DOJ and Nadler reach deal over subpoenaed documents, averting contempt vote for now

· June 10, 2019  
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AG Bill Barr smiling at hearing.
Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images

Contempt of Congress proceedings against Attorney General William Barr are suspended for the time being following news that the Department of Justice has reached a subpoena compliance agreement with House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y.

“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 said in a Tuesday statement. “The Department will share the first of these documents with us later today. All members of the Judiciary Committee—Democrats and Republicans alike—will be able to view them. 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.”

Previously, the Department and committee Democrats had been locked in a standoff over the committee’s subpoena for the full, unredacted Mueller report and all its underlying evidence. The DOJ said that it could not comply with the original request because some of the subpoenaed information was protected by federal rules and could therefore not be released without a court order.

When the committee threatened Barr with contempt of Congress charges, the White House responded by invoking executive privilege over the information in question.

In a letter sent to Nadler last week, however, the Department of Justice said that it was willing to resume negotiations with House Democrats, but only if the contempt proceedings against the attorney general are halted and reversed. That letter was in response to an offer from the committee to narrow the subpoena’s scope.

The announcement comes just a day before a contempt vote was expected on the House floor.

“Given our conversations with the Department, I will hold the criminal contempt process in abeyance for now. We have agreed to allow the Department time to demonstrate compliance with this agreement,” Nadler’s statement continues.

“If the Department proceeds in good faith and we are able to obtain everything that we need, then there will be no need to take further steps,” Nadler warns the department. “If important information is held back, then we will have no choice but to enforce our subpoena in court and consider other remedies.”

“We are pleased the Committee has agreed to set aside its contempt resolution and is returning to the traditional accommodation process,” said Department of Justice spokesperson Kerri Kupec in a statement emailed to Blaze Media. “The Department of Justice remains committed to appropriately accommodating Congress’s legitimate interests related to the Special Counsel’s Investigation and will continue to do so provided the previously voted-upon resolution does not advance.”


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Author: Nate Madden

Nate Madden is BlazeTV’s congressional correspondent. Follow him @NateOnTheHill or send tips to nmadden@blazemedia.com.