House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is backing the Judiciary Committee’s push to hold Attorney General William P. Barr in contempt of Congress, suggesting Wednesday that the Trump administration isn’t negotiating in good faith.
“Yes, I think that the attorney general should be held in contempt,” Mrs. Pelosi said at a Washington Post Live event. “They were in the course of negotiations and then boom — the administration just said, ‘We’re going to make this executive privilege.’ “
The contempt vote is based on Mr. Barr’s refusal to release an unredacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report to Congress. Mrs. Pelosi said that’s separate from her accusation that he lied in previous testimony about his interactions with Mr. Mueller.
Mrs. Pelosi last week called that a “crime.”
“You cannot lie under oath,” she said Wednesday.
Mr. Barr has released a lightly redacted version of the Mueller report to the public and made a less-redacted version available to 12 members of Congress. Democrats have refused to look at that report, insisting they will dictate the terms of what they see, and how they see it.
The Justice Department and Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler had been negotiating on Tuesday, but by late in the night, Democrats were holding fast on their demands and the Justice Department said talks weren’t going anywhere.
The department signaled it had asked President Trump to assert executive privilege to shield the information from Congress‘ grasp.
Mrs. Pelosi said concerns about protecting sources and methods, information contained in the grand jury information, are overblown because her members are protective of that sensitive information.
“That’s not a reason to give us a report. It’s an excuse not to give us a report,” she said.
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