The House Judiciary Committee still plans to hold a markup session Wednesday morning to hold Attorney General Bill Barr in contempt for ignoring a subpoena to release to members the full, unredacted Mueller report, according to a senior Democratic aide.
The Department of Justice plans to ask the White House to invoke privilege over the report if the committee moves forward with the markup session, that aide said.
The news comes after staffers with the department and the committee met Tuesday afternoon in an attempt to come to an agreement about the release of the redacted report. But the two sides, after weeks of negotiations, have once again failed to come to an understanding.
“Tonight, in the middle of good faith negotiations with the Attorney General, the Department abruptly announced that it would instead ask President Trump to invoke executive privilege on all of the materials subject to our subpoena," House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler said in a statement. “This kind of obstruction is dangerous. The Department’s decision reflects President Trump’s blanket defiance of Congress’s constitutionally mandated duties. In the coming days, I expect that Congress will have no choice but to confront the behavior of this lawless Administration.”
In a letter to the committee, the DOJ said that it had offered the committee multiple accommodations throughout Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. Despite those accommodations, the committee has responded with “unreasonable demands and scheduling a committee vote to recommend that the Attorney General be held in contempt of Congress,” the letter said.
“In the face of the Committee’s threatened contempt vote, the Attorney General will be compelled to request that the President invoke executive privilege with respect to the materials subject to the subpoena.”
The DOJ asked the committee to delay any vote on whether to recommend a citation of contempt for noncompliance with the subpoena.
But the judiciary committee still plans to move forward with the markup session, raising the chances that the fighting between DOJ and the Hill over the report will turn into an all-out brawl.
Barr also failed to show up for a hearing in front of the committee last week. The DOJ said the committee had made unreasonable demands about the format of the hearing, including that staff attorneys question Barr.
In the meeting between the two sides Wednesday afternoon, the DOJ said it would give more committee members the chance to view a less-redacted version of the now public Mueller report. But judiciary said that all members should have access to that version and each side of the committee should also be able to share it with three staffers. The Judiciary also asked that the DOJ either work with the committee on going to court or to not oppose it going to court to seek grand jury material related to the Mueller report.