s own subpoena, issued last month after the release of the (redacted) Mueller report failed to satisfy impeachment-hungry Democrats. The full House will vote on whether to refer Barr’s contempt charge to the US Attorney for the District of Columbia, who would decide on prosecution.
Barr has until May 15 to produce documents related to the Mueller probe for the Intel Committee. President Donald Trump invoked executive privilege over the unredacted report and the materials behind it on Wednesday morning, calling Nadler’s subpoena a “blatant abuse of power,” prompting the charges against Barr.
The Justice Department did offer select lawmakers the option to look at a less-redacted version of the report in a secure location, but only Republicans took the offer. Nadler, meanwhile, denounced the president’s stonewalling as an “assertion of tyrannical power” and a “constitutional crisis.”
Last week, Barr opened an investigation into allegations the FBI and Justice Department spied on Trump’s campaign in 2016, hinting in his announcement that he was targeting senior figures in both agencies and planned to concentrate on when intelligence collection had begun and how many spies the FBI had inside the campaign. The probe is in addition to Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s own investigation into the legality of the FISA warrant used to surveil Trump aide Carter Page, which is expected to conclude next month.
With no proof of collusion or obstruction to be found in the 90 percent of the Mueller report currently available for the public to read, House Democrats are hoping the last 10 percent holds the “roadmap to obstruction” that will pry Trump out of the White House once and for all. Barr, who redacted the document in cooperation with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, says the redactions were necessary to avoid interfering with ongoing criminal cases or revealing investigative techniques, as well as to protect grand jury testimony and the privacy of tangentially-related individuals.