House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff said Thursday his committee will meet next week to discuss holding Attorney General William P. Barr in contempt for ignoring the committee’s subpoena of the unredacted special counsel report and related documents.
He also sent Barr a letter letting him know that the Justice Department’s refusal to adhere to the subpoena “leaves the Committee no choice but to initiate action next week to enforce the subpoena.”
This is the latest turn in the standoff between Democrats and the Trump administration over a congressional probe of Russian election interference and obstruction of justice.
A day earlier, Assistant Attorney General Stephen E. Boyd sent Schiff (D-Calif.) a letter with a counter-offer to allow committee members to see a less-redacted version than what Barr made public and make a request of 12 specific documents it needed to complete its work. The subpoena set Wednesday as the deadline.
In addition to the report, Schiff’s subpoena asked for all underlying documents from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation related to “any foreign individuals or entities of any type.”
Boyd said in the letter that request was overly broad.
“It is difficult not to interpret the Department’s timing and proposal as an effort to delay, rather than ensure compliance with a duly authorized congressional subpoena and the law,” Schiff wrote, according to the letter shared by a committee official.
Schiff also told reporters Thursday he’d release next week the transcripts from Michael Cohen’s closed-door hearing with the Intelligence Committee.
Meanwhile, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), whose panel already voted to hold Barr in contempt for defying its separate subpoena for the report and underlying materials, sent a letter to White House Counsel’s Office on Thursday rejecting its call for him to end his investigations into wrongdoing by President Trump and his associates.
Nadler wrote that his committee has a right to continue seeking information about Russian interference in the 2016 election, particularly in light of the upcoming 2020 presidential election.
“As a threshold matter, your failure to comprehend the gravity of the Special Counsel’s findings is astounding and dangerous,” Nadler wrote, adding that Mueller’s report outlined how vulnerable America was to another attack.
White House counsel Pat Cipollone sent a letter to Nadler on Wednesday telling him he doesn’t have the right to a “do-over” of the Russia investigation, calling Congress’s own probes “duplicative.”
Nadler suggested in his response that staff from the committee and the White House counsel meet in person to hash it out.
Earlier, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the White House counsel’s letter challenging Nadler’s probe “a joke.”
House Democrats may bundle contempt resolutions against Trump officials to be voted on together. If they were to take that route, they said, it wouldn’t happen until at least next month.
Pelosi said nothing is “off the table” in how the Democrats respond to the Trump administration’s refusal to cooperate with congressional subpoenas.