House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) announced today that he is no longer pressing to proceed with a vote to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress. Nadler made his announcement in a statement after the U.S. Justice Department reached an agreement with the House Committee to share a number of background documents and evidence used in the Mueller investigation.
The contempt vote against Attorney General Barr had been scheduled for Tuesday, June 11.
“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,” Nadler stated.
“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,” he said.
Nadler and the Justice Department had been engaged in negotiations for weeks over the scope of information that the department was willing to release. This parallels negotiations the Justice Department held with the House Intelligence Committee, chaired by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), to share what is likely the same background intelligence the FBI had gathered during special counsel’s two-year investigation.
Nadler had originally issued a subpoena to the attorney general to release the full, unredacted version of the Mueller report to Congress. However, President Trump, under advisement from the Justice Department, immediately exercised executive privilege to block the release of the full report in order to the protect confidential information it contains.
“Given our conversations with the [Justice] Department, I will hold the criminal contempt process in abeyance for now,” Nadler explained. “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.”
Shortly after Nadler made his announcement, the Judiciary Committee was set to begin public hearings to review information contained in the redacted version of the Mueller report. Barr has indicated that he hopes to have former special counsel Mueller himself testify before the committee.