Attorney General Barr has notified Congressman Nadler that he will not appear before the House Judiciary Committee tomorrow because he doesn’t believe that, as a Senate confirmed cabinet official, he is subject to questioning by committee staff – just by the elected members of the committee. Here’s the reasoning from the DOJ spokesperson:
The simple truth here is that despite doing what he was hired to do today – screen fire for the President, not be the US attorney general – today’s hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee didn’t go well for the Attorney General. Sure, his audience of one will likely be happy. While the Republican members of the committee all got their Fox News rebroadcast worthy performances in for that same audience of one, it still did not go well. And AG Barr isn’t going to risk things going even worse tomorrow when committee staff counsel do the questioning, because it prevents Gym Jordan and Mark Meadows and Gohmert and the disgraced cop from Louisiana and that whackjob dentist from Arizona from protecting both the AG and the President.
The Attorney General has also announced that he will not comply with the subpoena for the redacted material in the Special Counsel’s report.
We are at the point where events are outpacing the people involved with them. The more that the AG or the President or the White House Counsel or the Republican caucuses in the House and the Senate try to exert control, the more things are actually careening out of control. Pressure is now building for Congressman Nadler to hold the Attorney General in contempt and seek to force his compliance. The same for the other Democratic committee chairs in the House who are being rebuffed in regard to AG Barr and several other administration officials. The Democrats have now reached the point of no return. They can either start pursuing penalties and punishments for AG Barr and others stonewalling their committees or they acquiesce to the almost fifty year long pursuit to establish the anti-constitutional unitary executive theory as both de facto and de jure law and reality in the US. A reality that states that a president can always do whatever they want, whenever they want, and that the other branches of government and the citizenry must acquiesce and comply.
I expect that the House Democratic chairs will pursue contempt citations and sanctions against the administration officials who are stonewalling their legitimate oversight requests. I also expect that the AG and the White House Counsel will attempt to fight these. The Democrats must not relent here. If they do, then they become accomplices to placing the President above the law, making him unaccountable, uncontrollable, and uncontainable, and making the Constitution of the United States a dead letter foundational law.
There is some good news, however:
BREAKING: House Judiciary Committee chairman says Robert Mueller is tentatively scheduled to testify publicly May 15. #WBZ
— Liam Martin (@LiamWBZ) May 1, 2019
And I expect that the Special Counsel’s Office, or, rather, its former members, will leak for effect as necessary to push back against what the AG is trying to do. Last night’s leak about Special Counsel Mueller’s letter objecting to what AG Barr was doing with and saying about the report he prepared may have been the first leak, but it will not be the last!